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After the dams fell: Elwha River’s ecosystem is changing faster than predicted

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The final chunks of concrete are expected to fall this September in the nation’s largest dam-removal project, but nature is already reclaiming the Elwha River on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

So much sediment, once trapped in reservoirs behind two hydroelectric dams, has flowed downstream that it has dramatically reshaped the river’s mouth, replenished eroding beaches and created new habitat for marine creatures not observed there in years.

Meanwhile, Chinook salmon and steelhead have been streaming into stretches of the Elwha River…

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