Park Newsletter for September 21, 2007

person wearing snorkel gear in shallow river
Drysuit-clad biologist looks for fish in upper Elwha River during recent snorkel survey.

Biologists Study Fish During Forty-Two Mile Snorkel Survey
In one of the longest snorkel surveys ever completed in North America, fisheries biologists recently swam the length of the Elwha River – from its headwaters to its mouth – with the goal of establishing a baseline of the river’s fish population before dam removal begins.

The forty-two mile underwater trip began at an elevation of 2,250 feet in the upper Elwha Valley and ended at sea level where the river joins the Strait of Juan de Fuca. More, including photos and links.

uniformed ranger speaking at outdoor podium, flanked by three other people
From left, Frances Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman; Bill Laitner, Olympic National Park Superintendent; U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks; and City of Port Angeles Mayor Karen Rogers
Milestone Celebrated in Elwha Restoration
Olympic National Park marked an important milestone in Elwha River restoration last Friday with the ground-breaking for a new water treatment plant. The new plant will protect the municipal water supply for neighboring Port Angeles during removal of two dams on the Elwha River.

With about 45 people listening and construction equipment working in the background, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, City of Port Angeles Mayor Karen Rogers, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles and Superintendent Bill Laitner spoke about the history and the future of Elwha restoration.

The four speakers then led a group of about 12 people in digging the first few shovels of dirt to begin the first active phase of Elwha River restoration.

Removal of two dams on the Elwha River will restore the river to its natural free-flowing state, allowing all five species of Pacific salmon and other anadromous fish to once again reach over 70 miles of habitat and spawning grounds.

The project will bring cultural, spiritual and economic healing to the Lower Elwha Klallam people, as salmon return after a century’s absence and flooded sacred sites are restored.

Dam removal will begin after the water quality protection facilities are complete.
More on Elwha restoration.

closeup of fisher
A proposal to reintroduce native fishers to Olympic National Park is now under review.

Fisher Reintroduction Plan Available for Review
In partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympic is proposing to reintroduce fishers to the Olympic National Park. Olympic National Forest is collaborating on the proposal.

Fishers are house-cat sized members of the weasel family,related to mink, otter and marten. They are native to Washington state, but disappeared close to 100 years ago from overtrapping and habitat loss.

More information and links to the plan and environmental assessment are available at the park's website. Public comments on the proposal must be received by October 10, 2007.

bull elk with antlers standing on gravel bar

Jon Preston - NPS Photo

Things to Do
Visit the Hoh or Quinault rain forests for Olympic's unique sights and sounds of autumn. Hoh rangers report that the elk are bugling and that the mating season is underway. Keep an eye out for elk in forest clearings or along the river bars while you enjoy the fall colors.

Join the Friends of Olympic National Park for two upcoming events. A presentation and reading by outdoors author Craig Romano is set for Thursday, September 27. More on evening with Craig Romano.

The Friends of Olympic National Park will also host a salmon-watching program on Saturday, September 29 at Salmon Cascades on the Sol Duc River. This is also National Public Lands Day, so all park entrance fees will be waived. More on salmon-watching with the Friends.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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