National Parks Service to Start Largest Dam Removal in US History

elwhe dam photo

Elwha Dam, photo: J Brew/CC BY-SA

Next week marks the National Parks Service beginning the largest dam removal project in US history: The Elwha and Glines Canyon dams will be removed from the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. It will be the first in nearly 100 years that the Elwha will run free, with an expected boost in salmon population from 3,000 today to 400,000 once all five species of Pacific salmon return. Other stats being highlighted by the National Parks Conservation Association: The dam removal is expected to increase travel spending in Clallam County by 50%, bringing in $57 million additional annually from an additional half million visitor trips.

And how are those people getting there? And what impact on the environment more broadly will that bring? Two questions that immediately pop to mind.

More info on the Elhwa River dam removal project: Celebrate the Elwha River Restoration, Elwha River Restoration (from the Olympic National Park site).

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