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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!
Yes, the resource you speak of being destroyed is our planet.

Page would be a great place to build a new generation nuclear power plant. The transmission lines are already in place. (And, we can mine the uranium a short distance away on the rim of the Grand Canyon.)

The Arkansas River Valley would be another excellent location for a nuc plant. It is centrally located to many urban centers and could serve Albuquerque, the front range and the west slope. At night it could power the pump storage of the Mt Elbert Hydroplant.

I'm actually in favor of a new generation of nuclear reactors. We still have to figure out what to do with spent fuel that no one wants in their back yard. Not even the Nevadans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I agree that they need one along the Arkansas River. Somewhere like Howard would be a perfect choice for a nuclear power plant. 馃槈
Bring it on, I am certainly not an NIMBY
 

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They are still in development...but a few Small Modular Nuclear reactors to replace or supplement some of these dams sounds like a nice way to go. Small enough for a small town, or do a bunch of them for a city. Self contained, not enough material to melt down or have the problems that a large facility might have...and when their usable life is over the plant itself acts as its own long term storage container.

I personally would much prefer a Nuclear plant nearby over a Coal Plant. Current version of Nuclear are hugely expensive, take a long time to build, and have some serious downsides. The SMNR's seem to take a lot of those issues away. Basically the same idea as what would power an Aircraft Carrier but in modular form that could be built at a factory and transported to where they are needed and installed rather then having a decade long construction process like traditional large nuclear facilities are.

 

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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.
I can't say for sure what the reasoning behind this was, but HFE's cost money. The water can be made up for by reducing flows later on, but WAPA loses hydroelectric revenue even if the HFE stays within powerplant capacity because it means they have to sell the power at a lower rate. WAPA has contractual obligations to provide power and with these low reservoir levels and lack of water, they have to buy power from other sources to meet those obligations. Combine that with high electricity costs in California, and CRSP is either running in the red or darn close to it. They have already basically cut off the environmental programs from their share of hydropower funds, but the infrastructure bill that just got sent to Biden seems to have covered things for a few more years.

Bad things are going to happen soon and we need to be ready for it if we want things like functioning ecosystems and recreational use to endure.
 

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SMR's are definitely the ticket for maintaining base load power and stabilizing the grid (frequency and VARS). we are currently seeing a need for rapid expansion in fast acting peaker units (simple cycle) to catch the load during the morning and evening when solar is either coming in or going out. large dams also have the ability to catch this load with their fast ramp rates and multiple generators per dam. I dont see coal coming back into the picture even with its ability to store a years worth of fuel on site. our grid is heavily reliant on our weak gas infrastructure, and with rapidly rising fuel costs I would prepare for rapidly rising energy costs.
the HFE seems to move alot of sand around down there, and enjoying the beaches it creates is amazing. its going to suck when our monthly electricity bill is about the cost of a 2 week grand trip, it will definitely close off a lot of these places to folks on fixed incomes and in lower income brackets. the BOR should keep every bit of water they can behind the dam because its all stored energy at this point, the dam can not spin the generators with the water coming out of the hollow jets. not sure if they participate in any of the markets that sell into California in the summer but some days its upwards of $500 per MW/hr in certain markets, its not uncommon to see $1000 during heatwaves and fires. a few days of hollow jet use equals a few days of reserve power when it could be needed. not to mention the public outcry that would absolutely follow a HFE with record low lake levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
not to mention the public outcry that would absolutely follow a HFE with record low lake levels.
Very few in my estimation that aren't boaters or environmentalists would have any idea that a HFE happened or not, let alone be outraged by it. The fact that they buried their arbitrary decision and kept it out of the media... Well... Most folks are content to live with their heads in the sand and take what's dished out when it comes to dam operations they know nothing about, and the BuRec keeps things quiet and under cover as much as they can. I've seen absolutely nothing about an HFE either happening or not in the media, who is too busy lauding the wonderful job the current administration is doing (barf, choke, repeat) Most I know who have built their McMansions and sprawling cities in the desert are still watering their golfin pastures, still filling their swimming pools, and will until they are forced by mandate to stop, while the farmers and ranchers are taking it in the ass.. But I digress.

