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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This came across my desk this morning as I'm a member of GCRG, thought it worthy of sharing with the Buzz.


Hello Grand Canyon Stewards and Advocates!

There will NOT be a High Flow Experiment this Fall to restore Grand Canyon beaches. First a few salient facts:

Fact:
High Flow Experiments (HFE) are intended to occur frequently to maintain and improve beaches, sandbars, and associated habitats.

Fact: The last High Flow Experiment conducted in Grand Canyon was in 2018.

Fact: Beaches in Grand Canyon were further eroded by extreme monsoonal events in 2021.

Fact: This season, well over a million metric tons of sediment was deposited into the Colorado River by the Paria, a tributary downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, exceeding the trigger for a potential HFE. This is perhaps the second largest sediment contribution since they've been keeping records.

Fact: HFE's do not affect the total volume of water released in a given Water Year.

Fact: Yet, despite all this, The Glen Canyon Planning/Implementation Team made the decision to NOT conduct a HFE this fall.

Fact: GCRG and other key stakeholders (tribes, recreational, and environmental stakeholders) were shut out of the decision-making process.

How could this be? You can read more about it in these two articles:

The sand is there, but low water levels halt a controlled flood to restore Grand Canyon beaches. (Arizona Republic)

"Dangerous precedent": Feds say no to controlled flood on Colorado River (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

What are we doing about it? You can also read the joint letter (referenced in the first article above) that disenfranchised stakeholders recently sent to Mr. Wayne Pullan, Secretary's Designee for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, regarding our grave concerns about structural deficiencies in the program in regards to lack of inclusion, transparency, and flexibility.

The Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992 states: The Secretary shall operate Glen Canyon Dam... in such a manner as to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established, including, but not limited to natural and cultural resources and visitor use." We care deeply about those values, and we know the American public does too. In this time of prolonged drought and climate crisis, it is more important than ever for ALL stakeholder voices to be heard, valued, and incorporated in the decision-making process.

Stay tuned as we push for these important structural changes and for a HFE this spring. What are the dam flows in the meantime? You can check out the most recent dam flow report here.

Thanks for caring about Grand Canyon and the Colorado River over the long term!
>End of notice from GCRG<<
The Bureau of wreck the nation is at it again, this arbitrary crap needs to stop, apparently there's no reason for this not to happen other than an arbitrary and capricious decision not to have a HFE.. They care so little about anything other than their precious dam, and the cash register that is the hydroelectric aspect. Destroy an ecosystem they have, and seem not to be content until it's completely ruined.

Time to get the cards and letters to your elected officials going.. Not sure that any of them really care, but with enough outcry they may actually do something.

Cheers..
 
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They are desperate to prevent the levels at Powell from dropping so low as to prevent power generation. When they did untimely extra releases a few months ago from impoundments above Powell, they lost a huge future buffer against that -- they bet the farm on having at least a decent spring runoff next year. If Flaming Gorge and others don't get replenished next year, and Powell inflow doesn't dramatically improve, the buffer is gone and so may be power generation at GCD later in 2022.

The rest of this posturing. They couldn't afford the optics of releasing "extra" water in a drought. That is notwithstanding the fact that there are available means of adequately compensating for a short high flow event, while still maintaining Colorado Compact and other obligations for delivery of a certain volume of water to the lower basin.

Of course nobody wants to address the real issue -- continued residential and agricultural growth in a desert region where already stressed water resources are in ever-shorter supply.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They are desperate to prevent the levels at Powell from dropping so low as to prevent power generation. When they did untimely extra releases a few months ago from impoundments above Powell, they lost a huge future buffer against that -- they bet the farm on having at least a decent spring runoff next year. If Flaming Gorge and others don't get replenished next year, and Powell inflow doesn't dramatically improve, the buffer is gone and so may be power generation at GCD later in 2022.

The rest of this posturing. They couldn't afford the optics of releasing "extra" water in a drought. That is notwithstanding the fact that there are available means of adequately compensating for a short high flow event, while still maintaining Colorado Compact and other obligations for delivery of a certain volume of water to the lower basin.

