PORT ANGELES — Backed up for decades, murky sediment from the newly liberated Elwha River has begun to form a plume as it empties into the blue waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Peninsula Daily News reported Sunday that river flows have spiked in recent weeks as winter turned to spring and dam removal continues, causing a plume of silt visible to the naked eye.
The last remnants of the 108-foot Elwha Dam, which formed Lake Aldwell 5 miles upstream from the river’s mouth, were removed in March. Its 210-foot counterpart, which forms Lake Mills 9 miles upstream, is about halfway gone as part of the $325 million federal project to restore the river’s legendary salmon runs.
River restoration director Robert Elofson said the sediment is not killing fish.