PRESS RELEASE — Tuesday, May 1, 2012
For Information Call Anne Peterson at 208-373-7368
or Bob Evancho at 373-7369
Idaho Public Television airs UNDAMMING THE ELWHA, Thursday, May 3, at 8:30/7:30 p.m. The documentary from Seattle's public television station, KCTS, chronicles the dismantling of two dams on a waterway that once supported massive salmon runs. The show repeats Sunday, May 6, at 10:30/9:30 a.m. MT/PT.
The two 100-year-old hydroelectric cement dams upstream from Port Angeles, Washington were determined to be failing. Restoration was considered too difficult and too expensive to bring them up to today's legal requirements. With 80 percent of the watershed within Olympic National Park, the long-term goal is to restore the free-flowing river and its salmon runs.
Dismantling began last September, and in April it was reported that the lake behind the first dam is gone as is one-third of the dam. The first smolts from hatchery salmon planted last fall have been spotted in river tributaries. Upriver at the second dam, the lake is now half the size it used to be.
The film is a project of EarthFix, a public media project of Pacific Northwest public radio and television stations, including IdahoPTV. Some of the footage used in the film was supplied by IdahoPTV and EarthFix Idaho reporter Aaron Kunz.