Title

Evaluating the Reintroduction of Salmon to the Elwha River as a Means of Influencing Sense of Place

Presenter Information

Kelsey Johnson

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams have blocked the Elwha River and, subsequently, salmon runs for nearly one hundred years. The removal of the dams and restoration of the ecosystem is the largest project of its kind in the nation’s history. Despite the monumental nature of the Elwha River Restoration (ERR), little information is available about the cultural implications of this project. Specifically, little attention has been paid to how the return of salmon affects perceptions of the Elwha landscape. Spanning decades and affecting generations, this project has changed and will continue to change the landscape. In using an interpretive methodology to interview key stakeholders, this research evaluated the connections between humans and salmon, and how these connections influenced broader perceptions of the landscape. Accounting for these current, varying connections between people and resources will aid in addressing future restoration challenges. Preliminary analysis indicated that stakeholders assigned meanings and values to salmon. In turn, the reintroduction of this meaningful and valued species to the Elwha River changed peoples’ perceptions of the landscape.

Poster Number

42

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kathleen Barlow, Jennifer Lipton, Hope Amason

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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May 17th, 8:30 AM May 17th, 11:00 AM

Evaluating the Reintroduction of Salmon to the Elwha River as a Means of Influencing Sense of Place

SURC Ballroom A

Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams have blocked the Elwha River and, subsequently, salmon runs for nearly one hundred years. The removal of the dams and restoration of the ecosystem is the largest project of its kind in the nation’s history. Despite the monumental nature of the Elwha River Restoration (ERR), little information is available about the cultural implications of this project. Specifically, little attention has been paid to how the return of salmon affects perceptions of the Elwha landscape. Spanning decades and affecting generations, this project has changed and will continue to change the landscape. In using an interpretive methodology to interview key stakeholders, this research evaluated the connections between humans and salmon, and how these connections influenced broader perceptions of the landscape. Accounting for these current, varying connections between people and resources will aid in addressing future restoration challenges. Preliminary analysis indicated that stakeholders assigned meanings and values to salmon. In turn, the reintroduction of this meaningful and valued species to the Elwha River changed peoples’ perceptions of the landscape.