Port Angeles: Discussions to continue on who owns revitalized Elwha River land after Lake Aldwell is drained

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- Who owns the land left behind when the 112-foot Elwha Dam is removed and Lake Aldwell drains down to a flowing Elwha River?

``Olympic National Park is talking to various agencies and will involve the public in deciding whom the land goes to,'' says Brian Winter, Olympic National Park Elwha project manager.

Winter keynoted Monday's luncheon meeting of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, where about 100 gathered at the Port Angeles CrabHouse Restaurant.

The dam's removal, along with removal of the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam eight miles upriver, is set to begin in 2008.

The project's total cost today: $182 million. This includes paying out $29.5 million to the dams' previous owners and about $85 million for water treatment projects for the city of Port Angeles and Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

The Elwha River dams will be the largest ever removed in the United States.

Winter said the public will have the opportunity on who manages the land now under water behind Elwha Dam when it becomes restored riverfront.

Under consideration

Under consideration for the land's management are the state Department of Natural Resources, state Fish and Wildlife Department, Olympic National Park and the Lower Elwha tribe.

``Certainly most of the obligation falls under the auspices of the national park,'' Winter told the audience.

He's been involved with Elwha River restoration since 1985 in varying capacities with the tribe and National Marine Fisheries Service, and has been the full-time Elwha project manager for the park since 1992.



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