Student Activities

Restoring the Elwha River

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade


This activity focuses on the plans to remove the dams, restore the river, and return salmon to the Elwha River watershed. Managers will have to use different strategies depending on the current population levels, life histories, and habitat requirements for each species of salmon, to ensure recovery. Some species will be able to naturally recolonize the river and return to anadromy. During the dam removal process, there is expected to be great amounts of sediment released from the deltas which have formed at the mouth of the reservoirs. To assure their survival, some salmonid species will be stored and propagated in hatcheries, protected from the high levels of suspended sediment. Some species will need to be out-planted up river to facilitate recolonization following dam removal. In addition, a great deal of ecological work will be necessary post dam removal to restore vegetation, engineer logjams, and return the sediment regime to form spawning beds.

Students will complete reflection journal entries on dam removal and river restoration. 

  • Hatchery- A facility used to rear juvenile fish for the purpose of stocking rivers or lakes, producing fish for commercial fishing activities, or restoring endangered fish populations.
  • Exotic/Non-native- A species introduced to an area by humans either purposefully or accidentally that competes with native species, often with serious ecological consequences
  • Course Woody Debris- Large woody structures such as logs, branches, and trunks that are left behind by stochastic events such as forest fires, wind storms, flooding, or logging activities.
  • Logjam- An accumulation of large woody structures (mostly logs and branches) along a river's course from high water flows, which deflect or slow down water flows and create backwater pools or sediment accumulations for fish.



Download Activity packet

Download Removing the Dams and Restoring the River powerpoint

Last updated: October 2, 2015