The dwindling lake behind Glines Canyon Dam after its removal began (Credit: University of Washington)
Following the dam removal project on the Elwha River in Washington state, salmon are returning to its waters to spawn, according to Yale Environment 360. Other species are also benefitting from the dam removal.
Two dams removed on the river in 2011 and 2012 have made way for a return of fish, otters and waterfowl. Some beaches are being built back up by sediment that has come with new flow.
Dam removals are becoming more common across the United States as aged dams fall into disrepair. With hefty restoration price tags, demolition is often cheaper. Over the past 20 years, more than 500 small dams have been demolished in the U.S., according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. The group estimates 70 percent of U.S. dams will be older than 50 years by the year 2020.
Image: The dwindling lake behind Glines Canyon Dam after its removal began (Credit: University of Washington)