Blasting continues to bring down Glines Canyon Dam (*** PHOTO GALLERY ***)
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
The Elwha River, at right, meanders through the former bed of Lake Mills into what remains of the lake empounded behind the Glines Canyon Dam in Olympic National Park.
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Months of demolition work has left a gaping hole in the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park as shown on Wednesday.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The big mud puddle behind what's left of Glines Canyon Dam is about to get a lot smaller.

Crews will resume blasting the 85-year-old dam Monday, lowering what's left of Lake Mills by another
8 feet.

The Elwha River currently is flowing over the top
of the dam 73 feet above the canyon floor, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna said.

Thirteen months into the historic removal project, nearly two-thirds of the once-210-foot Glines Canyon Dam is gone.

The last remnants of its older cousin — the Elwha Dam 9 miles downstream and 5 miles from the river mouth — were removed in March.

Barnard Construction of Bozeman, Mont., the National Park Service contractor for physical dam removal, is more than a year ahead of schedule on the removal of Glines Canyon Dam.

The project is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

The dam-removal contract contains specific sediment-management holds to promote erosion of the lake bed and fish windows to prevent the sediment from reaching toxic levels for salmon.

The $325 million federal river restoration project is intended to restore Elwha River salmon runs, as both dams were built without fish ladders.

Crews used the current sediment-management hold to continue demolishing the Glines dam's intake tower and to remove concrete rubble that had accumulated upstream from the dam.

On Tuesday, the park used a heavy-lift helicopter to move hundreds of logs from the rim of the former reservoir to the exposed lake bed below. This was done to encourage new vegetation to grow, McKenna said.

The eight-hour operation was funded by an Environmental Protection Agency grant that the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe obtained.

Olympic National Park is posting regular updates on the dam-removal project at http://tinyurl.com/8st2klp.



Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 06. 2012 11:07PM
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