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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

July 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Elwha Dams: before and after, an aerial photo essay

Sometimes the big picture is best. So it is with appreciating the scale of the $325 million Elwha River restoration.

glines.jpg

Glines Canyon Dam as of July 9, from remote camera at the dam removal site. Finished in 1927, Glines Canyon Dam used to be 210 feet tall.

Filmmaker John Gussman has been doing a fabulous job recording the before and after miracle of this river restoration effort, in which two of the largest dams ever removed are being taken out of the Elwha River. The lower dam, Elwha, built in 1910, is already history.

elwha.jpg

Elwha Dam, 108 feet tall and built in 1910, is history. Here is a pairing of Gussman’s before and after imagery, the before of course is the top photo.

Last week John sent me some of his more striking recent aerial photos, paired with before shots taken in the same locations. Have a look, it’s amazing stuff

For more on the science of the dam removal project, see this terrific overview, from the USGS.

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