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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Grand Canyon, Colorado River Flows - October, November, December

10/5/16 Update: GCPBA has learned from Paul Davidson at Glen Canyon Dam that a meeting to discuss planning for a High-Flow Experiment was going to happen today, 10/5.

He said, "It looks like a High Flow will happen." It is "probable and favorable" that Glen Canyon Dam will release a river flow of about 35,000 cfs for 4 days during November.

Many 1,000's of metric tons of sediment have washed down the Paria River into the Colorado, which needs to be redistributed down the river corridor.

A high flow will likely occur starting November 7 or 14 and will last for 5-1/2 days total. The flow would rise to about a 35,000 cfs peak, stay there for 96 hours, then come back down to the level it was at before ramp-up.

The ranger at Lees Ferry, as part of the river orientation talk, will inform boaters who will be on their river trips during the high flow of the high flow details.

Campers at riverside should be very aware of rising and falling water at the beaches where their boats are tied up for the nights.

Boaters should be aware that some rapids will show major differences from what they may have seen before, when the flows were half, or less than half, of what they could encounter during a few days of November.

September 28, 2016 Update:

The release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for October, 2016, will be 600,000 acre-feet. Hourly releases during October, 2016, are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 7,000 cfs in the nighttime and 13,000 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for November, 2016, is 600,000 acre-feet. However, the release volume in November may be modified depending on the size and duration of a High-Flow Experiment, as described in the Environmental Assessment for Development and Implementation of a Protocol for High-Flow Experimental Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, 2011 through 2020.

A fall HFE can be triggered any time during October-November. Our best preliminary data and model runs indicate we now have enough sediment input from the Paria River to trigger an HFE at Glen Canyon Dam under the HFE Protocol. The HFE Technical Team will be meeting to begin planning for a possible HFE and reviewing the status of resources and potential resource impacts.

At this time we do not have a set date for a fall HFE. Further data collection, modeling, and analysis prior to the end of October may modify the expected duration and/or magnitude of a HFE. A final determination on the timing, magnitude and duration of a potential fall 2016 HFE will likely be made near the end of October.

The anticipated release volume for December, 2016, is 900,000 acre-feet. This will be confirmed in a subsequent notification toward the end of October.

Paul Davidson, Hydraulic Engineer, Glen Canyon Dam

Bureau of Reclamation 125 S. State St. Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Ph: 801-524-3642

Posted by GCPBA, Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association | To ensure the ability for all to obtain an opportunity to experience a float trip through the Grand Canyon while protecting the resource.
 

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WEEEE HAAAA... I cannot even imagine that kind of fluctuation while running the canyon. We will be patiently waiting for your report when you finish your trip and come back to the foggy reality of the world Managan!!
 

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I got to run the GC on my permit back in Oct/Nov 2014 and we had the HFE hit us in the afternoon we were hiking up Deer Creek and the Throne Room, thankfully we had 2 people down by the rafts to readjust and re-anchor the rafts. The river rose 4 verticle feet in a few hours and the boats would have washed downstream if they werent there.

I am on a friends trip launching Oct 26th and originally were planning a layover at Racetrack nov 7-8th. obviously we will have to adjust our plans.

here is my experience based on 37.5K Highlights from Deer Creek on down. Doris Rapid became huge offset waves that almost flipped multiple 18ft rafts. Upset Rapid was completely washed out. If you are able to make the move into Matkat, the water backwashes a considerable distance and becomes a surging tidal eddy. (actually was quite cool) The normal access to the trail in Havasu was no longer there. you either need an inflatable kayak or are willing to swim up the creek about 100yards to access the trail. Pumpkin Springs was completely under water, despite the river dropping (at 3:30am at 202 camp.) Diving board rock jump was a bit shorter LOL and finally. the last camp above Pearce was a huge deep mud hole mess. (the river significantly dropped by that point)
 

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We ran Pierce Ferry to South Cove on that last big November flood. Both Pierce and Iceberg canyon were narrowly runnable but the added wood hazard made them very dangerous. Still a worthy permitless high water adventure. At the time the lake level was such that we had current well past sandy point on Lake Mead with amazing, huge sand waves forming that gave up some memorable surfs!


