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EIS comments sought for experimental operation of 1,312-MW Glen Canyon

PAGE, Ariz., U.S. 12/9/11 (PennWell) -- The public has until Jan. 31, 2012, to comment on preparation of an environmental impact statement for experimental operation and management of 1,312-MW Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River near Page.

The EIS, by the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service, is to study the adoption of a Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan for the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam. The long-term plan is to address routine operations as well as experimental flows that provide additional scientific information about how to protect endangered fish and lessen effects of dam operation on downstream ecology and other resources in the Grand Canyon.

Results of three high-flow experiments conducted at Glen Canyon were documented recently in Effects of Three High-Flow Experiments on the Colorado River Ecosystem Downstream from Glen Canyon Dam. The Interior Department conducted high-flow releases at Glen Canyon in March 2008, November 2004, and March 1996.

High-flow events increase both sandbar area and volume when they are conducted soon after "new" sand has been supplied to the system by flooding from downstream tributaries. The sandbars provide habitat for wildlife, serve as camping beaches for recreationists, and supply sand that may preserve vegetation and help protect archaeological sites. High flows also create areas of low-velocity flow used by young native fish.

The long-term plan is to ensure that regulated flows on the Colorado River meet the goals of supplying hydroelectricity and water for communities, agriculture, and industry at the same time as they protect the ecologies of the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon. Work on the new plan is the first comprehensive review of Glen Canyon Dam operations in 15 years.

Information on the EIS process may be obtained from the project Internet site at http://ltempeis.anl.gov. Comments may be submitted on the website or by mail to Glen Canyon LTEMP EIS Scoping, Argonne National Laboratory, EVS/240, 9700 S. Cass Ave., Argonne, IL 60439.


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