Sunday, March 02, 2008

Experiment to rebuild Grand Canyon beaches starts March 4

More sand is needed to rebuild sandbars along the 277 miles of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon National Park. So, scientists and resource managers from a variety of federal agencies will conduct a high-flow rate release of water from behind Glen Canyon dam to wash sand down the river, starting the evening of March 4. The USGS press release says "The goal of the experiment is to better understand whether higher flows can be used to rebuild eroded beaches downstream of the dam by moving sand accumulated in the riverbed onto sandbars." [above: USGS, Glen Canyon dam]

The Bureau of Reclamation announced approval of the plan to "release water through Glen Canyon Dam's powerplant and bypass tubes to a maximum amount of approximately 41,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) for about 60 hours."

Similar high flow tests were done in 1996 and 2004, but there is three times the amount of sand available now than in 2004, due to high inflow of sediments from tributaries. [left: USGS, 2004 high flow experiment]

Related Podcasts

Opening a Dam to Study and Improve Resources in the Grand Canyon

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1 comment:

  1. This is Dave Hebert from the USGS Office of Communications (and podcast team). Thank you for mentioning CoreCast, and we hope you will continue to tune in to what we offer on other natural science topics!