Year of the River Film Released on Elwha and White Salmon (WA)
American Rivers, American Whitewater and the Hydropower Reform Coalition. released a short film today that tells the story of historic dam removal successes on Washington's Elwha and White Salmon rivers. The 7-minute film premiered at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in January and is the final installment in the “Year of the River” series by Andy Maser.
"People are hungry for positive news, and these river restoration stories are so inspiring," said Amy Kober, senior communications director for American Rivers. "Our goal with the video was to share the good news and help people celebrate, and hopefully create some renewed appreciation for healthy, free-flowing rivers.”
”One of our objectives with this series of films was to highlight the different individuals who have a personal connection to these rivers,” said Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “These two projects have been decades in the making, and we are thrilled to celebrate the success of river restoration from the perspective of those who are out enjoying these rivers.”
“As a paddler and adventure filmmaker, having the chance to witness and document these dam removals has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” said filmmaker Andy Maser. “My hope is that these films will continue to build momentum for more dam removals and support the efforts of people on the ground working hard to restore free-flowing rivers.” Maser is also working on a long-term timelapse project documenting the removal of Condit Dam and the restoration of the White Salmon River and surrounding ecosystem.
The removal of two dams on the Elwha River — the largest dam removal project in history — began in September and is expected to take two to three years. Demolition of the White Salmon River's Condit Dam began with a dramatic blast in October, and will take one year.
The rivers are already beginning to restore themselves. Once the dams are completely removed, salmon and steelhead will have access to upstream habitat for the first time in 100 years. The Klallam people on the Elwha and the Yakama on the White Salmon will have vital parts of their culture and heritage restored. The free-flowing rivers will also create new fishing, paddling, and other recreation opportunities.
The film features advocates who were instrumental in taking down the dams, and people connected to the rivers who will benefit from dam removal. The characters include Phyllis Clausen of Friends of the White Salmon; Heather Herbeck, a White Salmon whitewater guide; Rob Elofson, River Restoration Director for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; Shawn Cantrell of Seattle Audubon; Rick Rutz of the Mountaineers; and Bruce McGlenn, a fisherman.
Filmmaker Andy Maser is a National Geographic Explorer based in Portland, Oregon.
View Previous Films in Our Series
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Elwha Restoration (WA)
The Elwha River will be restored by removing two dams that have blocked salmon and degraded recreational opportunities on one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular rivers.
White Salmon Restoration (WA)
American Whitewater has been engaged in a long-term effort to protect and restore one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular year-around whitewater rivers.