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flytyer 08-24-2002 12:49 PM

Elwha Dams
Folks I saw a new item the other day in the local newspaper that was on the Elwha River dams. The item stated that the two dams will be removed from the wonderful river by 2007 and that the money to do so has been appropriated by Congress and approved by the Bush administration to do so.

For those of you that don't know this river, it is born in the high country of the Olympic National Park of Wasington's Oluypmpic Peninsula. The river used to have chinook of over 100 pounds until the lower dam (the Elwha Dam) was built in the early years of the 20th century at river mile 5. It never had a fish ladder. Then the Glines Canyon dam was built 12 miles further upriver from the Elwha Dam. This dam made a fish ladder useless on Elwha Dam because it took so long for the wter and fish to get throught Glines Canyon Dam that smolt rarely made it through and into the midle river on their downstream migration.

Anyhow, the removal of these two dams will provide anadromous fish (all 5 species of Pacific salmon, summer and winter steelhead, sea run cutthroat, and sea run bull trout) access to around 35ooo miles of primes, pristine spawning habitat. Also, DNA studies on the "rainbow trout" found above Glines Canyon Dam have clearly shown that these "rainbows" are actully winter and summer run steelhead that have not been able to make it through Glines Canyon Dam as smolts so they move back into the upper river and its tributaries.

Sometimes the fish actually win! It will take between 10 and 20 years for the full impact of the dam removals on the river to be seen, according the John Meyer, the anadromous fisheries biologist of Olympic National Park.

juro 08-25-2002 09:15 PM

The Elwha was the first wild OP river I ever saw in the mid 80's when I was checking out the area prior to moving there. I've fished it steadily over the last 18 years and I have become very attached to it. I've felt strongly about the removal of these dams and was elated when Babbitt got it pushed through.

It doesn't matter how long it takes, the rebirth of the Elwha will be one of the biggest victories for anadromous species in history!

BTW - I never heard back from WSAS about those back issues, anyone else order any?

NrthFrk16 08-25-2002 09:30 PM

Shoot me an email if you are still intrested in recieving a copy of that picuture...I have a contact for that picture you adore so much. That contact is a close freind and might be able to pull some strings for you. :)

steeliesonafly 08-25-2002 11:30 PM

Port Angeles
Was stationed in Port Angeles for about 4 years and loved fishing on the Elwa. That was in the late 60's and early 70's. Glad to here the good news. I will be back! Coast Guard kept me very busy up there!

flytyer 08-25-2002 11:48 PM

Juro and Steelies on a fly,

I lived in Port Angeles as well and love the Elwha. It has treated me well. I am greatly anticipating the removal of the dams and the restoration of the fishery.

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