Sediment Plume and Ecosystems

When dams go up, there is an effect on downstream water and sediment Quality. The same goes for when dams go down. Scuba-diver scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, with support teams from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and Washington Sea Grant, are returning to the mouth of Washington’s Elwha River this week to explore and catalog the effect of released sediment on marine life following the nation’s largest dam removal effort. The underwater survey is taking place downstream of the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams, which are nearing the one-year anniversary of the start of their removal, a gradual process that officials expect to be finished in 2013. The dive survey is helping scientists understand how underwater plant and animal life react and adapt to the downstream effects of dam removal and providing scientists a more detailed and complete picture of the ecological restoration.

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