It chaps my ass in a royal way that the ecosystem in GC suffers simply cause WAPA (which can kiss my ass as well) wants to make money, contractual obligations or not. Shouldn't have entered into a contract you knew there was a possibility you couldn't keep.. See "Colorado River Compact" as a perfect example of this short sighted thinking.. As long as they keep cutting generation in places that CAN generate electricity, and halfheartedly rely on things like solar and wind, which as you pointed out do nothing in the way of load balancing due to their fluctuating levels of contribution to the grid, well Houston, we have a problem.

There's not one compelling argument that I've heard why the ecosystem can't be maintained at the expense of revenue generation for WAPA. Sorry, I know it's an unrealistic expectation in this day and time, but it's the way I feel. It's mine, and many other's beliefs that the level in Powell will drop to dead pool eventually, if not year after next as they predict, then the year after that unless the weather patterns NOAA and NCAR predict change significantly, and when that happens there won't be any water to conduct a HFE, OR generate power for that matter. What happens then. Dry up GC to save what little inflow occurs in the hopes that they can run the turbines a little? Kill the fish and other indigenous residents of the canyon, bankrupt multiple businesses and shut off access to the boaters cause there's no water ? I'll bet there's a distinct possibility that this has been discussed by the powers that be who are enriched by the damn dam. Destroy an irreplacable national treasure all in the name of money and power generation to serve the air conditioned populace that inhabited the desert. Yep, it's been discussed, I'll bet money on it.

In MY opinion it {HFE} should happen while it can, before the resource suffers any further damage. Mandated HFE's hasn't happened since 2018, so there's 2 years of wear, tear and degradation to mitigate.. The material to rebuild the beaches is there, and will likely lessen with the tides caused my "normal" dam operations to some extent.. Not a Hydrologist by any means, but it makes sense to my little engineering mind, from a total self serving viewpoint. I actually care about GC... Always have.. Likely will to my grave..

Sorry, just venting.. But it's quite piss offing to me.
 

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I think you underestimate the optics to the general public of what a HFE with current lake levels would look like... my points about WAPA and BOR in regards to energy production is not me advocating for anything just to be perfectly clear. Im More looking at it from an energy regulator POV... my understanding is that there is a solid chance they will lose the ability to generate electricity late next summer with current projections.... to replace GCD capacity at even $250/mwh on the wholesale market would cost $8,000,000 a day (that is a very high price compared to current costs but could reflect summer wholesale prices with the continued lose of generation resources, coal, hydro and the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure do to rising fuel costs) Carry this cost out over a month and you can see where this would go.

GCD power plant capacity is about equal to 1 unit at Palo Verde Generation Station (nuclear-powered) or 1.75 of the units at Navajo Generating Station... as you can imagine 3600MW (1320 GCD, 2265 NGS)of electricity going offline will definitely have a huge impact on electrical rates and reliability/stability. Further up the thread someone had mentioned how srp had replaced "its " share of NGS with Gila and Mesquite, it should be noted that both plants were constructed in the early 2000's and were operating already. The loss of NGS as a Generating resource is still felt in the summer, and if GCD goes it really leads down an ugly path for the southwest grid

if they do a HFE, I'm advocating for second week in June for completely selfish reasons...
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I'm advocating for the first 3 weeks of April myself, but,..

Not sure I am underestimating the optics (love that phrasing BTW). If this were happening back in the 70's or 80's, where folks cared about what the country was doing, and the environment was supported more by grass roots types, than the large "We know what's best for you and the environment" orgs such as Sierra Club, think Martin Litton (RIP) flying in his airplane to speak, Edward Abbey (RIP) et al, I think my views would change, but today, it'd be swept under the rug, 15 second snippet on CNN / MSNBC etc if at all.

Perhaps I have a narrower view of the situation, and am more idealistic than many...

