Water release to protect salmon redds

PORT ANGELES — The Elwha and Glines Canyon dams Tuesday began releasing an additional 40 cubic feet of water per second to protect Chinook salmon redds — egg nests — below the Elwha Dam.

The river’s average flow for Tuesday’s date, based on 91 years of records, is 574 cubic feet per second.

The flow on Tuesday was 296 feet per second, or 51 percent of average.

The water release will continue until Lake Mills above Glines Canyon Dam has dropped 10 feet “or until a substantial amount of rain falls, whichever happens first,” said Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

Although visitors to Lake Mills may notice the lower lake level, the boat ramp will remain accessible and usable, she said.

Such flow augmentation has been authorized several times in recent years.

Tuesday’s action was authorized by Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner in collaboration with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

In 2009, the dams are scheduled to be removed to restore the river’s natural flow under the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act.

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