Historically, pink salmon were the most abundant of all salmonids in the Elwha River. The Elwha's pink salmon are a genetically distinct stock and have no history of hatchery assistance. Their population numbers are severely depressed as measured by extremely low returns.
The restoration effort focuses on a captive brood program, which will preserve the genetic integrity of this unique stock while increasing population numbers. Along with this, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's (LEKT) hatchery will also be used to supplement the population during the few years surrounding dam removal.