The largest dam removal project in American history will begin this fall, after decades of campaigning by the Sierra Club and our local allies on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
Over 100 years ago, the Elwha River boasted teeming salmon runs and provided a home to wildlife important to the local Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe—until the 105-foot Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam were constructed to produce electricity for a local pulp and paper mill as well as the nearby city of Port Angeles, WA. The dams disrupted the river, cut off salmon runs, and impaired the local ecosystem.
The Sierra Club has worked for more than 25 years with tribal and other interests to see dams removed from the Elwha River, reestablishing the river's flow and salmon fishery. Workers will power down the Elwha Dam on June 1, and begin dismantling both the Elwha Dam and the Glines Canyon Dam in September.
When the dam reservoirs are drained, salmon will be free to swim again from the Olympic Mountains down through old-growth forests, and conservationists will begin efforts to revive the newly-exposed barren land. Beginning with 15,000 plants this fall, National Park Service workers and volunteers will eventually introduce 400,000 local plants and trees to return the land to a forested ecosystem.
Read more here.