Presentation Abstract

Located on the North Olympic Peninsula, the Elwha River nearshore is a critical component of the Salish Sea. It is depended on by no fewer than six federally listed salmon species including chum, and numerous forage fish such as surf smelt and sand lance. The Elwha nearshore is impaired ecologically due to extensive shoreline armoring and in-river channelization and dams. The Elwha nearshore is undergoing an unprecedented restoration event with the removal of two large in river dams from September 2011 to 2014, exposing 21 million cubic meters of sediment. According to Foley et al. 2016, as of December 2016, approximately 70% has been eroded of which 90% transported to the Strait of Juan de Fuca equating 13.23 million cubic meters of sediment that has been delivered to the sediment starved Elwha nearshore. The Coastal Watershed Institute and partners lead long-term studies of the Elwha nearshore ecological function. In this presentation, we provide an overview of fish use of the Elwha and comparative nearshore areas, and observations of nearshore ecological function response of the juvenile fish migration and forage fish spawning to dam removal. Despite the sediment delivery from the dam removal, nearshore restoration is incomplete due to remaining shoreline armoring and lower river alterations. These are the focus of ongoing community collaboration and large-scale restoration projects presented by Michel et al. Finally, we provide an overview of linkages of the nearshore restoration event for the larger Elwha and Salish Sea ecosystem.

Session Title

Posters: Habitat Restoration & Protection

Keywords

Elwha Nearshore Restoration Watershed Dam

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-70

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

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

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Elwha River restoration: evolution of habitats and nearshore ecosystems during large-scale dam removal project

Located on the North Olympic Peninsula, the Elwha River nearshore is a critical component of the Salish Sea. It is depended on by no fewer than six federally listed salmon species including chum, and numerous forage fish such as surf smelt and sand lance. The Elwha nearshore is impaired ecologically due to extensive shoreline armoring and in-river channelization and dams. The Elwha nearshore is undergoing an unprecedented restoration event with the removal of two large in river dams from September 2011 to 2014, exposing 21 million cubic meters of sediment. According to Foley et al. 2016, as of December 2016, approximately 70% has been eroded of which 90% transported to the Strait of Juan de Fuca equating 13.23 million cubic meters of sediment that has been delivered to the sediment starved Elwha nearshore. The Coastal Watershed Institute and partners lead long-term studies of the Elwha nearshore ecological function. In this presentation, we provide an overview of fish use of the Elwha and comparative nearshore areas, and observations of nearshore ecological function response of the juvenile fish migration and forage fish spawning to dam removal. Despite the sediment delivery from the dam removal, nearshore restoration is incomplete due to remaining shoreline armoring and lower river alterations. These are the focus of ongoing community collaboration and large-scale restoration projects presented by Michel et al. Finally, we provide an overview of linkages of the nearshore restoration event for the larger Elwha and Salish Sea ecosystem.