In essence Grand Canyon is being sold by WAPA and Burec for 8,000,000 a day give or take.. Again, I don't think the sheeple have any ideal this is happening either, to look at the other side of the coin. All very hush hush, as is demonstrated by the arbitrary decision to again, not hold a HFE... A few stakeholders with vested interests found out about it, but nothing past that and one media article from of all places Las Vegas..

Long read, but I found it interesting, and it made me wonder again for the 100th time why someone hasn't proposed putting a Nuke plant at NGS.

Thanks for your perspective on this as an energy regulator, you've caused me to think in directions I wouldn't normally have gone.

Back on subject though, I found this article,

John Weisheit, a Colorado River guide and longtime advocate, said there鈥檚 no reason not to conduct the flow release this fall. He said the releases don鈥檛 mean hydropower production will cease.
鈥淗ere鈥檚 what it means,鈥 he said. 鈥淕rand Canyon is not important. Our bottom line budget is more important than the Grand Canyon.鈥

With a nod to "upacreek":

The entire article is a good read. It's the ONLY article I was able to find, past the BuRec's typical "glossed over" news release, where they admit that it's contrary to the Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan Record of Decision. (LTEMP). The LTEMP was developed by the Department of the Interior through a public process pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and is based on the best available scientific information developed through the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program and other sources of relevant information.


So, they violate a Record of Decision, created by a NEPA process which was developed thru over 20 years of scientific research and analysis conducted under the GC Adaptive management plan, despite the BuRec's admission that the HFE will not impact the total annual amount of water released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in the water year.

Furthermore,
The decision-making process outlined for HFEs in LTEMP consists of three components:
  1. Planning and budgeting 鈥 to prepare for high flow experimental release, ensure funds are available, and determine if resource conditions are appropriate. The resource conditions evaluated include:
    • Sediment Resources
    • Cultural Resources including archaeological site condition and stability and tribal access
    • Biological Resources including endangered species, the Lees Ferry recreational fishery, and riparian vegetation
    • Hydropower and water delivery
  2. Hydrology and sand budget modeling 鈥 to evaluate the available volume of water and sand primarily delivered by the Paria River, and determine the magnitude and duration of a potential HFE.
  3. Decision and implementation 鈥 Scientists and resource managers make a recommendation to the Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science based on the suitability of the hydrology, sediment, and other resource conditions.
Hmmm, not a whole lot in the LTEMP about revenue generation, but BuRec does include this little snippet about your concerns as an energy regulator in it's FAQ's..

During a high flow release, water goes through both the hydropower units (turbines) and through the bypass tubes. Some water generates power and some water bypasses the power generation. During an HFE, additional power is produced, but later in the year the water that was bypassed is not available to generate power. As a result, additional power will need to be purchased at that time from other energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or renewable energy. The LTEMP HFE decision making process includes appropriate review and planning for all resources, including coordination with the Western Area Power Administration on specific changes to power generation associated with each HFE to ensure a steady supply of power...

From MY perspective in the current day and era, Our current administration is trying to spend upwards of 5 TRILLION dollars on completely pork based social programs in an effort to move the country one step further toward socialism, but spending 112 million to preserve the national treasure Grand Canyon, and violating both NEPA and an ROD to do so is acceptable..

Wow.. Turns my stomach
 
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HFEs only do so much to offset the complete reconstruction of the Canyon ecosystem from warm-turbid-seasonal to cold-clear-stable conditions. The high flows move sediment, but they don't reverse our fundamental alteration of the Canyon's aquatic environment, and thus don't offer a long-term benefit for restoring native species or historic ecosystem function. Native fish need a host of environmental changes to recover including return to a natural Spring-runoff discharge cycle, warmer and more turbid temperatures, and system-wide riverine connectivity (proposed as a major problem for long-migrating Razorback Sucker and Colorado Pikeminnow). The HFEs don't address these problems. The biggest benefit seems to be restoring beaches for boaters along the river corridor. While that's a real tangible benefit for the limited boaters lucky or wealthy enough to run the Grand and provide short-term ecological fixes, it does little to address the systemic conservation issues in the Canyon. Weighing all this uncertainty with the very real and clear legal and financial problems caused by shorting water users in the Colorado River Basin, BOR seems to be making a rational choice.
 

