For the more information about water resources in the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/water/.
Elwha River Restoration Project Update
Olympic National Park, November 2010
A contract to remove Glines Canyon and Elwha Dams was awarded in August to Barnard Construction of Bozeman, Montana for a total of $26.9 million. Removal of the dams will begin in September 2011. Significant milestones continue to be reached as we count down the months to the largest dam removal in U.S. history.
Earlier this year, two water treatment facilities were completed and will protect the City of Port Angeles' municipal and industrial water supplies before, during and after removal of the two dams. The Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant, designed to treat up to 10.6 million gallons daily, began providing clean water to Port Angeles residents in February 2010. The Elwha Water Facilities protect the City’s industrial water supply, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's fish rearing channel and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's fish hatchery and was completed ten months ahead of schedule in April 2010.
Work began in January on the $16.9 million replacement hatchery facility on the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation. The hatchery will help maintain existing stocks of Elwha River fish during the dam removal phase and is on schedule for completion next spring.
Modifications to the levee on the west side of the river were completed this summer; work is underway now on the levee on the east side to protect landowners and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe reservation from flood impacts.
Over the summer, contractors replaced a fish-blocking culvert on Griff Creek with a much-larger bottomless arch culvert, which will allow fish access to the cold, clear waters of Griff Creek during and after dam removal.
A sediment erosion project on the Lake Mills delta was completed in October 2010. Contractors cleared a dense growth of alder trees and excavated an 1100-foot long pilot channel through the center of the delta (see photo below). This work will enhance the river’s capability to naturally erode delta sediment, an important step in restoring the area to pre-dam geomorphic conditions.
Ongoing work includes plant propagation at the park’s native plant center, construction of engineered log jams in the lower river by tribal habitat restoration crews, and restoration of disturbed areas along the lower river by tribal revegetation crews. Park and tribal staff are working together and with many other area partners to provide current information and promote regional and national awareness of this landmark restoration project.
Additional Information on the Elwha River Ecosystem Restoration Project can be found by clicking here.
Last Updated: January 24, 2012