Of course nobody wants to address the real issue -- continued residential and agricultural growth in a desert region where already stressed water resources are in ever-shorter supply.

Rich Phillips
Fact: HFE's do not affect the total volume of water released in a given Water Year. Don't know about this year, but that's what the adaptive management plan prescribes unless my memory fails.
 

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Three cheers for the Bureau Boys and a special rah for Floyd.
 
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If these are FACTS, then please by all means make the sources available, esp if only acting as an honest broker. Anytime I read something clearly designed to lead down a primrose path to outrage but employs obfuscate sources of information and journalism predicated on conjecture (muckraking), I have to first wonder whether it's warranted or a manipulation. Here's where critical thinking is a real skill, as otherwise we become just another fist-shaking rube that lazily jumped to a conclusion because it aligned with personal belief. The former allows for being wrong and a didactic changing of ones mind depending on the evidence, whereas the latter allows no room for facts and outright denies anything to the contrary. Let's also not forget the long history of ginned up controversy and astroturf activism in terms of the GC Management either. Therefore inflaming tensions by citing intrinsic and intractable problems of the West among the realities of a changing climate really only leads to entrenched opinions with no acceptable solutions for anyone. But so it goes with politics these days, as well.

From what I took from a cursory perusal of the available info, is this sediment isn't going anywhere fast and the NPS will be continuing dialog to possibly shift this event to the Spring if possible, which is more in sync with phenology regarding how floods naturally reset aquatic ecosystem structure/function as well as replenish riparian zones with nutrients. Actually I think it would be pretty cool to see a comparative HFE done at a different time to test their hypotheses as well as observe any deviation from prior observations, because that's what science really is...and not just some static prop for stakeholders to hold up when it suits them. But you know, since a lot of people are saying...something must be true and credible, right?
 

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MNichols, I allude to that later down in my comments.

"...notwithstanding the fact that there are available means of adequately compensating for a short high flow event, while still maintaining Colorado Compact and other obligations for delivery of a certain volume of water to the lower basin."

Perhaps too nebulous for your finely tuned engineering mind...

Rich
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If these are FACTS, then please by all means make the sources available. Anytime I read something clearly designed to lead readers down a primrose path to outrage but employs obfuscate sources of information and journalism predicated on conjecture (muckraking), I have to first wonder whether it's warranted or a manipulation. Here's where critical thinking is a real skill, as otherwise we become just another fist-shaking rube that lazily jumped to a conclusion because it aligned with personal belief. The former allows for being wrong and a didactic changing of ones mind depending on the evidence, whereas the latter allows no room for facts and outright denies anything to the contrary. Let's also not forget the long history of ginned up controversy and astroturf activism in terms of the GC Management either. Therefore inflaming tensions by citing intrinsic and intractable problems of the West among the realities of a changing climate really only leads to entrenched opinions with no acceptable solutions for anyone. But so it goes with politics these days, as well.

From what I took from a cursory perusal of the available info, is this sediment isn't going anywhere and the NPS will be continuing dialog to possibly shift this event to the Spring if possible, which actually is more in sync with how floods naturally reset aquatic ecosystem structure/function as well as replenish riparian zones with nutrients. Actually I think it would be a cool to see a comparative HFE done at a different time to test their hypotheses as well as observe any deviation from prior observations, because that's what science really is...and not just some static prop for stakeholders to hold up when it suits them.
The sources are readily available, the LTEMP, the Adaptive management plan and the FEIS are ALL available online, all one has to do is search for them and you can read to your hearts content. Unfortunately, they don't lend themselves to your "cursory perusal" method of reading, to truly understand what they contain. I've at one point or the other read them all, and actually when I was on the board of GCPBA had input to the FEIS with that orginization.

I do agree the the HFE's should be held at differing times of the year to gauge what would be more effective, however as I remember, it would interfere with the fish spawning season, and a couple more things that were I to spend a couple hours researching it, I would likely remember, but at this point in time I do not recall specifics past the fish spawning issue.

