National Park Service Elwha River Restoration project manager Brian Winter spoke this morning with a quick overview of what will be taking place the next few years on the river.
The deconstruction of the Glines Canyon starts today, with Elwha Dam deconstruction starting next week. There are changes already at each location, as the reservoirs have been drained by about 20 feet, exposing land that has been submerged for 80 years.
The large crane that will deconstruct Glines Canyon was delivered a few weeks ago, using 11 flatbed trucks. “As a fisheries biologist, I never thought I’d be excited to see construction equipment like this for a project,” he said.
Sediment management will be discussed often during this conference. The latest measurement how much is behind the dam is now up to 24 million cubic yards.
Lake Aldwell has been exposed for the first time in 100 years and the delta within Lake Mills is starting to do what the restoration scientists want it to do, he said – erode naturally as sediment moves downstream.
There are many available resources online that people can access to learn more about the project as well as follow deconstruction. Six web cams will be providing photos of the progress – one at each dam, one at each delta and two in between, which are available for viewing at: http://www.video-monitoring.com/construction/olympic/js.htm.
During dam removal, activities throughout the watershed include revegetating the reservoirs and monitoring the fish that come upstream. In fact, 10 chinook were taken upstream above both dams on Wednesday – the first chinook to be above the dams in about 100 years, he said.