Facebook Twitter

Man-made flood sent into Grand Canyon

SHARE Man-made flood sent into Grand Canyon

The floodgates have been opened at Glen Canyon Dam, sending a cascade of water into the Grand Canyon to restore beaches along the Colorado River.

"We are now at full speed, and everything is running fine," U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Barry Wirth said Monday afternoon. "Hopefully, we're making beaches."The man-made flood is smaller than a similar one in the spring of 1996 but has the same purpose - stirring up sediment and replacing beaches and sandbars that have eroded under the steady trickle of water released by the Glen Canyon Dam, which is upstream of the Grand Canyon.

Some of the sand and sediment stirred up by the 1996 flood has washed away again, and heavy spring rains this year brought more than a million tons of sediment into the canyon just below the dam. Officials wanted to flood the canyon and create new beaches and sandbars before all of that new sediment washed downstream into Lake Mead.

The Glen Canyon Dam normally keeps the river's flow at around 20,000 cubic feet per second, but the dam will pour about 31,000 cfs of water into the river until Wednesday, Wirth said. The 1996 flood sent 45,000 cfs into the Colorado River for a week, using not only the floodgates but the dam's four bypass tubes.