Wednesday, May 31, 2017

East of the Elwha

As noted in the previous post, the rapid growth of the Elwha Delta following dam removal appears to have slowed. But during the past year or two, this eastern beach has grown rapidly as a result of a huge influx of sandy material. In places the beach has grown outward many tens of meters - with a steep cobble beach being replaced by a much broader sandier one.


Beach Lake refers to the lagoon, probably associated with an old channel of the river, that had been trapped behind the historic berm but that had been narrowed and breached by the rapidly retreating beach. Decades ago, a significant portion of this reach had been armored and this riprap was left in a broad arc on the beach face as the shoreline continued to erode.There was also at least one groin-like structure. All of these were recently removed by the Coastal Watersheds Institute and this, combined with the fresh sediment from the delta, has resulted in a much renewed beach.

The upland structures are slated to be removed. The plan is that this will become a public access - to a wonderful stretch of beach and to a highly regarded local surf break.

There is still one last stretch of rock and decayed timber bulkhead at the very eastern edge of the delta. As the beach has retreated, this rock has projected farther and farther onto the beach and looks like it may be exacerbating erosion at its eastern end. If it could be removed, the beach would be completely unarmored and unimpeded from the river mouth all the way to the Dry Creek (next post).

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