Click the link to read the article on the KNAU website (Melissa Sevigny). Here’s an excerpt:
In the autumn of 2012, a flood swept through the Grand Canyon. Not one provided by nature, but by the engineers who cranked open the bypass tubes at the base of Glen Canyon Dam. It was the start of a program heralded by many as a triumph. Fall floods happened again in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018.
“And then,” says hydrologist Paul Grams, “we hit these drought conditions.”
The program is in trouble. Lake Powell is three quarters empty and just 40 feet above the level where hydropower production stops. It’s risky now to release floods.
“So we have a condition now, where it’s been four years since the last high flow and the sandbars have eroded a lot,” Grams explains…
Chapman says the beaches are vital: they create backwaters for native fish and habitat for plants and animals. And for more than 20,000 river runners in the Grand Canyon every year, Chapman says, “The sandbars themselves are the only durable, nonfragile environment that everyone can camp on; you don’t have to go bushwacking to find a place to camp.” Some scientists want to save the program by switching floods to spring, when snowmelt bolsters Lake Powell’s level. That could help balance the need for floods with the demand for hydropower.