Artificial flood released on Colorado River. Effort promoted as renewing Grand Canyon ecosystem.

A 60-hour flood of water is being released from Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River in what is supposed to be renewal of the Grand Canyon’s dwindling sandbars, beaches, vegetation, and habitat for rare and endangered fish.

This is the third time such a flood has been created since the giant dam and reservoir was built in the 1960s. The project turned the warm, silt-laden Colorado into a cold and clear river that eroded away the beaches and backwaters during the artificial daily rhythm of generating hydropower.

It was felt that major releases of water every so often would mimic the floods that now longer occured and restore the river, but many who were once-hopeful say the floods have failed because they are too rare and not big enough. Others say no manipulation can restore the river from a dam that should have never been built.

Nevertheless, Secretary of Interior Dirk Kemphthorne is making a big show of the big release of water.

Questions on Grand Canyon ‘Blow Out’, By Mike Nizza. New York Times.



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  1. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    Kempton is only worried about electricity being low (less money in someones pocket that day) But, being a Arizonan it was proved that after the first flood they did really did not help at all. Actually after some time it made it worse. The sand would not stay put cause it never had time to “settle permanent” like the natural way, killed alot of new plant growth, and the fish are still dying. No idea what to do, except realize that Humans need for water and creating dams has done its damage and always will…..

  2. mikarooni Avatar

    Two facts to consider are 1) Lake Mead is very low and 2) there is proportionately far less evaporation loss when water is sent down from reservoir to reservoir is a large flood over a short period than as a smaller steady stream over a longer period. I personally am not sure how much of this “artificial flood” is really intended to rebuild anything in the canyon and how much of it is driven by the two facts above.


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Ralph Maughan