Arizona Water Science Center

Prepared in cooperation with Utah State University and Northern Arizona University

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2007-1268
version 1.0

Streamflow and Sediment Data Collected to Determine the Effects of Low Summer Steady Flows and Habitat Maintenance Flows in 2000 on the Colorado River between Lees Ferry and Bright Angel Creek, Arizona

By John C. Schmidt, David J. Topping, David M. Rubin, Joseph E. Hazel, Jr., Matt Kaplinski, Stephen M. Wiele, and Sara A. Goeking


Photo of scientist surveying underwater part of sandbar
Joe Hazel, Northern Arizona University, surveying the underwater part of the sandbar at river mile 30.7 on September 6, 2000 (photograph by David J. Topping, U.S. Geological Survey)


The low summer steady flows (LSSF) experiment of 2000 further demonstrated that spike flows released from Glen Canyon Dam redistribute sand from the channel bed and lower elevation parts of eddy sandbars to channel-margin deposits and the higher elevation parts of eddy sandbars. Unfortunately, summer 2000 was a period of unusually low tributary influx of sediment and there was little fine sediment (i.e., sand and finer material) available for redistribution. Nevertheless, the low steady flows, which held releases from the dam steady at 230 m3/s (8,100 ft3/s), during the summer of 2000 effectively retained on the channel bed the little sediment that was supplied by tributaries, and a subsequent 4-day, 870 m3/s (30,700 ft3/s) spike flow caused modest increases in the area of the mid-elevation zone of eddy sandbars.

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