This article was more about the issuing of an edict to again, not do a HFE, without any input from any of the stakeholder groups, which as a private boater you are one of those said groups. An arbitrary and capricious decision was made based on nothing that's been made public past the decision not to have one, just a statement that the powers that be at Bureau of wreck the nation said so.

While this sort of decision has become commonplace in government this year, I and many others feel that it at least should have been circulated to the stakeholders for their opinion, especially as there's not been a HFE of any sort since 2018. Not that this would likely have had any change in the decision made.....

I didn't post it for contentious debate, just as an FYI, and if one felt so inclined they should write to their representatives with their opinions about it. Had I wanted contentious debate, complete with some people's attempt to radically politicize it and argue pointless statements ad infinitum, I would have posted it in the Eddy LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MNichols, I allude to that later down in my comments.

"...notwithstanding the fact that there are available means of adequately compensating for a short high flow event, while still maintaining Colorado Compact and other obligations for delivery of a certain volume of water to the lower basin."

Perhaps too nebulous for your finely tuned engineering mind...

Rich
HAHA, yes, I saw that, but as I just noted, for me anyway, and GCRG, the issue is more that nobody asked anyone, they just said, We are God, and we're doing this. Not complying with anything that's been historically agreed and adhered to, enshrined in documents preserved for posterity..
 

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This is the beginning of a problem that is far bigger than beaches and one HFE. Until now, management of the Colorado river system has been based on the presumption that we can meet ESA obligations and begin a restorative process with river ecosystems all while maintaining the status quo in regards to water development and hydroelectric generation.

We now have a new paradigm to consider: How do we manage the river for ecosystem functionality and various user groups while that same system of water development and power generation is actively failing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I find it rather humorous that the power plant just outside of Page has recently been dismantled.........🐴
Coal is bad sayeth the gubbermint, makes one wonder what's gonna power them electrical cars they be a pushing 😜
 
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Coal is bad sayeth the gubbermint, makes one wonder what's gonna power them electrical cars they be a pushing 😜
"According to an SRP spokesperson, the public power entity is primarily replacing its share of NGS' generating capacity with natural gas from the Mesquite and Gila River power plants as well as some additional new solar resources."

 

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Flows have been all over the place for the last year.... 4k followed by 20k... a week of 8k flat flows...overall low flows compared to a few years ago. If they do the HFE...feels like it would have to hold back water before and/or after to make up for it. THAT doesn't seem very natural to me if the goal is to recreate a natural high water event like spring runoff. I'm not expert on this... one would hope that the people making decisions know what they are doing.

I guess my big question is...what nefarious reason could there be for NOT having an HFE? I get that many of the things that would trigger one happened this year... but its also been a year full of scarily low lake levels, drought conditions and fear over it going to deadpool status so it doesn't FEEL like its some secret government organization trying to get one over on us or something...but just continuing the trend of running the fine line between keeping water in the lake and releasing enough for Lake Mead and lower Colorado users and some ecology mixed in.

All this said... I have a early May launch next year... so I'd be totally stoked if they did a HFE during my trip! That sounds like a lot of fun.
 

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The best future for coal power plants is summarized in the photo below. They are bad for the atmosphere, wildlife, rivers, us, our children and the planets future.

I made a lot of money in my youth modeling coal deposits, deposit economics and mine simulations. Coal is nasty shit when you look at its chemical analysis on a day to day basis. Toxic elements best left buried or carbon saved for a day when we find a better use for it than converting it into toxic gases and toxic ash lakes held back by failing dams.

Good buy and good riddance NGS and hopefully all coal power plants. And, in time, all fossil fuels.
Sky Landscape Pollution Event Wood
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I can see them rebuilding the plant when the dam runs out of water........🤔
Plant? The NGS? Extremely likely that the dam will run out of water, despite their best efforts to continue to destroy a resource...

What we need is some nice clean nuclear power!
 
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