Presentation Abstract

The removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon dams on the Elwha River is the largest existing dam removal project in the United States. Project planning, implementation, and monitoring have occurred over 30 years and has required diverse technical expertise. Because of the size and nature of the project—two high-head dams releasing massive amounts of sediment into the river, estuary, and nearshore ecosystem—the project was unprecedented and required a great deal of technical expertise to plan, execute, and monitor. The relative success of this project required effective collaboration among individuals and organizations with varying missions. Individuals with diverse technical expertise (i.e., engineering, geomorphology, hydrology, botany, wildlife, fisheries, stream ecology, ecological monitoring) have successfully collaborated to develop several technical plans ensuring dam removal was completed, while at the same time protecting a city water supply, infrastructure, and listed and unlisted salmonids in the basin. This collaboration has continued following dam removal through the implementation of a monitoring and adaptive management plan. Our monitoring strategy often uses multiple scientific methods to evaluate metrics or performance indicators to create multiple lines of evidence, reduce uncertainty, and ensure data availability. Employing such diverse methods would not have been possible without multidisciplinary and multiagency collaboration. Collaboration and extensive monitoring has allowed project partners to identify potential barriers, assess the rate and extent of recolonization, estimate abundance, life history attributes, and productivity. This collaborative multidisciplinary approach has allowed us to monitor salmonid recovery, while also improving our understanding of ecosystem response and linkages. This has resulted in the Elwha River being one of the best studied dam removal projects in history.

Session Title

Elwha Ecosystem Restoration: Emerging Lessons from a Comprehensive Project

Keywords

Pacific salmonid recovery, Hydroelectric dam removal, Elwha River

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-703

Start Date

4-4-2018 1:45 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 2:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS
 
Apr 4th, 1:45 PM Apr 4th, 2:00 PM

Planning, implementation, and monitoring Pacific salmonid recovery following the removal of two hydroelectric dams on Washington's Elwha River

The removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon dams on the Elwha River is the largest existing dam removal project in the United States. Project planning, implementation, and monitoring have occurred over 30 years and has required diverse technical expertise. Because of the size and nature of the project—two high-head dams releasing massive amounts of sediment into the river, estuary, and nearshore ecosystem—the project was unprecedented and required a great deal of technical expertise to plan, execute, and monitor. The relative success of this project required effective collaboration among individuals and organizations with varying missions. Individuals with diverse technical expertise (i.e., engineering, geomorphology, hydrology, botany, wildlife, fisheries, stream ecology, ecological monitoring) have successfully collaborated to develop several technical plans ensuring dam removal was completed, while at the same time protecting a city water supply, infrastructure, and listed and unlisted salmonids in the basin. This collaboration has continued following dam removal through the implementation of a monitoring and adaptive management plan. Our monitoring strategy often uses multiple scientific methods to evaluate metrics or performance indicators to create multiple lines of evidence, reduce uncertainty, and ensure data availability. Employing such diverse methods would not have been possible without multidisciplinary and multiagency collaboration. Collaboration and extensive monitoring has allowed project partners to identify potential barriers, assess the rate and extent of recolonization, estimate abundance, life history attributes, and productivity. This collaborative multidisciplinary approach has allowed us to monitor salmonid recovery, while also improving our understanding of ecosystem response and linkages. This has resulted in the Elwha River being one of the best studied dam removal projects in history.