Project Header_Elwha

Called one of the largest dam removal projects in American history, the Elwha and Glines Dam Removal Project dismantled two dams that blocked native salmon runs for nearly a century.

The removal of both hydropower dams began after a U.S. Congressional Act passed in 1992 that initiated the restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem and its fisheries, which held strong support from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Over four years, Barnard worked as the general contractor throughout the deconstruction of both dams and impounding sediment, as well as restoration work that re-created the natural gravel-bed spawning habitat for the native salmon population. With the dams’ adjacency to Olympic National Park, the project provided the unique opportunity for scientists to study how major dam removals could benefit wildlife management, conservation work, and the local community.


Location: Port Angeles, Washington

Owner: National Park Service (NPS)

Engineer: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Contract Type: Fixed Unit Price

Completion Date: September 2014


  • Demolition and removal of 3,900 CY of concrete from two powerhouses
  • Removal of five hydro-turbine generators
  • Removal of five steel penstocks
  • Demolition and removal of 130-ft.-tall by 20-ft.-dia. steel surge tower
  • Demolition and removal of 120-ft.-tall by 25-ft.-dia. steel surge tower

200,000 CY of sediment, rock, gunite, and trees removed

27,000 CY of concrete demolished and removed from both dams

70 miles of newly accessible waterways for native salmon

Project Footer_Elwha