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Washington State Having a 'Dam-Busting Summer'

Two dams have been removed from watersheds in Washington State in as many months.
August 6, 2020, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Washington State
SevenMaps

"Washington’s dam-busting summer is still rolling, with two more dams coming down on the Pilchuck River, opening 37 miles of habitat to salmon for the first time in more than a century," reports Lynda V. Mapes. 

"The $2 million dam removal project is a collaboration between the City of Snohomish and Tulalip Tribes, and will benefit multiple species of salmon, including threatened chinook salmon, crucial food for endangered southern resident killer whales," adds Mapes. 

"It’s the state’s second dam teardown project in two months. In July, the city of Bellingham blew up its Nooksack Diversion Dam on the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River, opening 16 miles of habitat for salmon, including chinook." Planetizen picked up news of the Bellingham dam removal, noting the long precess that enabled that historic dam removal.

Maps provides more background on how the dam removal on the Pilchuk River came to be. Hint: it came down to simple question of cost.

A separate article by Tara Lohan, written in 2018, details the lessons in ecosystem restoration that have emerged from another dam removal in Washington State—the dam removal on the Elwha River, which is considered the world's largest dam removal project. 

Now two more watersheds in the state are hoping for the kind of recovery of critical species as has been seen on the Elhwa River since the 105-foot-tall Elwha Dam and 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam were removed in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 in The Seattle Times
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