The Elwha River Comes Roaring Back
February 13, 2016 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Eighteen months after removal of the last chunks of two dams on Washington State's Elwha River, an event marked on Metafilter by this brilliant post by edeezy, the Seattle Times documents the remarkably fast recovery of the Elwha ecosystem, from headwaters to saltwater. Complete Seattle Times' Elwha coverage
posted by Rumple (9 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
This story brought real tears to my eyes.
posted by Jode at 12:33 PM on February 13, 2016


Life finds a way!
posted by Michele in California at 12:47 PM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a nice article -- thanks for posting!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:51 PM on February 13, 2016

Not only is this a great article reporting tremendous good news, it also features perhaps the only inline graphic animation that's ever delighted me (the color filling the images), AND introduced me to a new word ("anadromous," which shares a root with "dromedary").

Thank you for this, Rumple!
posted by kristi at 3:12 PM on February 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

I remember my fifth-grade class writing letters to newspapers and legislators about the Elwha dams 25 years ago. This has been a long time coming.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:26 PM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

A great story, and yes I agree the presentation is excellent.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:33 PM on February 13, 2016

Oh hey, it's a project by mefi's own... me?

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!
posted by Four String Riot at 11:12 PM on February 13, 2016 [13 favorites]

Didn't that schmuck Slade Gordon oppose this with all his being? It's really great to see how quickly the river has come back.
posted by maxwelton at 2:10 AM on February 14, 2016

The article is really nicely done, congratulations.

A few years ago it felt like more dams were sure to follow, but the progress has been slower on that front than was hoped. Things are starting to move forward on the Klamath and I know of a few small dam removals planned for next couple of years, but between the expense and the intense opposition to dam removals I don't see many more large removals happening soon, at least in the Northwest. (The east coast and midwest have thousands of old millpond dams, and dam removals there seem to be on a totally different track than out here.)

Dam removals are where environmental rhetoric gets tested -- you either have the dam or you don't, and you have a very stark choice between the dam's human benefits (such as flood control, hydropower, and so on) versus the ecological benefits of a naturally functioning river. Dams like those on the Elwah are comparatively easy cases for removal, since they were no longer performing any useful functions, and even then there were years of opposition and delays.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:26 AM on February 14, 2016

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