On Monday, November 19th, dignitaries and spectators watched as the four bypass tubes of Glen Canyon Dam were opened up to release approximately 42,300 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water.
This “high-flow experimental release” is part of a new long-term protocol designed to benefit downstream resources in both Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon, including camping beaches, sandbars, backwater habitats, riparian vegetation, and archeological sites.
Special guest speakers at the event included Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Michael Connor and Director of the National park Service Jonathan Jarvis.
After the event Secretary Salazar and Director Jarvis addressed 75 students and teachers from local and regional schools who watched from the crest of the dam. Students from Tse’ Yaato High School, Page Middle School, Tuba City Boarding School and BASIS Flagstaff were able to learn firsthand about the science behind these high flow releases. Park education staff and United States Geological Survey researchers presented programs to the students and opened dialogue about the anticipated effects of the increased flow.
The day concluded with a boat tour of Lake Powell for the dignitaries and invited guests. The trip provided great opportunities for tribal representatives, agencies, community partners, and stakeholders to discuss Colorado River management and share concerns as well as successes.