Grand Canyon Flooding Worked—for Now
New sandbars created, but for how long?
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2013 8:20 AM CST
In a Wednesday, March 5, 2008 file photo, water flows from the number one and two jet tubes at the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Ariz. to mimic natural flooding.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(Newser) – Scientists have declared November's experimental man-made flood of the Grand Canyon a success—at least for now. The endeavor, which saw researchers pump up the flow of water through the Glen Canyon Dam from its usual 8,000 cubic feet per second to 42,300 for 24 hours, appears to have done what it was supposed to do: create new sandbars, campsites, and fish habitats, the Arizona Republic reports. More than half the beaches and sandbars the team was monitoring grew substantially, with some nearly doubling in size.

But the looming question is how long the effects will last. "Every time we do a flood, it builds sandbars," says one research hydrologist. "And they tend to erode in the six months to a year following the floods." Overall sandbar buildup has been on a downward trend for years, in part because the dam blocks the Colorado River's sediment flow. Some believe frequent flooding is required, while others call for even more drastic measures, like transporting sand around the dam—or breaching it altogether.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Feb 3, 2013 6:57 AM CST
Hope it works!
Feb 1, 2013 5:42 PM CST
I have a fever, and the only cure is more sandbars.
Jan 27, 2013 3:14 PM CST
I fish the Colorado at Lee's Ferry, 15 miles from Glen Canyon Dam. No wonder the fishing sucks. The last time my son and I fished it, all we got were little stockers....some years back, there were some real honkers in there that made the trip worth it. Even at 8,000 cubic feet per second, we played hell returning 15 miles from Glen Canyon Dam back to our point of launch at Lee's Ferry....the Grand Canyon walls serve as a wind tunnel, waters at 40 degrees with the river currents so strong they nearly sink become soaking wet. Truly a survival game. Imagine how the waves were with the current 5 times greater. No one can survive it. What fish would survive 42,300 cubic feet of pressure per second? The fish didn't die....they are down the river across the Grand Canyon and into Lake Mead. The real reason for the flooding would be to make amends with Mexico for stealing all of the Colorado River water before it gets to Mexico....Just last month, it was announced that Lake Mead will be water storage for Mexico. ...."And the truth shall set you Free"! Arizona Wildlife and Fish better stock Lee's Ferry with some good size trout....I might have to go fishing in Lake Mead. The lake that is held back by Hoover Dam....Who the hect wants to go fishing in a lake as big as Mead with over 500 miles of lakeshore. 1942