Upper Colorado Regional Office
Media Contact: Doug Hendrix Dennis Kubly
(801) 524-3837 (801) 524-3715
Release Date: February 8, 2008
Reclamation Releases Environmental Assessment for Public Comment on Proposed High-Flow and Steady Flow Experiment on the Colorado River
Salt Lake City, UT - The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation today released for public comment an Environmental Assessment that describes a proposed early-March 2008 high-flow test and fall steady flow experiment from Glen Canyon Dam downstream through the Grand Canyon. Comments will be due by close of business February 22, 2008.
"Reclamation continues to support the application of science and adaptive management to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam and the management of natural resources in Glen and Grand Canyon," Reclamation Commissioner Robert W. Johnson said in announcing the availability of the Environmental Assessment. "Experiments such as the proposed high-flow and fall steady flow continue to advance our understanding of the ecosystem while providing tangible benefits to the fishery, river environment, and recreational users in Grand Canyon National Park."
The environmental assessment evaluates the impact of the proposed test on a wide range of environmental and socioeconomic resources. A decision by the Department of the Interior is anticipated in late February 2008, with plans to conduct the high flow in early March 2008, if the decision is to move forward with the experiment.
The high-flow experiment and associated research activities, should they occur, will be undertaken cooperatively by scientists and resource managers from Interiorís U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The 2008 test would be similar to the previous high-flow tests conducted in 1996 and 2004, but the amount of sediment available is considerably larger. In particular, scientists have concluded that more sand is needed to rebuild sandbars throughout the 277-mile reach of Grand Canyon National Park than was available in 1996 or 2004. Currently, sand supplies in the river are at a 10-year high with a volume about three times greater than in 2004 due to tributary inflows below the dam over the past 16 months.
The Environmental Assessment is available for public review on the Internet by following the link at Environmental Assessment - Experimental Releases from Glen Canyon Dam
or by contacting Dennis Kubly, Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Regional Office, 125 S. State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84138, and by telephone at (801) 524-3715.
Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at Bureau of Reclamation Homepage