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U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 85

The science provider to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program

Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center

By John F. Hamill



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The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, one of the world’s most spectacular gorges, is a premier U.S. National Park and a World Heritage Site. The canyon supports a diverse array of distinctive plants and animals and contains cultural resources significant to the region’s Native Americans.

About 15 miles upstream of Grand Canyon National Park sits Glen Canyon Dam, completed in 1963, which created Lake Powell. The dam provides hydroelectric power for 200 wholesale customers in six western States, but it has also altered the Colorado River’s flow, temperature, and sediment-carrying capacity. Over time this has resulted in beach erosion, invasion and expansion of nonnative species, and losses of native fish.

Public concern about the effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations prompted the passage of the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to operate the dam “to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established...” This legislation also required the creation of a long-term monitoring and research program to provide information that could inform decisions related to dam operations and protection of downstream resources.

Version 1.0

First posted April 27, 2009

This report is also available in print from:

USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information contact:
John Hamill

Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); at least version 7 of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Hamill, John F., 2009, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 85, 4 p. [].


Federal Efforts to Protect Grand Canyon

Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program

Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center

Major Conclusions from Research to Date

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