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Finding the River

An Environmental History of the Elwha

Jeff Crane

6 × 9 inches. Black & white photographs. Maps. Index. 256 pages.

2011. ISBN 978-0-87071-607-2. Paperback, $24.95.

In 1992 landmark federal legislation called for the removal of two dams from the Elwha River to restore salmon runs. Jeff Crane dives into the debate over development and ecological preservation in Finding the River, presenting a long-term environmental and human history of the river as well as a unique look at river reconstruction.

Finding the River examines the ways that different communities—from the Lower Elwha Klallam Indians to current-day residents—have used the river and its resources, giving close attention to the harnessing of the Elwha for hydroelectric production and the resulting decline of its fisheries. Crane describes efforts begun in the 1980s to remove the dams and restore the salmon. He explores the rise of a river restoration movement in the late twentieth century and the roles that free-flowing rivers could play in preserving salmon as climate change presents another set of threats to these endangered fish.

A significant and timely contribution to American Western and environmental history—removal of the two Elwha River dams began in September 2011—Finding the River will be of interest to historians, environmentalists, and fisheries biologists, as well as to general readers interested in the Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula, and environmental issues.

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