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Elwha: Rising from the Ashes

written & directed by Shane Anderson

director of photoGraphy Jesse Andrew Clark


Less than six years ago, the second of two dams on the Elwha River on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula was taken out to provide access for fish to their native upper river habitat. Since then, we have witnessed a remarkable transformation of the river – and the striking return of the wildlife that depend on it.

In partnership with Trout Unlimited, the lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Olympic National Park, and local biologists, we set out to create an adventure short with the potential to inspire river restoration work everywhere.

At the heart of the expedition were the snorkel surveys, whereby biologists counted juvenile and and adult populations of steelhead and salmonid species in different river stretches.

Numbers of wild steelhead have risen consistently every year since the restoration of fish passage to the lower Elwha river– a true testament to the power of wild species to make a full comeback when given the opportunity.

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