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Open-File Report 2014–1193

An Analysis of the Potential for Glen Canyon Dam Releases to Inundate Archaeological Sites in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

By Hoda A. Sondossi and Helen C. Fairley

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.3 MB)Abstract

The development of a one-dimensional flow-routing model for the Colorado River between Lees Ferry and Diamond Creek, Arizona in 2008 provided a potentially useful tool for assessing the degree to which varying discharges from Glen Canyon Dam may inundate terrestrial environments and potentially affect resources located within the zone of inundation. Using outputs from the model, a geographic information system analysis was completed to evaluate the degree to which flows from Glen Canyon Dam might inundate archaeological sites located along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The analysis indicates that between 4 and 19 sites could be partially inundated by flows released from Glen Canyon Dam under current (2014) operating guidelines, and as many as 82 archaeological sites may have been inundated to varying degrees by uncontrolled high flows released in June 1983. Additionally, the analysis indicates that more of the sites currently (2014) proposed for active management by the National Park Service are located at low elevations and, therefore, tend to be more susceptible to potential inundation effects than sites not currently (2014) targeted for management actions, although the potential for inundation occurs in both groups of sites. Because of several potential sources of error and uncertainty associated with the model and with limitations of the archaeological data used in this analysis, the results are not unequivocal. These caveats, along with the fact that dam-related impacts can involve more than surface-inundation effects, suggest that the results of this analysis should be used with caution to infer potential effects of Glen Canyon Dam on archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon.

First posted September 12, 2014

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Suggested citation:

Sondossi, H.A., and Fairley, H.C., 2014, An analysis of the potential for Glen Canyon Dam releases to inundate archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1193, 26 p., https://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20141193.

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Study Area

Methods

Analysis

Results

Discussion

References Cited

Appendix A. Site-Specific Inundation Data and Summary of Area Inundated by Site Groupings and Stage Elevation


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