On Monday, August 20th, less than five months after the removal of the Elwha Dam, adult Chinook (king) salmon were seen in the Elwha River – the first salmon to naturally migrate into the park.
When the Elwha Dam became operational in 1913, 25 years before the establishment of the park, over 70 miles of habitat were blocked to fish passage.
The Chinook were first seen about two miles upstream from the park’s boundary. By Friday, the fisheries crew had seen Chinook throughout the first 12.5 miles of the Elwha River, from the mouth of the river to the Altair Bridge, as well as at the mouth of Indian Creek. The crew has been conducting weekly surveys along the Elwha River since the start of August in search of Elwha River Chinook salmon in the park.
The return of the salmon marks an important milestone in the restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem and a historic moment in the history of the park.
For more information on the river’s restoration and some additional images, go to the park’s blog at the “More Information” link below.