Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Feds begin high-flow releases from Glen Canyon
Federal water mangers and scientists Monday began ratcheting up releases from Glen Canyon Dam as part of a five-day experiment to push sediments down the Colorado River in hopes of restoring sandbars that play a vital ecological role in the river channel. This week’s high-flow releases, designed to mimic the pre-dam natural flooding, mark "an historic milestone" for river management, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The federal Bureau of Reclamation began experimenting with high flows in 1996; this week’s event is only the fourth experiment. The others occurred in 2004 and 2008. But the frequency of future releases will increase — to the delight of conservationists — under protocols Salazar announced in May. "We have been pitching Interior for years to do these as often as the sediment in the system warrants. They rejuvenate all the sediment-related resources," said Nikolai Lash, a program manager with the Grand Canyon Trust. Under the new protocols, high-flow releases are expected to occur as often as once or twice a year, depending on the accumulation of downstream sediments...more
I didn't realize the drought was over.