Undamming the Elwha

Elwha River Update

An Undammed River’s Sediment Brings New Life Downstream

About 3 million cubic yards of sediment have been flushed down the Elwha River since dam removal began in 2011. That’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to move downstream in the next five years.

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About the Documentary

It begins as a glacier. Then a trickle. The Elwha builds into a swift river, rushing through the temperate rain forests of Olympic National Park.

For the last 100 years, two hydroelectric dams have blocked this river and severed its migrating salmon from many miles of prime spawning habitat upstream. The Elwha’s salmon have all but disappeared.

Now, the dams are coming down in the largest dam removal project ever attempted and the second-largest environmental restoration effort in U.S. history. What happens here could decide the fate of future restoration projects around the country and the world.

Undamming the Elwha follows the journey of the Elwha river from the day it was dammed to the day it was set free once again. This KCTS Television original documentary is a co-production of KCTS Television and EarthFix.

Science Café: Elwha River Dam Removal

Watch: Elwha River Dam Removal

Empire of Dirt Gives Way to the Return of the Salmon

Read the associated article on EarthFix

Scientists Measure What Dams Have Done to the Elwha

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Welcoming Coho to the Upper Elwha River

Read the associated article on EarthFix