A River Reborn
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A compelling exploration of one of the largest dam removal projects in the world—and the efforts to save a stunning Northwest ecosystem
* Co-published with The Seattle Times
* 125 color photographs, including rare historic images
* Dam removal started in September 2011 while restoration work continues today
In the fall of 2011, the Times was on hand when a Montana contractor removed the first pieces from two concrete dams on the Elwha River which cuts through the Olympic range. It was the beginning of the largest dam removal project ever undertaken in North America—one dam was 200 feet tall—and the start of an unprecedented attempt to restore an entire ecosystem. More than 70 miles of the Elwha and its tributaries course from the mountain headwaters to clamming beaches on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Through interviews, field work, archival and historical research, and photojournalism, The Seattle Times has explored and reported on the dam removal, the Elwha ecosystem, its industrialization, and now its renewal. Elwha: A River Reborn is based on these feature articles.
Richly illustrated with stunning photographs, as well as historic images, graphics, and a map, Elwha tells the interwoven stories of this region. Meet the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, who anxiously await the return of renowned salmon runs savored over the generations in the stories of their elders. Discover the biologists and engineers who are bringing the dams down and laying the plan for renewal, including an unprecedented revegetation effort that will eventually cover more than 700 acres of mudflats.
When the dam started to come down in Fall 2011—anticipated for more than 20 years since Congress passed the Elwha Restoration Act—it was the beginning of a $350 million project observed around the world. Elwha: A River Reborn is inspiring and instructive, a triumphant story of place, people, and environment striving to come together.