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Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog

One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

May 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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New documentary on the Elwha Restoration on KCTS

If you missed it when it aired last month, go to the KTCS website and watch Katie Campbell's fine documentary on the Elwha and its restoration.


A new documentary on the Elwha produced by KTCS is a pleasure and suitable for all viewers, including students

Comprehensive, beautifully photographed and rich in history and context, it's rewarding both for someone new to the story and those already steeped in it.

As the restoration and dam removal continues, the changes on the the Elwha are dramatic. Here are some more amazing aerial photos from Tom Roorda:

Elwha (no) Dam 4-28-12 (2).jpg

Dam? What dam? This aerial photo of the former site of Elwha Dam taken April 28 shows just how quickly and profoundly change has come to the Elwha. Tom Roorda, photo.

Meanwhile the sediment plume is still booming out of the river, as the fine material stuck behind Elwha Dam since 1910 is rinsed out by the river.

elwha sediment 4-28-12.jpg

Sediment levels are about 50 times higher than normal in the river right now. Tom Roorda, photo, taken April 28. In this photo the plume of sediment flowing out of the Elwha is moving east in the saltwater Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Outmigrating smolts from coho planted between the dams right now will have to deal with higher sediment levels in the river. Clear water in side channels may prove important refuges for them. Born of 88 nests made by adult coho transported above the lower dam last fall, these baby coho are the first salmon born above Elwha Dam in 100 years.

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