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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Another major step towards restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem will be made this Saturday when key officials break ground for new Elwha Water Facilities. The new facilities will include a surface water intake, a water treatment plant to protect the industrial water supply for Port Angeles along with flood protection and improvements to the Crown Z Water Road.
Scheduled to take part are U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, City of Port Angeles Mayor Gary Braun and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Council Member Dennis Sullivan, National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis and Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Sue McGill, along with other officials.
“We invite the public to join us to celebrate this important milestone towards Elwha restoration,” said McGill. “Construction of these water facilities brings us another step closer to dam removal and restoration of the Elwha River and the surrounding ecosystem.”
The ground breaking will be held on Saturday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the new water facilities project site at the Elwha Rearing Channel at 236 Crown Z Water Road west of Port Angeles.
Watts/DelHur AJV (a joint venture of Watts Constructors LLC and DelHur Industries, Inc.) was selected in December as the prime contractor to construct the Elwha Water Facilities. DelHur Industries is based in Port Angeles, Washington and Watts Constructors LLC has offices in California, Washington and Hawaii. The home office for Watts/DelHur AJV is in Gig Harbor, Washington.
As stipulated in the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992, water quality protection measure for the City of Port Angels and Elwha water users must be completed and in place before dam removal can begin.
The National Park Service expects to issue a Notice to Proceed to Watts/DelHur AJV within the next month. The contractor will then have three years to complete the project, with adjustments possible, based on any changes that may be required during construction.
The Elwha River is the largest watershed on the Olympic Peninsula and was once one of the most productive salmon streams in the Pacific Northwest, home to all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as other fish species. Two dams, constructed in the early 1900s, now block fish from all but the lower five miles of the river. Removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dam will restore the Elwha to its natural, free-flowing condition and will once again allow fish access to over 70 river miles of habitat now protected within Olympic National Park. Dam removal will begin after the water quality protection facilities are complete.