Grand Canyon Flood Creates New Landscape

Management debate continues
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 11:00 AM CDT
Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin pictured on March, 7, 2008. Grand Canyon officials say the effects of a man-made flood were immediate and substantial.    (AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers)
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(Newser) – The manmade flood that washed out part of the Grand Canyon last week has already produced sandbars, which indicate the project was a success, National Park officials tell the AP. The flood was designed to make up for the loss of natural distribution of sediment that accompanied the erection of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. "The benefits are substantial," said the park superintendent.

Beavers and bighorn sheep are checking out the newly created sandbars. "You could see the animals already exploring new aspects of the old canyon,” said the superintendent. Because the dam blocks sediment, the Colorado River is not just clearer but also colder than it was before 1963. Activists say regular flooding is needed, but this year's was only the third, following releases in 1996 and 2004.