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Thread: Elwha River dams closer to removal

  1. #1 Elwha River dams closer to removal 
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    In a few days the Elwha dam which has blocked the Elwha River for nearly a century will stop producing power in preparation for drawing down the reservoir behind it. This is among the first steps to restoring the Elwha river to its natural condition. Two rivers block the river neither of which having fish ladders.

    The Elwha river is unique because most of its drainage is within the horseshoe shaped mountains that define Olympic National Park. Though only about 50 miles long, its appears larger because the Western flank of the Olympic mountains receives nearly 200 inches of rain per year. The Eastern side gets much less rain but on average the valley gets tremendous amounts of rainfall. Nearly 20 years ago I hiked the interior including trails along the Elwha river. It's a wild river surrounded by huge stands of virgin West Ceder and roaming herds of Roosevelt Elk and at least one pair of fish stealing raccoons who outwitted me. There are also cougar, which I didn't see. The black bears were much higher enjoying the sub-alpine summer huckleberries. (If you have a week off and set of strong legs I highly recommend it--almost no one gets into the upper valley). One of the most interesting parts of the restoration will be the change to the upper river once salmon return and add their biomass to the food chain. More bear, bald eagle are expected in the valley spreading their dun and increasing the fertility of the river's flood plain. I think the changes in the valley will rival those we've seen in Yellowstone with the return of wolves.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110528/...ha_dam_removal



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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I hitch hiked into Olympic national Park many years ago. I got a ride with a fellow in an old pickup truck and we went down a precipitous dirt road with a drop off on one side. He put the truck in neutral and coasted down the slope which scared the crap out of me, but claimed he and his family used to live there until the park service forcibly bought them out and they had to move. We ended up at some hot springs with old buildings that were deserted and overgrown, and hiked around a bit. The hiking was difficult because the vegetation was so dense, but the trees were magnificent and the undergrowth was wet and lush. A fantastic place.

    The only other time I was there was in a small plane from Seattle to Victoria to visit an equipment vendor. The pilot flew us up a box canyon and tilted the wings to show us a bear in the valley below. All the passengers were fixated on the cliff at the end of the canyon which seemed to be approaching too quickly while the pilot was looking at the bear, but apparently he knew what he was doing and I'm still here.

    It's a beautiful area. What power source will replace the dam? No doubt the renewed river will create some interesting changes.


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    Sounds like you might have been a Sol Duc spring, but I haven't been there in many years. There's another set of hot springs on Boulder creek near the Elwha river to the SW of Port Angeles that's a short hike. I don't think any others have been discovered in the park though I don't doubt there's still a few unexplored minor ravines in the interior.

    It's a beautiful area. What power source will replace the dam?
    The turbines were tied to the grid, which in this part has excess production because of the large dams in Western WA, several coal plants and many new wind farms along the Columbia river and ridges in the middle of the state.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I did end up in Port Angeles but it wasn't so close. Probably was Sol Duc then.
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