SIt was like Christmas in July. Each time we checked our pitfall traps, we never knew what was lurking in them. Because of the recent removal of the Elwha Dam and the subsequent drainage of Lake Aldwell, we choose to do an investigation to discover which insects would be found at different locations at a particular site along the Elwha River. We thought it would be fascinating to also see which insects preferred which habitats. The sediment level has increased so much in the past year that we thought that a project dealing with the new build-up of sediment would certainly fit into the trending topic right now.
Did you know that log jams make habitat for salmon, vegetation and other organisms? Aquatic log jams are those woody debris piles that provide habitat for life in the water. Some log jams don’t have to touch the water at all. These terrestrial log jams are upslope from the river and provide habitat for plants and other wildlife.
Have you ever thought it would be interesting to look back in time? Well it’s not too hard to accomplish. All you need is Google Earth.
Our group set out on a mission: to find out how and where the removal of the Elwha dams physically affected the river. Using Google Earth, we mapped out six different locations along the Elwha River. Each point showed immediately visible changes between 2009 and 2012 (before and during the dam removal process). These locations showed differences in the stream pattern before and after the dams were removed.