Artificial flood seeks to right environmental wrong

Published: Monday, Nov. 19 2012 9:48 p.m. MST

"We're providing greater protection for downstream resources in one of the crown jewels in our national park system," said Anne Castle, Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Interior. "And we're doing that while continuing to provide water and power to all of our fellow citizens that live in the west."

There are battles yet to come, however.

The beneficial effects of the three previous floods washed away in a matter of months, according to Nimkin, because of the way the dam operates year-round.

"The standard way that water is released washes that all away," he said.

Nimkin said there may have to be changes in the daily operations of the dam to reduce its flushing effects on the Grand Canyon.

Schmidt agrees that this week's flood will not put the controversies to rest.

"There are huge amounts of decisions yet ahead," he said.

Government officials say this week's flood won't affect the level of Lake Powell in the long run. The lake's surface will drop about 2 feet this week, but officials plan to make adjustments later to cancel that out.

E-mail: hollenhorst@desnews.com

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