World's largest dam removal complete

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World's Largest Dam Removal Is Complete

The world's largest dam removal project is a success.

For the first time in a century, the Elwha River in Washington state is free to take its own course. Construction crews detonated the last section of the Glines Canyon Dam and opened up all 70 miles of the wild waterway.

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The last time the river flowed freely was in 1927. Two dams were built to generate power for a local timber industry among other things. While it successfully did that, it also had a major downside.

Part of the problem was the river's salmon population. There were more than 300,000 salmon traveling through before the two dams were built... after the dams the number dropped to just 3,000. - which devastated the livelihood of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. Then in 2011, the dam removal process began. Now the river is completely dam free.

"This is really a message of hope, in that restoration - putting things back the way they should have been - is possible."

Once the river gets its natural groove back, biologists say all five salmon species native to the river should return.

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