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Elwha Dam Removal Completed

Olympic National Park

National Park News

Crews continue to excavate the river channel just upstream of the former Elwha Dam, slowly lowering the river bed to its original elevation and draining the remaining reservoir. The material being excavated now is primarily rock and gravel, much of which was added to the channel after the dam failed in 1912. Contractors have another ten feet to go before they reach the original elevation of the river bed of 100 feet. 

Material excavated from the channel is being used to fill in the old spillway channel. Once the landscape has been rebuilt enough for equipment to reach the top of the concrete abutment, removal of that will begin. 

At Glines Canyon Dam, hammering is scheduled to continue this week, following repairs to the hammer late last week.  Contractors will continue lowering the dam, with the goal of reaching an elevation of about 500 feet before May 1st. Meanwhile, demolition of the Glines powerhouse is continuing, with contractors turning their attention to removal of the penstock and surge tower after that. 

Once the calendar reads May 1st, all in-water work will stop for two months. This clean water "fish window" is one of many measures being used to protect fish from high levels of silt and turbidity in the river during the dam removal project. Here's a link to a recent Seattle Times article that helps tell the story of sediment and turbidity management in the Elwha.


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