Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recession aids conservation

Thanks to our blessed recession, the Elwha dams will come out a year sooner! Now that's economic pain to die for.

Stimulus money will be used to create dam removal jobs and speed the crumbling, tumbling of this devastating bit of concrete. I know, let's have a recession every year, so we can speed up conservation projects!

Why is this a big deal? As the Seattle Times explains:

Supporters of the Olympic project hope it will restore once-legendary salmon runs destroyed when the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams blocked access to 70 miles of habitat.

Dam removal was approved by Congress in 1993, and demolition had been scheduled for 2009, until rising costs for the $308 million project delayed the start to 2012. With work expected to start in 2011, the dams could be gone by 2013 or 2014.

The new schedule was welcome news to Robert Elofson, natural-resources director for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. The tribe has worked to see the dams removed for 25 years, with an eye toward bringing back salmon that were vital to the tribe.


tshilson said...

If salmon return to their birthplace to spawn, how will any salmon get to the newly unblocked streams?


Mark Powell said...

Straying, the home site fidelity is not perfect. Also, most reintroductions involve some supplementation with artificially propagated salmon to help recolonization.

Don't worry, with salmon, if you open up good habitat like the pristine Elwha in Olympic National Park, they will come.