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Elwha River Restoration: Sediment plume forming at the mouth of the Elwha River

Apr 30th, 2012 • Category: NWIFC Blog

The latest dramatic changes in the Elwha River include the highly anticipated sediment plume forming at the river mouth.

The Seattle Times’ Lynda Mapes has been blogging about the sediment recently, including posting aerial photos of the river mouth.  Her post explores how the sediment will help rebuild the beaches near the river mouth and compares the beach ecology near the Elwha River with the beaches near the less-developed Dungeness Spit.

The Peninsula Daily News published a story about the sediment plume while discussing the impacts on fish in the river.

From the story:

So far, the sediment is not killing fish.

“They’re not dying, but we can see some irritation on some of their gills,” said Robert Elofson, river restoration director for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

The industrial water-treatment plant that feeds the state-of-the-art $16.4 million new fish hatchery at the tribe was built specifically for the dam removal project.

Already, fish are being seen in the river.

Last summer, about 600 coho were released into the Little River and Indian Creek — Elwha River tributaries between the dams — to shield them from high sediment loads coming down the main stem of the river.

Those fish produced about 100 salmon redds, or nests, and those salmon have hatched.

“We’re seeing fry in both streams now,” Elofson said.

Deconstruction of Glines Canyon Dam will cease Tuesday and remain that way through the end of June for a “fish window.”

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