Results of manmade Grand Canyon flood a mixed bag so far |

Results of manmade Grand Canyon flood a mixed bag so far

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

PHOENIX ” Scientists said Monday that a manmade flood in the Grand Canyon created vital sandbars in some areas and eroded them in others.

But, they said, it’s still too early to tell whether the overall result of the flood was beneficial to the canyon’s ecosystem.

The three-day flood conducted in early March was designed to rebuild the canyon’s sandbars, which were nearly entirely eroded away after the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam upstream in 1963.

The sandbars create habitat for plants and animals, provide beaches for campers, and supply sand to protect archaeological resources from erosion and weathering.

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted similar floods in 1996 and in 2004, which resulted in a net reduction in overall sandbar size because they were conducted when the Colorado River was relatively sand-depleted.

Officials hoped this year’s flood would be different because sand levels upstream are at a 10-year high and are three times greater than 2004 levels.

Andrea Alpine, director of the Southwest Biological Science Center, said scientists might be better able to assess the overall results of the flood in late April.

“We are a ways from being able to tell you whether this experiment was a success or not,” she said.

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