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Been running the Ditch since 1970, perspective based on about 50 trips since 1981 (my first private). HFE's effects are EXTREMELY transitory/short-lived. I've twice seen "restored" beaches gone the next time visited... And I mean on two subsequent trips, not two beaches.

WAPA is NOT a creature that can be attributed to one particular Administration (read its formative history/Congressional "mandate"). And BuWreck does not turn on a dime based on current Administration. No HFE's since 2018 means 3 X under previous "Administration" and this one you can attribute to current - if so inclined.

As for 5 TRILLION DOLLARS "Socialist" spending." Nonsense. The Infrastructure bill just passed comes in less than 1.7 TRILLION over 10 years - less than wasted on Afghanistan and Iraq, if you want to keep honest score. I doubt - and regret - that the social programs proposed in the now-pared down "Build Back Better" bill not yet passed will not come to fruition, but they total WAY less than 2 TRILLION in any event. 1.7 + 2.0 = 3.7 at the most, likely a lot less. Any reliable estimate of the 2017 tax cut is right in that neighborhood. You have any more money in your paycheck because of it?

The Grand is a channelized ditch, has been since the 90's early/2000's. It's a great trip, but anyone who runs it and thinks high teens/low 20's are "big water" has my sympathies. And fluctuations between 6k and 15k are in no way comparable to the "olden times" tides when I went to sleep with bowline around my ankle... Back to my original point, echoing T Brewsevelt above: HFE's are overblown "solutions" that do nothing to affect even in the short-term. Nice if you catch one within a few weeks of your launch, otherwise... BS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Weighing all this uncertainty with the very real and clear legal and financial problems caused by shorting water users in the Colorado River Basin, BOR seems to be making a rational choice.
The HFE's aren't shorting water users at all, just moving the water from one evaporitive impoundment to another.
 
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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
Been running the Ditch since 1970, perspective based on about 50 trips since 1981 (my first private). HFE's effects are EXTREMELY transitory/short-lived. I've twice seen "restored" beaches gone the next time visited... And I mean on two subsequent trips, not two beaches.
Well, others seem to disagree with that, and given that your observations are short of empirical evidence, well.

From the AZcentral article I'm posting below
Controlled floods, officially known as high-flow experiments, are no cure for what ails the Grand Canyon. They temporarily restore beaches, which are then eroded over time by flows that fluctuate to meet water and power demands. Only the next flood can keep them from eroding to critically low levels.
Today, with no flood since 2018, the sandbars and beaches are as low as they鈥檝e been in a decade, and are projected to decline another 10% before next year鈥檚 rafting season. Had the government scheduled a 192-hour flood, the beaches were projected to grow by 75%, and to remain 50% larger after winter erosion.

The Grand is a channelized ditch, has been since the 90's early/2000's. It's a great trip, but anyone who runs it and thinks high teens/low 20's are "big water" has my sympathies. And fluctuations between 6k and 15k are in no way comparable to the "olden times" tides when I went to sleep with bowline around my ankle...
On this I agree, but the occasional 40K release, that's a horse of a different color. Just wish I had been there to experience it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
As for 5 TRILLION DOLLARS "Socialist" spending." Nonsense.
Really Really Really don't want to turn this into a political discussion that belongs in the Eddy where folks can debate GeoRon's nonsense until hell freezes over.
Check the media, and no, I don't mean CNN and MSNBC, if they pass both bills, the total in real dollars, not what you're told, will exceed 5 trillion. Granted over 10 years give or take a couple Billion. The government, more now days, wants to put forth their "creative accounting numbers" than actually deal with the real costs of some of their pork filled spending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
It would seem that it's hitting the media, slowly but surely. Back on topic..

https://gizmodo.com/its-time-to-drain-lake-powell-1848003413

If Dominy had tried to build Glen Canyon Dam today, it would be dead in the water. Not only would it be illogical from a water governance standpoint, it鈥檚 unlikely that it would get through the environmental review process now required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. The mad dam-building of the last century has given way to an era of dam-unbuilding, with most of the nation鈥檚 more than 1,200 dams dismantled in the past two decades and significant removals scheduled.

