The two dams on the Elwha River are almost completely gone.
And this fall the fish are psyched. Chinook salmon, those river gods and godesses of the Northwest, have reappeared above the lower dam in a place called Indian Creek. This isn’t the first time chinook have been spotted above the lower dam, but it is the first time John Gussman has created such a beautiful video compilation of their return. Gussman has been documenting the Elwha Dam removal for years.
Though we can’t embed it on this page, watch the video here.
I just love how beaten-to-heck they are after their long journey to the sea and back. If those fish could talk!
Meanwhile, when they’ve finished spawning and their carcasses line the shores of the Elwha, the river will be a richer place — literally — because of all the marine-derived nutrients those salmon bring back with them from the ocean to the rivers and forests. It’s an ecosystem-wide shot in the arm that starts with the salmon. That complete cycle of life hasn’t existed in this river for 100 years.
You can check out our coverage of the largest dam removal in U.S. history here.
And if you’ve got half an hour feast your eyes on the EarthFix documentary, ‘Undamming the Elwha,’ produced by Katie Campbell:
— Ashley Ahearn
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