Since Washington State’s Elwha Dam tumbled last year—part of the largest dam-removal project in history—salmon and steelhead are wriggling farther upstream than they have in more than a century. What’s flowing downstream is enough silt, sand, and gravel to carpet all of Seattle in a layer 3 inches thick.
Via the Columbia Basin Bulletin: “For oceanographers, ‘the best is yet to come,’ said Charles Nittrouer, a UW professor of oceanography and of Earth and space sciences.
“It turns out there is even more sediment than originally thought—about 34 million cubic yards.
“‘One of the risks of just looking at these beautiful plume pictures is that you really don’t know the extent of where that sediment actually ends up,’ said Andrea Ogston, a UW associate professor of oceanography. ‘Our focus is looking at what’s happening very close to the seabed—how it’s going to move, where it’s going to get to, what’s its ultimate fate.'”
Today, roughly a third of the Elwha’s 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam still stands, holding back an additional haul of ocean-bound dregs set to be flushed through the system. Removal of the upper dam was halted earlier this year to repair a clogged water-treatment plant near Port Angeles. Engineers say phase II may be the trickiest part yet.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.