Bull Trout Restoration Approach

Within the Elwha River, fishing for bull trout is prohibited by state, tribal, and Olympic National Park fishing regulations (pdf). Once the dams are removed and access to the upper river is reestablished, the restoration strategy for bull trout is natural recolonization. Biologists anticipate that removal of the dams will allow the now-isolated upriver populations to reestablish an anadromous life history strategy. Three to five bull trout generations (15–25 years), or possibly more, may be necessary before recovery is achieved. There are no hatchery programs for Elwha River bull trout populations.

Restoration Strategies:

  • Preparing a rescue and removal plan for individual bull trout
  • Providing a temporary holding area for rescued bull trout
  • Improving accessibility to Elwha River tributaries during and following dam removal
  • Monitoring effects of dam removal on bull trout habitat from the mouth of the river to the upstream end of Lake Mills

Complete Restoration Plan (200-page PDF):
Ward, L., P. Crain, B. Freymond, M. McHenry, D. Morrill, G. Pess, R. Peters, J.A. Shaffer, B. Winter, and B. Wunderlich. 2008. Elwha River Fish Restoration Plan – Developed pursuant to the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, Public Law 102-495. U.S. Dept. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NWFSC-90, 168 p.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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