By Associated Press
Published: July 11

SEATTLE — Scientists knew ocean-going fish would eventually return to the Elwha River on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, once two massive concrete dams were torn down. They just didn’t think it would happen so soon.

Biologists tracking fish in a tributary of the Elwha last month spotted wild steelhead that likely made it on their own past the site where the Elwha Dam stood for nearly a century — before it was dismantled in March as part of the nation’s largest dam removal project.

“We’re wildly excited,” said Mike McHenry, fish habitat manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. “It just confirms what we have known all along — that these fish are quite capable of recolonizing the Elwha once we get the dams out of the way.”

Read more: Fish begin return to Washington’s Elwha River