Look at that hydrograph. Its been a pretty impressive run of high flow at Elwha over the last week or so.
Since August I've been working with a group of students from Port Angeles to track samples of RFID tagged cobbles over an entire year. Which means that while I'm sitting here in my cofortable office in Santa Cruz they are out for the winter low tides on the Elwha Delta, getting real wet and real cold. So this is the next in what will be an on-going series of thank yous to Russell Means, Dan Brooks and Donna Stanly for braving the PNW winter, all to track some rocks. Science is a funny pursuit that way.
Attached is a photo that Russell shot on the 21st of November, looking west from a vantage point on the east side of the river mouth. You can see just the tiny top of a bar that has grown across the mouth over the last year or two. During most of the summer and fall that bar was a full size island - just to give some sense of what these high flows mean. I'm just conjecturing, but it sure looks like the river channel to the east of that bar has widened over this series of high flows and storms. I think the river is set to shift over to a new channel...
As the Coastal Hazards Specialist for Washington Sea Grant I spend my time on research, education and outreach on topics like chronic erosion, climate change, tsunami and other coastal hazards. Current projects include:
1) monitoring the shoreline of the Elwha River delta to detect changes due to the Elwha Dam Removal
2) Assessing the influence of climate change on the resources of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
3) Evaluating the impact of debris from the Tohoku tsunami on the shorelines of the Olympic Peninsula