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Open-File Report 2014–1211

Prepared in cooperation with Northern Arizona University

Gully Monitoring at Two Locations in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 1996–2010, with Emphasis on Documenting Effects of the March 2008 High-Flow Experiment

By Nathan D. Schott, Joseph E. Hazel, Jr., Helen C. Fairley, Matt Kaplinski, and Roderic A. Parnell

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.4 MB)Abstract

Many archeological sites in the Grand Canyon are being impacted by gully incision. In March 2008, a high-flow experiment (2008 HFE) was conducted with the intention of redistributing fine sediment (sand, silt, and clay) from the bed of the Colorado River to higher elevations along the channel margin. Deposition of fine sediment in gully mouths has been hypothesized to slow gully erosion rates and lessen impacts to archeological sites. The effects of the 2008 HFE on gullies were evaluated by comparing the topographic changes of three gullies at two study sites before and after the 2008 HFE. Comparison results indicated that sediment was deposited in gully mouths during the 2008 HFE, and that the inundated areas nearest to the river can be extensively altered by mainstream flow during high-flow events. Additionally, the history of gully evolution at the two study sites was examined between 1996 and 2010 and indicated that gullies have been subjected to thalweg incision and gully widening processes over a decadal timescale. Although the small sample size precludes extrapolating the results to other gullies, the findings contribute to the understanding of gully erosion in archeologically significant areas and have implications for future monitoring of gully erosion and evaluating the effectiveness of check dams intended to mitigate that erosion at archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon National Park.

First posted October 8, 2014

For additional information, contact:
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U.S. Geological Survey
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Suggested citation:

Schott, N.D., Hazel, J.E., Jr., Fairley, H.C., Kaplinski, M., and Parnell, R.A., 2014, Gully monitoring at two locations in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 1996–2010, with emphasis on documenting effects of the March 2008 high-flow experiment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1211, 32 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)





Study Site Descriptions




Conclusions and Suggestions for Future Work

References Cited

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