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Annual Meeting of the NMFS-Sea Grant Graduate Fellows in Population Dynamics and Economics and Group Tour of the Elwha Dam Removal Project 

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Remnants of the upper Elwha Dam taken from what was previously Mills Reservoir. The dam removal is complete, but remnants of the infrastructure will remain

The NMFS-Sea Grant Graduate Fellows in Population Dynamics and Economics held their annual meeting at the AFSC on 16-18 June 2014. The fellows are Ph.D. students in fisheries population dynamics and economics who have been awarded 2-3 years of funding from NMFS and Sea Grant for their graduate studies. The fellows gather once a year at a NMFS science center to present their most recent research findings. This year, AFSC scientists Ben Fissel and Carey McGilliard helped to organize the annual meeting, and three Center scientists gave presentations in addition to the presentations by the current fellows; Martin Dorn presented the talk “Implementing OFLs and ABCs for data-poor stocks managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council”; Alan Haynie presented “The Easy Job of Staying Busy as a NOAA Fisheries Economist”; and Steve Ignell gave a welcome speech. Sandra Lowe, Ron Felthoven, and Carey McGilliard participated in a panel discussion held for the fellows to discuss careers in government and academia.

As part of the meeting, NMFS scientists and economists joined the graduate fellows on a tour to learn about the recent removal of two dams from the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The dam removal project is the largest ever undertaken in the United States. The group spoke with four biologists involved in river and plant ecology and restoration. The group visited the river mouth, where a large amount of sediment was deposited following dam removal, creating a new and dynamic beach. Biologists have observed a large increase in the number of Dungeness crab occupying nearshore waters close to the river mouth. The group toured both previous reservoirs, where many native plants are now growing, including cottonwood and Oregon sunshine. Dam removal is complete, but remnants of the dam can be seen from what was previously the Mills Reservoir and will be marked with interpretive signs. A time-lapse video of the dam removal can be viewed online:


The new beach created by sediment washed out to the mouth of the Elwha River in Washington State as a result of the removal of two dams, the biggest dam removal project in the United States.

  A meadow that was previously the reservoir associated with the lower dam on the Elwha River. This meadow is being restored by seeding native plants such as cottonwood and Oregon sunshine.

By Carey McGilliard


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