LETTER: National Park Service should be embarrassed over paltry number of fish in Elwha

It’s been three years since the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams were removed, and the NPS is touting 16 fish in an area where there should be many more.

Regarding the rock barriers at the former Glines Canyon Dam site in the Elwha River.

In a Sept. 12 Peninsula Daily News article [“ONP Finding Fish In Elwha”], it was stated that fish continue to recolonize the Elwha River watershed and that “an early August snorkel survey between Rica canyon and Glines Canyon … revealed five adult chinook, one steelhead and 10 adult sockeye salmon” were counted.

We know in the summer of 2015, most fish were blocked at the Glines Canyon Dam site, and that’s why the National Park Service blasted away 14 large rocks.

Now the NPS wants to blast four more at the Glines dam site [“More Blasting Done On Elwha River Dam Site,” PDN, Sept. 16].

Is it because of the low numbers of fish in the early August snorkel survey that have the NPS biologists worried?

Acting Park Superintendent Rachel Spector said, “We are thrilled to see this latest confirmation of the success and value of dam removal.”

Does one consider success in a count of 16 fish in one section of river where there should be many more?

This should be a $325 million embarrassment to the National Park Service for the paltry number of fish that have made it past the Glines Canyon Dam barrier.

I’m not buying into the sunshine and butterflies spin from Spector.

The NPS answer to the barrier is, “We will monitor the situation.”

Next year will be the third year since removal of the dams.

How many years do they get until they make it right?

We won’t know till next summer if the blasting was successful.

If not, maybe Congress should monitor the NPS.

Jim Anderson,

Port Angeles

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