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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.

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November 29, 2012 at 4:34 PM

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Photos from a new world: Glines Canyon Dam going...going....

Brian Cluer of NOAA Fisheries was part of a team of scientists investigating progress of dam removal on the Elwha earlier this month...and the photos he took of the new world unfolding on the Elwha are amazing. Here is a view looking downstream, above what is left of Glines Canyon Dam. That's Heidi Hugunin fish technician for the National Park Service in the red jacket.

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Brian Cluer of NOAA Fisheries took this photo on November 6, 2012, about 1000 feet upstream from Glines Canyon Dam. Once 210 feet tall, only about 65 feet of the dam is left as demolition continues. The dam should be completely gone by May

Scientists from NOAA, USGS, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service were taking measurements of the river channel's outline and slope, and samples of sediment to examine the size of the particles. Their work was part of the ongoing monitoring work of tracking the erosion of sediment stuck behind Glines Canyon Dam.

The view looking downstream is deceiving. The reservoir, the former Lake Mills, is gone, and the river free flowing. But there is still a big chunk of dam invisible under the cascade pouring over it that is a total barrier to fish migration. But it will be gone by May, 2013, under the current schedule estimates.

Here is the photo Cluer took of the Elwha pouring in a great cascade over what's left of Glines, also on November 6:

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The Elwha cascades over what is left of Glines Canyon Dam.

Photo by Brian Cluer, NOAA Fisheries.

Meanwhile, here is a look at the river pumped up with high flows with the season's first big rains. John McMillan, NOAA fisheries biologist, took these photos of the river on a recent reconnaissance of the Elwha.

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The Elwha, unleashed and swollen with rain.

Photo by John McMillan

And here's proof that you don't need to wait for good weather to take fabulous photos in the Elwha. Here's what John came back with from the Elwha on a classic socked in Peninsula soaker of a day.

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The Elwha twines past a stump garden left behind after the reservoirs drained. John McMillan, photo

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Stump garden in mist. Photo by John McMillan.

Curious to go out and see it for yourself? Read my story in this coming Sunday's travel section of the Seattle Times with tips on where to go and what to see. It's a new world unfolding out there. Go see.

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