The John Wesley Powell River History Museum presents a historical account of a river trip led by Ken Sleight in Glen Canyon in the late 1950s, a unique window into what Glen Canyon was like before it was flooded.
The Breakthrough Deal to Protect the Colorado River, Explained
California, Arizona and Nevada—the three states that make up the system’s “Lower Basin”—reached an agreement with the Biden administration to conserve 3 million acre-feet of water over the next three years, which is 13 percent of those states’ total allocation from the river. In exchange, the Biden administration will compensate the states with about $1.2 billion in federal funds.
A new report from Glen Canyon Institute, Utah Rivers Council, and the Great Basin Water Network reveals that the limited plumbing inside Glen Canyon Dam may soon prevent Upper Basin states from meeting its delivery obligation to Lower Basin states.
Over the last several years, our partners in Moab have been surveying and researching the huge changes happening along the Colorado River through Cataract, Narrow, and now Glen Canyons. Please click below to visit their site and explore the work they have done to understand how the river is evolving as the reservoir recedes.
Humans Killed Cataract Canyon. It Brought Itself Back to Life
Sixty years ago, this stretch of river was considered as ferocious — and
nearly as beautiful — as the Grand Canyon. Then, in 1963, the Glen
Canyon Dam was built to store water for human use, which backed up the
Colorado River behind it to create Lake Powell. The rising waters snaked
upstream, inundating the main river and dozens of its side canyons.
Here, at its farthest reaches in Cataract Canyon, the reservoir flooded
rapids and then buried the riverbed, including the boulders that made up
those rapids, in thick layers of sediment — a mud plug that built up to
be so enormous that it flattened out the steep gradient of the riverbed
that had made those rapids so fierce.
Uncovering the Layered History of Glen Canyon Dam: A Tale of Dispossession and Indigenous Voices
Bsumek’s work delves into the complex history of Glen Canyon Dam, built in the 1950s, revealing it as an extension of these Anglo visions. She argues that the dam is not merely a utilitarian structure but a physical manifestation of Indigenous dispossession. This perspective challenges traditional narratives surrounding the dam, offering a fresh and nuanced understanding of its origins and impact.
Even with the reservoir’s gains last spring, hiking through Glen Canyon’s emerging tributary canyons is like walking through time. Spots that have only been exposed for a year look like muddy sediment wastelands with no vegetation or wildlife. Pressing further into the canyon, to areas exposed for two or three years, invasives like tamarisk and Russian thistle — more commonly known as tumbleweed — are the first to grow. But they don’t last.
Please find a variety of essays and write-ups pertaining to Glen Canyon and the river by visiting our blog. We cover science, adventure, and current issues that are impacting Glen Canyon. Our blog features both Glen Canyon Institute staff and researchers as well as outside voices.