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I don't recommend that trip for anyone not ready for Class V consequences however. Swimming could easily result in extremely bad outcomes down there...


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I got to run the GC on my permit back in Oct/Nov 2014 and we had the HFE hit us in the afternoon we were hiking up Deer Creek and the Throne Room, thankfully we had 2 people down by the rafts to readjust and re-anchor the rafts. The river rose 4 verticle feet in a few hours and the boats would have washed downstream if they werent there.

I am on a friends trip launching Oct 26th and originally were planning a layover at Racetrack nov 7-8th. obviously we will have to adjust our plans.

here is my experience based on 37.5K Highlights from Deer Creek on down. Doris Rapid became huge offset waves that almost flipped multiple 18ft rafts. Upset Rapid was completely washed out. If you are able to make the move into Matkat, the water backwashes a considerable distance and becomes a surging tidal eddy. (actually was quite cool) The normal access to the trail in Havasu was no longer there. you either need an inflatable kayak or are willing to swim up the creek about 100yards to access the trail. Pumpkin Springs was completely under water, despite the river dropping (at 3:30am at 202 camp.) Diving board rock jump was a bit shorter LOL and finally. the last camp above Pearce was a huge deep mud hole mess. (the river significantly dropped by that point)
Nice first post GG. Thanks for the great info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The short update is that there are still a few issues that have to be worked out, but that it is still expected to happen and to start November 7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good news for you lucky boaters who will be in Grand Canyon November 7-12! Here is a high flow update from the Glen Canyon Dam people, dated October 24.

At this time we anticipate that a fall HFE is highly probable. This HFE will be the fourth conducted under the Protocol. If an HFE is to occur, the timing will begin on the morning of November 7th at 6:00 AM, releases from Glen Canyon Dam will be increased up to full power plant capacity (approximately 21,000 cfs). At 9:00 AM on November 7th, bypass tubes at Glen Canyon Dam will be opened, one every hour, and releases will continue to increase up to full power plant and bypass capacity (approximately 36,000 cfs) by midday on November 7th. Releases will be maintained at peak release for 4 days (96 hours) and then begin ramping back down. Releases will return to normal operations in the early morning hours of November 12th.

The entire experiment, including ramping is expected to last nearly 5 full days.

November releases from Glen Canyon Dam prior to and after the HFE are expected to fluctuate between 6,500 cfs and 9,000 cfs. The total release in November, including the HFE, is anticipated to be approximately 744 kaf. The annual release volume from Lake Powell will not change as a result of the HFE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It was officially announced today! From the BuRec folks in Page, at the dam:

High Flow Experiment at Glen Canyon Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation will increase water releases from Glen Canyon Dam beginning on Monday, November 7, 2016 to support a high flow experiment (HFE) in partnership with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey. This high flow experiment will include a peak magnitude release of approximately 36,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) for 96 hours to move accumulated sediment downstream to help rebuild beaches and backwater habitats. The decision to conduct this HFE was made following substantial consultation with Colorado River Basin states, American Indian tribes and involved federal and state agencies.

Reclamation and National Park Service officials remind recreational users to use caution along the Colorado River through Glen and Grand Canyons during the entire week of November 7. Flow level information will be posted at multiple locations in both Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park. Note that it will take several hours following the beginning and end of the HFE for high flow waters to reach and then recede at downstream locations in the canyons.

High flow experiments benefit the Colorado River ecosystem through Glen and Grand Canyons by moving sand in the river channel and re-depositing it in downstream reaches as sandbars and beaches. Those sandbars provide habitat for wildlife, serve as camping beaches for recreationists and supply sand needed to protect archaeological sites. High flows may also create backwater areas used by young native fishes, particularly the endangered humpback chub.

The HFE will not change the total annual amount of water released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. Releases later in the water year will be adjusted to compensate for the high volume released during this high flow experiment.

Members of the media who wish to view the high flow experiment should contact Marlon Duke at 385-228-4845 or [email protected].

Additional information about this high flow experiment will be posted and updated online at: Adaptive Management Program | UC Region | Bureau of Reclamation.
 
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