Restoration of Salmon and Steelhead in the Elwha River: Fish Passage by Dam Removal


B D. Winter

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Fish Passage Policy and Technology: Proceedings of a Symposium

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Bates K;


American Fisheries Society


Since construction of 32 m (105 ft) high Elwha Dam in 1911 and 64 m (210 ft) high Glines Canyon Dam in 1925, anadromous salmonids have been prevented from reaching spawning and rearing areas in over 113 km (70 mi) for the Elwha River and tributaries. As a part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing proceeding that began in 1968, fish passage measures to provide for restoration of the anadromous fish that historically inhabited the basin were evaluated. Measures proposed by the dam owner, a fish ladder and Eicher screens at Elwha Dam and adult trap-and-haul and spill at Glines Dam, were deemed capable of only partial restoration; only the removal of both dams can result in the full restoration of native runs. With lengthy litigation anticipated in the FERC process, Congress passed the 'Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act,' which temporarily extinguishes the FERC proceeding and directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop a report by January 1994 that evaluates the dam retention alternatives and develops a plan for dam removal.

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