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Melissa M. Foley

Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam removal—from September 2011 to August 2014—more than ten million cubic meters of sediment was eroded from the former reservoirs, transported downstream, and deposited throughout the lower river, river delta, and nearshore waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Water quality data collected in the estuary complex at the mouth of the Elwha River document how conditions in the estuary...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
We characterized seafloor sediment conditions near the mouth of the Elwha River from underwater photographs taken every four hours from September 2011 to December 2013. A digital camera was affixed to a tripod that was deployed in approximately 10 meters of water (Tripod location from September 2011 to April 2013: 48.15333, -123.55931; tripod location from April 2013 to December 2013: 48.15407, -123.55444). Each photograph was qualitatively characterized as one of six categories: (1) base, or no sediment; (2) low sediment; (3) medium sediment; (4) high sediment; (5) turbid; or (6) kelp. For base conditions, no sediment was present on the seafloor. Low sediment conditions were characterized by a light dusting of...
The removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, USA, resulted in the erosion and transport of over 10 million m3 of sediment from the former reservoirs and into the river during the first two years of the dam removal process. Approximately 90% of this sediment was transported through the Elwha River and to the coast at the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To evaluate the benthic dynamics of increased sediment loading to the nearshore, we deployed a tripod system in ten meters of water to the east of the Elwha River mouth that included a profiling current meter and a camera system. With these data, we were able to document the frequency and duration of sedimentation and turbidity events,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Continental Shelf Research
The Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were removed from the Elwha River in Washington State from 2011 to 2014. We collected data for a variety of metrics in the estuary and on the river delta before (2006-2011) and during (2012-2014) dam removal to assess how increased sediment transport and deposition affected habitats, vegetation, invertebrates, and fish.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
One of the desired outcomes of dam decommissioning and removal is the recovery of aquatic and riparian ecosystems. To investigate this common objective, we synthesized information from empirical studies and ecological theory into conceptual models that depict key physical and biological links driving ecological responses to removing dams. We define models for three distinct spatial domains: upstream of the former reservoir, within the reservoir, and downstream of the removed dam. Emerging from these models are response trajectories that clarify potential pathways of ecological transitions in each domain. We illustrate that the responses are controlled by multiple causal pathways and feedback loops among physical...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: BioScience
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