Spring Street’s speaker series wraps up Thursday

Posted April 20, 2022 at 7:15 pm by

Spring Street Inter­na­tion­al School’s vir­tu­al spring speak­er series wraps up this Thurs­day, April 21 at 6 p.m. with a pre­sen­ta­tion on the restora­tion of the Elwha Riv­er by Eric Kessler, local pho­tog­ra­ph­er and past Spring Street fac­ul­ty member.

Eric describes the pre­sen­ta­tion this way:

On Sep­tem­ber 17, 2011 the first chunk of hun­dred year old cement was removed from the Elwha Dam. It was just one sig­nif­i­cant bench­mark in the lengthy and elab­o­rate process of restor­ing the Elwha Riv­er back to a pris­tine state. Days after the riv­er ran free again, anadro­mous fish that had called the riv­er their home since the end of the last ice age began repop­u­lat­ing the watershed.

This pre­sen­ta­tion offers a broad overview and update of the eco­log­i­cal, cul­tur­al, and polit­i­cal issues sur­round­ing the largest project of its kind to date in the U.S. An amaz­ing col­lage of cir­cum­stances, span­ning four pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tions and 18 Con­gres­sion­al appro­pri­a­tions bills, came togeth­er allow­ing this land­mark event to hap­pen. The restora­tion has played out on mul­ti­ple lev­els. Re-estab­lish­ing the salmon runs and renew­ing the flow of nutri­ents to streams and forests have ben­e­fit­ted the Elwha ecosys­tem. Redress­ing the treaty oblig­a­tions between the state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments and about 40 tribes around Puget Sound have ben­e­fit­ted the Low­er Elwha’s Klal­lam peo­ple. Rec­ti­fy­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s decades-long neglect of fish pas­sage reg­u­la­tions and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion on the Elwha have restored the trust of citizens.

Each of these threads has a fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry, but the big pic­ture — the mag­ni­tude of what’s hap­pen­ing on the riv­er and all the lev­els on which wrongs are being cor­rect­ed — is even more pow­er­ful. More­over, the Elwha rep­re­sents a tem­plate for oth­er dam riv­er removals and restora­tion efforts around the country.

Advance reg­is­tra­tion is required to receive the Zoom link for the April 21 pre­sen­ta­tion.

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