News Release Archive

Experimental High-Flow Release from Glen Canyon Dam Benefits Important Physical and Biological Resources While Maintaining Water Responsibilities

Media Contact: Matthew Allen, (801) 524-3774, 11/10/2014 14:14

For Release: November 10, 2014

PAGE, Ariz. – The Department of the Interior initiated its third high-flow release from Glen Canyon Dam today under an innovative science-based experimental protocol. The goal of the releases is to help restore the environment by creating flood-like conditions below Glen Canyon Dam, which rebuild sandbars that are important habitat and recreational resources.

During the 2014 high-flow experiment, or HFE, high volumes of water will be released through Glen Canyon Dam’s powerplant and four outlet tubes. The duration of the peak release of approximately 37,500 cubic-feet-per-second will be 96 hours. The annual release volume from Lake Powell will not change as a result of the 2014 HFE, no additional water will be released.

“Dams have impacts, but as we have learned over the last 50 years, we can operate Glen Canyon Dam in ways that both meet our demands for water and hydropower, but also achieve our goals for natural resources and recreation,” said Deputy Commissioner for Operations Lowell Pimley.

Similar experimental releases have been conducted over the years. The releases include continued scientific research, monitoring, and data collecting along the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead, while continuing to meet water delivery and hydropower needs. These successful experiments were the result of extensive collaboration among various agencies of the Department of the Interior, including the U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as the Colorado River Basin States.

The HFE protocol is part of the Department’s efforts to improve conservation of limited sediment resources in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. It is intended to improve understanding of how to better distribute sediment to conserve downstream environmental resources by allowing for multiple high-flow tests through 2020, while still meeting needs for water delivery and hydropower generation.

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Relevant Link:

Glen Canyon Dam 2014 High Flow Experimental Release