- Location: Port Angeles, Washington
- Owner: National Park Service
- Engineer(s): U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- Contract Type: Fixed Unit Price (competitive bid)
- Status: Completed
It’s incredibly gratifying as a company to participate in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, setting free the pristine Elwha River system on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The controlled deconstruction of the 108-foot-tall Elwha Dam and 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam has been in the works since Congress agreed in 1992 to full restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem and native anadromous fisheries. The dams were built in 1911 and 1927, respectively, without providing any fish passages. The removal of the two dams increased spawning habitat for five species of salmon from 5 miles to over 70 miles.
The National Park Service hired Barnard to remove the 100-year-old dams and powerhouses so the Elwha River could flow uninterrupted for the first time since 1920s, once again adding sediment to the river’s shores and the Strait of Juan de Fuca where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. To accomplish the demolition, we removed 774.5 CY of hazardous waste from the old powerhouses. We also removed trees, rock, sediment and concrete while carefully monitoring the water quality downstream. The salmon from the Pacific Ocean are now free to migrate upstream along the Elwha River, just as they did hundreds of years ago.
Elwha: Roaring back to life
Feb. 13, 2016
The Elwha watershed is booming with new life, after the world’s largest dam removal. Today the river roars through the tight rock canyon once plugged by Elwha Dam, and surges past the bald, rocky hill where the powerhouse stood. The hum of the generators is replaced by the river singing in full voice, shrugging off a century of confinement like it never happened…Read More