As of January, 2014, the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams on the Elwha River, Washington, represents the largest dam decommissioning to date in the United States. Dam removal is the single largest step in meeting the goals of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992 (The Elwha Act) — full restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem and its native anadromous fisheries (Section 3(a)). However, there is uncertainty about project outcomes with regards to salmon populations, as well as what the ‘best’ management strategy is to fully restore each salmon stock. This uncertainty is due to the magnitude of the action, the large volumes of sediment expected to be released during dam removal, and the duration of the sediment impact period following dam removal. Our task is further complicated by the depleted state of the native salmonid populations remaining in the Elwha, including four federally listed species. This situation lends itself to a monitoring and adaptive management approach to resource management, which allows for flexibility in decision-making processes in the face of uncertain outcomes.
The Elwha Monitoring and Adaptive Management (EMAM) guidelines presented in this document provide a framework for developing goals that define project success and for monitoring project implementation and responses, focused upon two federally listed salmon species — Puget Sound Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Puget Sound steelhead (O. mykiss). The framework also should serve as a guide to help managers adaptively manage fish restoration actions during and following dam removal.Keyword Tags: