Abstract Title

Session S-06F: Elwah River Restoration: Evolution of Habitats and Ecosystems During a Dam Removal Project

Presenter/Author Information

Kassandra GrimmFollow

Keywords

Restoration

Start Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 6:30 PM

Description

Located on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, the Elwha River nearshore includes approximately 12 linear miles of shoreline, from the western edge of Freshwater Bay, east to the tip of Ediz Hook, and is made up of five distinct geomorphic habitat landform types: lower river, estuary, embayed shoreline, feeder bluffs and spit. Extending from the area of tidal influence, including the riparian zone, out to 30 meters Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) depth, the Elwha nearshore provides rearing and migration corridors for ESA listed species including juvenile salmon and forage fish, Puget Sound and Columbia River Chinook, steelhead, bull trout, and eulachon, sand lance, and smelt. It also provides spawning areas for surf smelt. The Elwha nearshore is severely degraded due to significant sediment starvation from in river dams, shoreline armoring and diking. Dam removal, which began in September of 2011, will deliver an estimated 15 million cubic meters of sediment to the nearshore and so provide a partial restoration of sediment processes within five years. Additional restoration and adaptive management actions (such as restoring the Elwha bluffs and restoring hydrologic connectivity within the estuary) are necessary for successful recovery of the Elwha nearshore and the Salish Sea ecosystem it supports.

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May 1st, 5:00 PM May 1st, 6:30 PM

The Elwha Nearshore: An Overview

Room 6C

Located on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, the Elwha River nearshore includes approximately 12 linear miles of shoreline, from the western edge of Freshwater Bay, east to the tip of Ediz Hook, and is made up of five distinct geomorphic habitat landform types: lower river, estuary, embayed shoreline, feeder bluffs and spit. Extending from the area of tidal influence, including the riparian zone, out to 30 meters Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) depth, the Elwha nearshore provides rearing and migration corridors for ESA listed species including juvenile salmon and forage fish, Puget Sound and Columbia River Chinook, steelhead, bull trout, and eulachon, sand lance, and smelt. It also provides spawning areas for surf smelt. The Elwha nearshore is severely degraded due to significant sediment starvation from in river dams, shoreline armoring and diking. Dam removal, which began in September of 2011, will deliver an estimated 15 million cubic meters of sediment to the nearshore and so provide a partial restoration of sediment processes within five years. Additional restoration and adaptive management actions (such as restoring the Elwha bluffs and restoring hydrologic connectivity within the estuary) are necessary for successful recovery of the Elwha nearshore and the Salish Sea ecosystem it supports.