Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Elwah Science Symposium

Barge begins demo of concrete to create the first 'slot'
in Glines Canyon Dam

Deconstruction of two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State has begun.

This past week, one of the largest ever gatherings of dam removal experts and advocates came together to celebrate the biggest dam removal project in history.  The agenda included a 2-day science symposium, educational tours, music, storytelling.  The invitation-only ceremony at the dam site included the coalition that made the project possible, as well as dignitaries such as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

The science symposium drew over 300 participants and included 32 presentations on sediment, salmon, sea otters, black bears, birds and estuary morphology.  

A common theme was the importance of good science, not only in planning and engineering, but also in tracking and ensuring the effectiveness of the project as it evolves.  This was emphasized in one the the first talks by James Karr, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington.  He stressed the need for "adaptive management"  as a key component of Ecosystem-based Management in a "Plan - Do - Check - Adjust" loop.  Other presenters echoed the need for humility and objectivity to adjust to unforeseen outcomes, as preconceived notions often underestimate the remarkable resilience of nature.

An evening session was coordinated by Matt Stoecker, and included several Patagonia-sponsored videos and a talk by Yvon Chouinard.    

To read more and see an interactive graphic of the dam removal  this LATimes article and the Special report from the Seattle Times.

In the news: 

Largest U.S. Dam Removal to Restore Salmon Runs

Dam Removal Graphic

Elwha Science Symposium on the web:

The presentations and agenda may be downloaded here: