Contest Launches to “Re-Engineer” Glen Canyon Dam, Rewild the #ColoradoRiver — Rewilding the Colorado River #COriver #aridification

Glen Canyon Dam

Here’s the release from

OPEN DATE: February 7, 2022 1:00 PM MDT


CONTEST PRIZE: $4,000 (and counting)

Climate change and overuse of Colorado River water have brought the levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead to historic lows. As stakeholders of the Colorado River Basin rush to find solutions to address the western water crisis, calls to phase out Lake Powell reservoir have grown louder. With Lake Powell at 27% of its storage capacity, and downstream Lake Mead at 30% capacity, there is no longer enough water to fill either reservoir, and the intended purpose of Glen Canyon Dam, to store excess water, is significantly less applicable to today’s hydrology as well as all future predictions of hydrology.

Re-engineering Glen Canyon Dam to reconnect the Colorado River through Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon could have vast benefits to the ecosystems of Glen and Grand Canyons. Further, alternatives to Colorado River management that no longer rely on, or use, Lake Powell could negate the need to make large leases or purchases of farm water in the Upper or Lower Basin simply to try and save Lake Powell.

The “Rewilding the Colorado River Contest” is seeking engineering alternatives for Glen Canyon Dam that would allow for a “run of river” regime through or around Glen Canyon Dam with consideration to:

  • cost effectiveness
  • public safety
  • sediment flow
  • recreation
  • possible hydropower production
  • fish migration upstream and downstream
  • habitat restoration in Glen and Grand Canyons.
  • The contest seeks white paper proposals (no more than 20 pages) that describe a technical approach, including cost estimates and drawings, to these challenges. The contest is open to engineering students and engineering companies across the U.S.

    The Rewilding Contest is sponsored by:

  • Tick Segerblom, Clark County Commissioner, Nevada
  • Daniel P. Beard, former Commissioner U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • John Fielder, Nature Photographer
  • Save the Colorado
  • Glen Canyon Institute
  • Great Basin Water Network
  • Living Rivers
  • Judges will be up to 3 engineering professors and/or ecological specialists with skill and expertise in the issue.

    Winners will be announced at the Dec. 2022 Colorado River Water Users Association Conference.

    Relevant Glen Canyon Dam Design Documents below (linked for download):

    Glen Canyon Dam (fact sheet)

  • 1961 – Design features of Glen Canyon Dam. Bureau of Reclamation.
  • 1970 – Glen Canyon Dam technical record of design and construction. (searchable doc); Chronology; Intro; Geology; Foundation; Dam; Spillways; River Outlets; Penstocks; Powerplant; Switchyard; Visitor Center; Consruction, Appendix. Bureau of Reclamation.
  • 1975 – Scientific information in the decisicion to dam Glen Canyon. Lake Powell Research Project Bulletin #9.
  • Email proposals as one pdf to:

    Brad Udall: Here’s the latest version of my 4-Panel plot thru Water Year (Oct-Sep) of 2021 of the Colorado River big reservoirs, natural flows, precipitation, and temperature. Data (PRISM) goes back or 1906 (or 1935 for reservoirs.) This updates previous work with

    Leave a Reply