The time may finally be coming when this will happen

if it did, we wouldn't see stories like this -

https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...water-spare-grand-canyons-beaches/6201263001/

Representatives from several organizations and tribes that participate in the program鈥檚 technical work group complained of the decision and their exclusion from the debate. 鈥淲e were not consulted,鈥 Hopi tribal archaeologist Jakob Maase said. 鈥淐onsultation needs to happen.鈥
鈥淚t seems as though the Grand Canyon Protection Act was not given much weight,鈥 said Peter Bungart, a cultural resources officer for the Hualapai Tribe.
That law鈥檚 mandate for managing the dam in harmony with canyon resources is 鈥渃lear as mud,鈥 according to University of Utah law professor Robert Adler. It first directs the government to release water in a way that protects and restores the natural and recreational resources for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established.
Then it says to do that in a way that鈥檚 consistent with the suite of other laws governing the river鈥檚 water storage and distribution agreements, laws often in conflict with the canyon鈥檚 environmental interests.
鈥淭he Grand Canyon Protection Act is a great exercise in circular logic,鈥 Adler said.
 
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I agree that it should be more then a few people making the decision and that tribal and other organizations that are called out as being part of the working group should definitely be part of the discussions. No matter how you slice it there are MANY different opinions about how this should be done. There really isn't "one right way" to do it...so some compromises need to be made.

I also agree with Justin... the low lake level got a ton of attention this year and I think there is a very real chance for confusion and misinterpretation about doing a high flow event in the same year that they were having to do emergency supplemental releases out of a bunch of different reservoirs upstream. I had a bunch of non-river users who know I am one talk to me about it. Lots of articles and news reports about that. There is no reason I can come up with that those same news sources wouldn't report on the HFE and its hard to say how they'd spin it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
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I've been enjoying the slow return of Glen Canyon by doing nearly week long sea kayak trips on Lake Powell. I did three last year.

I've been a member of the Glen Canyon Institute and will continue to pay my annual dues. I was very impressed by their sponsorship of the returning rapids project and the Dirty Devil takeout analysis. They have many other projects focused on returning Lake Powell to a river. In October we chatted with members of a GCI team at the Bull Frog ramp. They were heading to the San Juan arm area to document the dropping waters and the return of that arms ecosystem to a river.

Point being, I'm sure they would appreciate the political clout of having as many dues paying members as possible. Of course there are other organizations that deserve our support.

Just putting in a recommendation for how to turn our words into action.

 

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Caught one High Flow release, 2008? Was awesome for the ride and to see some new/old beaches. But gone very soon after. My impression is that the issue of beach erosion is due to the tidal nature of releases. If the daily fluctuations were replaced by seasonal fluctuations, a high flow release would have a much bigger impact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Caught one High Flow release, 2008? Was awesome for the ride and to see some new/old beaches. But gone very soon after. My impression is that the issue of beach erosion is due to the tidal nature of releases. If the daily fluctuations were replaced by seasonal fluctuations, a high flow release would have a much bigger impact.
Unfortunatly, the dam is managed by the amount of revenue it can produce, and the needs of the national electrical grid, with apparently no thought, or at least compelling reason to protect the grand canyon ecosystem. The tides are a direct result of load following, and do unfortunatly undo 50% or more depending on who you talk to, of the HFE's in short time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
With a nod to Electric Mayhem, this came across my desk this morning.
A $4B nuclear power plant backed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett is set for construction in Wyoming

https://flip.it/TEs2CO

鈥淭he Natrium reactor is the future of nuclear energy in America. It makes perfect sense to have it in Wyoming, the energy capital of the United States. Wyoming鈥檚 economy will grow from having this groundbreaking technology in our state," U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Our abundant energy sources including coal, oil, natural gas, renewables, and now nuclear power will continue to provide good-paying jobs. Americans across the country will depend on Wyoming energy for decades and decades to come.鈥

So it looks like it's coming to fruition.
 
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