Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Changing Elwha River mouth...in pictures

Many of us have marveled at some of the photography coming out of the Elwha, from people like Tom Roorda and John Gussman (amongst others). Their imagery tells the story of the removal and restoration better than the science in most cases.

But on the science side of the project, photography is being used more and more as a measurement tool, from which all sorts of relevant information can be extracted. On the beach we use images to measure beach grain size. And Andy Ritchie, at Olympic National Park, has worked out a nice method, known as the "PlaneCam", to collect very inexpensive orthoimages, which allow for very precise measurements of landscape features. These images are being used to measure how the river and reservoirs are changing during dam removal, and are also used to assess how the shoreline is changing over time.

Towards that end I compiled a time series of aerial orthimages, both from Andy's set and also anything collected before the dam removal started (these came from a variety of sources, credited in the film), to provide yet another perspective on how the Elwha dam removals are influencing the coastal zone, and specifically the mouth of the river...

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