Currently the Grand Canyon is experiencing some extremely low water. The Bureau of Reclamation is coinciding some maintenance on Glen Canyon Dam with a spring disturbance flow in the Grand Canyon. The flow is supposed to mimic conditions that happened along the Colorado River pre-dam.
Currently the Lees Ferry river gauge is showing just under 4000 cfs. This low flow is supposed to continue for 5 days. After the 5 days, the river flow is supposed to increase steadily to just over 20,000 cfs. This relatively high flow will last for 82 hours without fluctuations.
What are the Potential Outcomes of this Spring Disturbance Flow?
The hope is that low flow followed by a higher flow will simulate pre-dam conditions. This could result in algae and other organic matter being stirred up. Hopefully the organic matter will lead to a healthier bug and fish population.
Why is this low flow on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon happening?
This low flow will help with needed maintenance on Glen Canyon Dam, as well as advance some research goals in the management of the Colorado River.
How will this affect river trips?
The Grand Canyon rafting trips on the water during the month of March will get to see parts of the Colorado River bed that have not been exposed for decades. Some rapids will get really technical while others will become slow and small. After the disturbance flow is over things will mostly return back to normal. Hopefully the steady 20,000 cfs for 82 hours will put some river bed sand back up on shore and make for some nice camping.
When is this flow happening exactly?
March 15-26, 2021
Who recommended this Spring Disturbance Flow in the Grand Canyon?
The Glen Canyon Dam Planning and Implementation Team