River turbidity and sediment loads during dam removal



Dam decommissioning has become an important means for removing unsafe or obsolete dams and for restoring natural fluvial processes, including discharge regimes, sediment transport, and ecosystem connectivity [Doyle et al., 2003]. The largest dam-removal project in history began in September 2011 on the Elwha River of Washington State (Figure 1a). The project, which aims to restore the river ecosystem and increase imperiled salmon populations that once thrived there, provides a unique opportunity to better understand the implications of large-scale river restoration.


Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Puget Sound Partnership, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound Program, and the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Additional support and assistance have been provided by Tim Randle, Jennifer Bountry, Andy Ritchie, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.