Peninsula Daily News: Elwha River restoration ahead of schedule

The Peninsula Daily News recently reported on a public presentation by Robert Elofson, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s river restoration director, on the latest efforts of the removal of the two dams on the Elwha River.

From the story:

Efforts to restore the legendary salmon run are ahead of schedule, Elofson told a group of about 20 at the Elwha Klallam Heritage Training Center on Thursday night.

“There’s only about 5,000 salmon coming back [now], and they expect between 300,000 and 400,000 salmon coming once the river is restored,” Elofson said.

The 108-foot-tall Elwha Dam and 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam are being taken down as part of a $325 million federal project to restore the river’s ecosystem and salmon runs.

It is the largest dam removal project in the U.S. to date, Elofson said.

Last summer, about 600 coho salmon were released into tributaries between the two dams — the Little River and Indian Creek — to shield them from high sediment loads coming down the main stem of the river.

“It worked out very well,” Elofson said.

“About half of those came back over the lower dam and returned, but half of them stayed up there.”