The dwindling lake behind Glines Canyon Dam after its removal began (Credit: University of Washington)
Marine geologists at the University of Washington are monitoring sediment flow during the largest dam removal project ever, according to a release. Tearing down dams that once held the Elwha River has released 34 million cubic yards of silt, sand and gravel.
The river flows through the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. Elwha Dam was removed successfully in 2012, while Glines Canyon Dam’s removal was halted to give a water treatment plant time to adjust to the extra sediment load.
Experts are noting where the sediment is ending up, how it is affecting species in the river and say the findings could aid in managing future dam removal projects. The research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is also recording the return of salmon to the river.
Image: The dwindling lake behind Glines Canyon Dam after its removal began (Credit: University of Washington)