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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

March 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM

New on the Elwha: A sand spit at the river mouth

Anyone who doubts the power and scope of the revival of the forces of nature on the Elwha River hasn’t looked out the window of Tom Roorda’s plane.

Tom is a pilot and, lucky for the rest of us, he likes to take pictures — and generously shares them. Have a look at what he saw out the window at the Elwha recently:

Tom Roorda's amazing photo of the new sand spit formed on the west side of the mouth of the Elwha

Tom Roorda’s photo of the new sand spit formed on the west side of the mouth of the Elwha

The amazing thing is the spit, emerging at the river mouth, on the western side. The result of taking out Elwha Dam a year ago, and two thirds of Glines Canyon Dam so far, sediment trapped behind the dams is gradually making its way all the way to saltwater in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in a true mountains to the sea, ecosystem scale renewal.

Here’s what Tom has to say about how he got this photo:

“I had a camera mounted on the bottom of the tail and banked the plane 90 degrees and flew in a circle to get this one. It’s a wide angle lens and that’s the reason for all the distortion. I like the fact that you can see the mountains in the background. I lose some resolution because the image has to be rotated 90 degrees to get this view…it is a GoPro camera and I control it with my smartphone.”

Thanks to Tom, for letting us in on the beauty of the Elwha rebuilding itself, all the way to the river mouth.

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