Power is no longer everything

  • Glen Canyon Dam

    F.S. Finch/Bureau of Reclamation
  Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt signed a historic record of decision Oct. 9 that aims to protect the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. The new rule calls for regulating flow rates from Glen Canyon Dam to minimize erosion and unnatural water-level fluctuations, and it makes Glen Canyon the first hydroelectric dam mandated to generate power under environmental criteria.

Babbitt also released the results of the experimental flood from the dam during March 1995. The flooding was intended to mimic natural patterns of the river in Grand Canyon and restore habitat below the dam. According to the report, the experiment successfully rebuilt sandbanks along the river, created 82 new beaches and dredged out backwater habitats for native endangered fish. While it also widened several major rapids, the flooding did not damage trout populations or the canyon's cultural artifacts.

For more information on the record of decision or for a copy of the scientific report, contact Paul Bledsoe at the Interior Department, Bureau of Reclamation, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240 (202/208-4662).

*Katie Fesus

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