In order to recover habitat on the Elwha River for salmon, officials undertook the largest dam removal project in U.S. history.
In 2014, the removal of the 210 foot high Glines Canyon Dam on Washington’s Elwha River was completed. The overall project began in 2011 and aimed to restore vital river ecosystems in the area.
The plan was to remove outdated dams along the Elwha River and in doing so, reclaim and restore the ecosystem that had suffered for many years.
In the time since the project’s completion, the ecology of the area has improved and even the salmon are returning to the area after being absent for a century. While the focus of reclamation has been on the river itself, the benefits went far beyond aquatic creatures and ecology.
With a more productive river system, food and other resources improve for animals living on the land. possibly the most dramatic change so far has been at the river’s south where sediment has improved salmon habitat.
The project was performed with the approval of the US National Park Service because of the surrounding Olympic National Park.