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Feds To Simulate Flood Through Grand Canyon

In May Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved two high flows a year through 2020.
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Above: In May Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved two high flows a year through 2020.

Audio

Aired 11/9/12

The federal government will release torrents of water from the Glen Canyon Dam November 19. The simulated flood will be the first in a regular series of experiments to send sediment down the Colorado River. The idea is to rebuild beaches and habitats in the Grand Canyon.

— On November 19th, the federal government will release torrents of water from the Glen Canyon Dam. The simulated flood will be the first in a regular series of experiments to send sediment down the Colorado River. The idea is to rebuild beaches and habitats in the Grand Canyon.

The release is part of a new long-term plan announced last spring by the Interior Secretary.

Jan Balsom, the deputy chief of science and resource management at Grand Canyon National Park, said scientists have worked for years to try to return the canyon to pre-dam conditions.

"We have some great science that’s led us to this point to say if indeed we can do this on a regular basis that we may be able to restore some of those processes and habitats we’ve been losing over the years," Balsom said.

At its peak the river’s flow will reach 42,000 cubic feet per second — about four times as fast as the river is running now.

Balsom said the park and other agencies have worked with utilities to make sure the experiments don’t affect hydroelectric power or water supply.

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