On March 5, 2008, the Secretary of the Interior pulled the levers at Glen Canyon Dam to release high flows into the stretch of the Colorado River that runs through the 277-mile length of Grand Canyon National Park. In an attempt to distribute sediment from the channel up on to shorelines where it could benefit campers, archaeologic sites, animals, and plants, water was released through Glen Canyon Dam's powerplant and bypass tubes to a maximum amount of approximately 41,500 cubic feet per second for about 60 hours. The experiment was designed “to enhance the habitat in the canyon and its wildlife, and learn more about these complex natural systems,” said Secretary Kempthorne in remarks he made before opening the dam’s jet tubes.
The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center worked with other Department of the Interior bureaus, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Northern Arizona University, Utah State University, the University of Wyoming, Idaho State University, Loyola University, Chicago, and other cooperators to conduct a range of research activities to investigate and document potential responses of physical, biological, and cultural resources to the experimental high flow. USGS scientists and their cooperators published high-flow research findings beginning in early 2010.
The 2008 high-flow experiment was a cooperative effort among Department of the Interior bureaus, including the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and USGS.
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