It's windy out there! Pictured here: Future Ecologies producers in a convenient field recording studio at the the mouth of the Elwha river. For context, check out our latest episode: FE1.10 - Rushing Downriver (listen link in bio)
Photo by the wonderful Anne Shaffer of the Coastal Watershed Institute.
What happens when the walls come down?
In this conclusion to our series on dam removals, we travel from the Klamath up to the Olympic peninsula, to the site of one of the most ambitious dam removal projects yet completed: the former Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. What did it actually take to bring the dams down, and what lessons can we take forward to other large-scale ecosystem renewal projects?
🎧 Listen link in bio 🎧
Sorry for being a little late getting this one out the door. It's still Wednesday on the west coast, right?
Aerial photo of the Elwha nearshore (April 2016) by Sam Beebe. Photo of log debris and site of the former Elwha dam by yours truly.
Can’t believe this is the only photo I took this weekend, but had my first sport climb experience! Learned a TON, had to leave some gear because I suck, and had about a 15 foot fall! But hey bumped and bruised I had an amazing weekend! Two climbing locations in one day! #sportclimbing#tylerpeak#elwhariver#pnw#portangeles#dungenessriver
A sketch of a Chinook Salmon and the effects the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dam have had on the Elwha River since 2012. The removal of the Elwha Dam was the world's largest. Many we're skeptical of the impact the removal would have. Others thought it may be a step back, after all, hydroelectricity is a renewable, (and considered by some) a clean energy source. But the dam generated a very small amount of energy (that could easily be replaced with a few wind turbines.) Sustainability is usually multifaceted and goes beyond simply maximizing efficiency. There are many considerations, particularly the long game which requires a holistic approach. After all, life doesn't happen in a vacuum. So, removal of the dam may have started with the salmon 🐟 but think of all the species that sustain themselves on salmon 🐻 🦅 🐋, and then the species that sustain themselves on those and so on... It's a rather extensive ripple effect that includes both flora and fauna. I'm going to refine and digitize this piece and will share some of the progress since the removal of the dam along with progress on the art. Spoiler alert, it's recovered more quickly than expected. #DamNation#elwhariver#biodiversity#illustration#pnw#drawn#art#pnwartist#chinook#salmon#freethesnake#47parallel#sketch#fish#blackandwhite#micron#drawing#sketchbook
Well, with fall steelhead season underway I have not had much time to post. Here is a female #chinooksalmon being courted by a male in the #elwhariver from a few weeks back. I want to refocus on the declining size of chinook because there were some very in-depth comments in the last post on #kingsalmon and as with any post, I have to strike a balance between detail and simplicity. So, I decided to delineate the factors and focus on one per day. Before that however, let’s try to clarify what is happening, over what time and where. First, many populations of Chinook salmon are showing patterns of declining size and age. Both are intertwined. For example, older fish spend a longer time at sea, and thus, are typically larger than younger ones. Second, based on historic photographs and catch records, there were clearly some very large Chinook salmon when Europeans first arrived in the PNW. However, we didn’t start collecting detailed data on size and age of chinook salmon across lots of populations until the late-70s and early-80s. That’s key, because it means that declines in Chinook have occurred over the period of record for which data is available. It is therefore possible, if not entirely likely, that intensive cannery fisheries – which were nearly ubiquitous along the coast – had already influenced size and age of Chinook. Third, hatchery chinook in the Columbia tend to return at smaller sizes and younger ages than wild fish, which means that we need to think about hatcheries also. And, there is suggestive evidence that large releases of hatchery pink and chum salmon could be influencing growth of chinook. Lastly, ocean conditions are changing with climate effects and in turn, is shaping timing, duration and intensity of plankton blooms that serve as the food source for many salmonids when they are young. And, serve as the food sources for smaller fish that larger salmon eat as they grow in size. Basically, there are a number of factors that are likely contributing to the problem. Over the next few posts I’ll try to review each of the factors and explain their relative. Have a great weekend. #fishing#fish#conservation
#tbt to my time working with WA Dept. of Ecology.
This day is I was doing salmon surveys on the Elwha River. .
I loved this job because I spent everyday outside, and I got to work daily with awesome organizations, like the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, NOAA, and the National Park Service. .
Also, it was a cool because this job paid me to care for God’s creation—honoring him through restoration efforts. .