Elwha River research enters a new phase!

The Sediment Dynamics Group is wrapping up its monitoring program at the Elwha River. During dam removal in 2011-2014 we monitored the transported sediment through the coastal area. For the past two years, we have deployed instruments on the seabed to monitor sediment transport and light availability. Now those instrument platforms are going into storage and the instruments are going to new projects. During instrument deployment cruises on the RV Barnes and the USGS owned Frontier. We collected sediment samples to track the progression of the new deposit in Fresh Water Bay.

Emily Eidam and Hannah Glover carrying a boxcore (Photo credit: Mark D. Stone).

We also collected water samples to look at the composition of suspended material. This sample processing is also wrapped up, and we’re entering a new phase of data analysis. The data will provide insights into how the dam removal impacted the habitat on the seabed. Light availability is especially important for kelp, which provide habitat for other organisms.  These results will be valuable for reducing environmental damage during other dam removal projects.