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Feds release flood in Grand Canyon

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PAGE, Ariz. - The federal government began a manmade flood Wednesday to help restore the Grand Canyon's ecosystem, shooting two arcs of water from the base of the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona.


Before the dam was built in 1963, the Colorado River was warm and muddy, and natural flooding built up sandbars that are essential to native plant and fish species. The river is now cool and clear, its sediment blocked by the dam.The change helped speed the extinction of four fish species and push two others, including the endangered humpback chub, near the edge.


First artificial flood in '96

In 1996, the government staged the first artificial flood in the canyon, opening Glen Canyon Dam's bypass tubes for several days in an attempt to replicate natural cycles. The second test in 2004 taught scientists the importance of sand and sediment.

The dam traps almost all the sediment that once flowed down the river, which is why beaches and habitats have eroded. A good monsoon season can wash significant quantities of sand down the Paria and Little Colorado rivers, which empty into the big Colorado below the dam.

The flood will scour and reshape miles of sandy banks on the floor of the Grand Canyon.

What scientists and environmentalists want to see is what will happen to the fish and the canyon when the gates close at dam and the staged flood recedes.


Environmental groups argue that the flood again delays long-term changes to the river's management, further jeopardizing the canyon's health. They want federal officials to permanently alter the dam's operation instead of repeating the same test, adopting a seasonally adjusted plan that better mimics nature.Nikolai Lash, senior program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, a group that has long fought the government over its management of the dam, said the flood was hastily planned after the trust sued the government last year for failing to protect the river.

I'm sure it will do some good for the canyon but the activists are right. Ya can't just "test" something 3 times and call it a solution -_-; If ya gotta feed the canyon on a regular basis cuz yer fuckin damn has blocked the river so be it. Fuckin deal with it. Show some innovation and responsibility.


                                               Look at the flowers

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