Living Rivers - Colorado Riverkeeper
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Drought Watch...It's not a matter of if, but when.
The End of Lake Powell Campaign
Analysis of Draining Lake Powell [PDF file]
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Summary
Why was Glen Canyon Dam Built?
What lies under "Lake Powell"?
Historic opposition to Glen Canyon Dam
What about hydroelectric loss?
What about the water supply?
What about the sediment?
Why are people concerned about dam safety?
What about the recreation economy?
Dam safety concerns
Decommissoning timetable/costs

How long will it take and what will it cost?

Within a decade of draining the reservoir it is anticipated that Glen Canyon's magnificence will again begin to manifest itself. In the side canyons, this will occur more quickly, as sediment flushing and plant regeneration occur almost immediately. Within and around the main channel, where extensive sediment deposition has occurred, more human assistance will likely be necessary to facilitate the process. No one expects the Glen to again look exactly as it once did, evolution itself ensures this never occurs, but experience gained on smaller river restoration projects has revealed that habitat not only can regenerate itself, but often does so much faster than scientists predict.

The actual cost will be more a factor of how much we would like to help the natural process along. The federal government is currently allocating nearly $9 billion to restore a riverine ecosystem critical to the Florida Everglades that was destroyed by development projects built by the Army Corps of Engineers, thus developing the political support to secure such resources is far from unprecedented.

As for the reservoir's "bathtub ring," rain and other natural forces will erode that back to its original color.

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Last Update: July 20, 2004

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Living Rivers    PO Box 466     Moab, UT 84532     435.259.1063     info@livingrivers.org