Miles Lost Miles Gained

Art and science combine to virtually restore lost rivers through digital maps, sculpture and intersecting tales of ecosystem destruction and restoration.

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Family friendly habitat restoration on the Elwha River – an overlooked (but well received) side effect of the dam removals

Upon visiting the Elwha River valley this summer to get some dam rubble (for upcoming ML/MG geocaches!) with family and friends we took the opportunity to see what was happening along the river from the kids’ perspective. The kids were impressed! We visited former Lake Aldwell (for a mud bath), Altair Campground, for hotdogs, and the new beach at the mouth to skinny dip atop one of the newest and finest (and certainly most interesting) sand beaches on the Washington Coast. In over a decade of working on the dam removals, I never once heard the scientists in charge say to the locals opposing the dam removals “and one day, once all that sediment comes out, you and your families will have a brand spanking new beach on which to frolic, minutes from your house”.  There are no wild, sandy beaches like this one on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. With so much sediment left to come out behind what’s left of Glines Canyon Dam, I can only seeing this beach getting bigger and better. Soon the word will be out (to the surfers chagrin). Whether one supported the river restoration or opposed it, the beach will surely become a treasure to all who visit, and signify success for the project. We will be back, with the kids, shovel and pail in hand!

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Inspection of hyporheic flow emerging on new sandy beach with family unit. Surfers were getting tubed in background near new sand spits. 2 years ago this beach was a narrow strip of grapefruit sized cobble, and waves broke right at shore.

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Kids after discovery of mud pit next to river in former lake bed: “This is way better than Christmas”