Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Olympic National Park, and the Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife have agreed that it is necessary to extend the fishing
closure in the Elwha River for another two years, from June 1, 2019 to July 1,
fishing moratorium in these waters has been in place since 2011 to protect
depleted native salmonid populations, including four federally listed fish
species which are needed to re-colonize habitats between and upstream of the
two former dam sites.
restoration of salmonid spawning and rearing in habitats upstream of the former
Glines Canyon Dam is paramount to successful restoration,” said WDFW in a press
release. “These early re-colonizers play an important role in establishing
spawning and juvenile rearing in habitats of the upper watershed.”
impediments to migrating fish were removed from the Glines Canyon dam site in
date, fisheries biologists confirmed upstream passage of adult chinook salmon,
sockeye salmon, coho salmon, winter and summer steelhead, bull trout, and
Pacific lamprey past the former Glines Canyon Dam site with some adults
reaching as high as river mile 40 in the Elwha.
salmon and chum salmon have been documented upstream of the former Elwha Dam
site but not above the Glines Canyon Dam site. Despite these encouraging signs,
for all species, vacant upstream habitat indicates further recolonization and
spatial expansion are needed to reach population abundances the Elwha watershed
is capable of supporting.
Elwha project partners evaluate spawner abundance, extent of distribution, and
juvenile production each year throughout the system using a variety of tools
including sonar, redd surveys, snorkel surveys, and smolt trapping.
(CBB, Feb. 20, 2015, “Elwha: Several New Studies Detail Impacts Of Largest Dam
Removal Project In US History” http://www.cbbulletin.com/433197.aspx)
and commercial fishing will resume when there is broad distribution of spawning
adults in newly accessible habitats above the former dam sites, when spawning
occurs at a rate that allows for population growth and diversity, and when
there is adequate escapement and a harvestable surplus.
salmon and steelhead populations are expanding into newly opened habitats, but
are not yet at recovery objectives, said WDFW.
fishing closure applies to all recreational and commercial fishing in the Elwha
River and its tributaries.
lakes in the Elwha basin within Olympic National Park and Lake Sutherland will
remain open to sport fishing from the fourth Saturday in April through October
ecosystem recovery in the Elwha is a cooperative effort among Lower Elwha
Klallam Tribe, Olympic National Park, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Washington Department of Fish and