Ecosystem response to the removal of the Elwha River dams
Dr. George Pess, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center


Wed., Sept 18, 2019| 3:10 pm | PACCAR Clean Tech Bldg. , Room 202

Worldwide stream and watershed restoration efforts cost billions annually. Normally, these projects are typically local-scale activities that do not have a measurable effect on ecosystem function or services. We present results from the Elwha River, where the largest dam removal ever undertaken resulted in measureable ecosystem changes. The release and transport of tens of millions of metric tonnes of sediment from former reservoirs has resulted in the transformation and rebuilding of estuarine and riverine habitats. The resumption of free passage for aquatic organisms has re-established anadromous fishes to areas that have been void of such species for 100 years and altered the migration patterns and improved the fecundity of a song bird. Our results demonstrate the critical importance of maintaining longitudinal connectivity for watershed processes and ecosystem services.

George Pess has worked in the field of fisheries and geomorphology since 1989. His primary research interest during that time has been the examination of natural and land-use effects on salmon habitat and salmon production. George has an A.B. in Economics and Environmental Science (Bowdoin College 1987), an M.S. in Forest Science (Yale University 1992), and a Ph.D. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (University of Washington, 2009). George is currently the program manager for the Watershed Program at NOAAs Northwest Fisheries Science Center and is Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

CEREO and WRC CO-Sponsor Seminar