After restoration of the Elwha River is complete, the pristine waters have the potential of supplying optimum habitat for the thousands of salmonids that return each year.
Before construction of the dams, native fish used the Elwha River and its diverse habitats for spawning. The inaccessibility created by the dams has seriously diminished all 10 native Elwha River anadromous fish runs, including all five types of Pacific salmon, as well as native char (bull trout and dolly varden), winter and summer-run steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat trout. In addition, sediment has been caught behind the dams, preventing gravel and debris from entering the lower 5 miles of the river, and thus rendering the available reaches practically unsuitable for the spawning of particular populations of native fish.
Historic Range Diagrams:
Other Useful Links:
Map of the Elwha River Watershed
Potential Range after dam removal