EarthFix: Dramatic changes in the Elwha River during restoration

EarthFix (KCTS) has a two-part series about the latest effort on the habitat restoration and fish studies taking place during the Elwha River Restoration project. Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe habitat program manager Mike McHenry is quoted in both stories.

Mike McHenry, a fisheries habitat biologist with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, strides across a newly revealed mudflat above the lower dam. It’s a place very few people have seen because it’s been underwater for 100 years. McHenry is about eight miles from the mouth of the Elwha. Not too long ago, this was a 250-acre reservoir known as Lake Aldwell. Now it’s a lifeless-looking mudflat with the Elwha flowing through it in braided, chocolatey channels. But McHenry says nature’s already bouncing back.

“There’s life here,” he says, bending down to brush the green leaves of a tiny thimbleberry shrub that’s fighting its way out of the sandy soil. “You can already see the early plant succession happening. We’ve seen pools that have amphibians in them already. A lot of insect activity. It’s not a moonscape it’s an early successional landscape and it’s just gonna get better.”