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Environment: A river restored?

Federal water managers simulate flooding flows in Colorado River

Bypass valves open to release a huge surge of water into the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. Photo courtesy Bureau of Reclamation.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Water may be in short supply in the West this year, but that didn’t stop federal officials from cranking open the valves of Glen Canyon Dam to unleash what’s  unromantically being called a high-flow experimental release. The release won’t change the overall water balance in the Colorado River system, as adjustments are made at other times.

The five-day high-flow regime will lower Lake Powell by up to 2.5 feet in just a few days and send more than 42,000 acre feet of water surging through Glen, Marble and the Grand Canyon before it ends up Lake Mead. A detailed FAQ is online here.

This year’s release is the first since 2008 and is intended to rebuild depleted sandbars and beaches. Under the concept of high flow experimental releases, sand stored in the river channel is picked up by high-volume water releases from the dam and re-deposited in downstream reaches as sandbars and beaches. Continue reading

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