07-13-2013 Ian Miller: Field trip—Elwha river & delta

About the Field Trip

Ian Miller will present a field trip to the Elwha River to see the effects of the first major dam removal in the U.S. This trip follows on from his January 12, 2013, Geology Lecture on Coastal Response to Dam Removals on the Elwha River: Present and Future. Ian’s talk will provide a “status report” on how the coastal zone is responding to the removal of the dams and rapid erosion of sediment impounded behind them.

For nearly a century, two dams on the Elwha River disrupted the flow of sediment from the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, contributing to the erosion of the Elwha River delta just west of Port Angeles and altering coastal habitat both to east and west. Removal of these dams was completed last fall, and now the river is free to flow its natural course. Already, salmon have returned to the river and are starting to spawn. Researchers from a variety of state and federal government agencies are tracking how the river’s ecosystem responds with millions of tons of sediment make there way north to the coast.

About the Speaker

Dr. Miller focuses his research, education, and outreach on natural coastal hazards on the Olympic Peninsula, including impacts of climate change, tsunamis, and chronic erosion. He has a bachelor’s degree in marine ecology from Western Washington University and earned his doctorate in oceanography from the University of California—Santa Cruz in 2011.

The trip will finish with a complimentary wine tasting at Camaraderie Vineyards (Don Corson; Owner, winemaker, geographer, and rock hound).