Free Meeting -- The Future of Lake Powell

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bubba

Well-Known Member
Some of my greatest free enlightenment is provided by others who think differently.

I am always wanting to learn new things so I welcome views shared but especially challenged. Understanding how others think, or what others think, ultimately gives you the upper hand... Knowledge is king, and even more so with silence and self control.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
I'm sure they don't care about the little towns and businesses that would not exist without Lake Powell. I am included in that group.
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
One of the most interesting presentations I ever attended was put on by the Glen Canyon Institute in SLC in 2008 or so. It was a centered around a slide show of what the canyon looked like before the dam, and had a lot of the usual suspects among those who wanted the lake to disappear. There were a lot of students, and a lot of old people who knew (or felt connected to) the canyon before the lake. There were some scientists and poets, that kind of thing. And of course a lot of that is compelling, but only tells part of the story, though an important part.

Anyway, the best part of that is that for lunch I was sitting between Katie Lee and Ken Sleight, two of the oldest of the "drain the lake" icons, and boy were they interesting to talk with, especially Katie Lee. She must have been 90 or so at the time, but sharp as a tack and as passionate as ever. We had a great conversation, probably lasted close to an hour. She was still an emotional defender of Glen Canyon, a place she knew and loved in the 1950s... I asked her if she'd ever been back since the dam, and she had but only once in the mid-60s... I explained to her that I'm sure I would have loved the old Glen Canyon as she saw it, but my first experiences there were with Lake Powell, and that while different, was the reality I knew, and a place I loved too, perhaps as much as she did of a place that no longer exists. She got that, but for her it came down to the idea that something great was taken away and something she loved. She said we all have a special place, and that was hers. My take was that Lake Powell is my special place.

...and more importantly, that things change, sometimes in ways you don't want them to, but in those changes new perspectives are forged, and they can be equally valid, equally impassioned. She didn't buy that in the case of Glen Canyon. So we talked about different examples of change, some for the better, some for not... In the end, for her, she felt she lost her closest friend, and Lake Powell was a sad reminder of that. And I told her I was sorry about that, but I've got a friend in Lake Powell, and for me, the access it provides to hard to reach places, the beauty it has, and some of the economic benefits make it a friend to many other people. At the same time, I agreed with her that if they had to do it all again, I would say don't build the dam. But the dam is here now, and while much is lost, much is gained, and let's work with that as a baseline. And to consider that if the lake were drained, a whole generation or more would feel exactly as she did in 1963, and is that any more or less fair? But for her, it was the intrinsic value of the environmental setting that was lost, almost as if it were a living thing by itself.

I had to respect her perspective, mainly because I shared some of it, and I think by the end she got where I was coming from. We enjoyed a good lunch together.

Anyway, Katie died at the end of 2017 at 98, but I always sent her a Christmas card after that encounter in 2008, and she'd reply with something funny to say. A really interesting woman, and glad we crossed paths...
 
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CHRIS MCBETH

Well-Known Member
One of the most interesting presentations I ever attended was put on by the Glen Canyon Institute in SLC in 2008 or so. It was a centered around a slide show of what the canyon looked like before the dam, and had a lot of the usual suspects among those who wanted the lake to disappear. There were a lot of students, and a lot of old people who knew (or felt connected to) the canyon before the lake. There were some scientists and poets, that kind of thing. And of course a lot of that is compelling, but only tells part of the story, though an important part.

Anyway, the best part of that is that for lunch I was sitting between Katie Lee and Ken Sleight, two of the oldest of the "drain the lake" icons, and boy were they interesting to talk with, especially Katie Lee. She must have been 90 or so at the time, but sharp as a tack and as passionate as ever. We had a great conversation, probably lasted close to an hour. She was still an emotional defender of Glen Canyon, a place she knew and loved in the 1950s... I asked her if she'd ever been back since the dam, and she had but only once in the mid-60s... I explained to her that I'm sure I would have loved the old Glen Canyon as she saw it, but my first experiences there were with Lake Powell, and that while different, was the reality I knew, and a place I loved too, perhaps as much as she did of a place that no longer exists. She got that, but for her it came down to the idea that something great was taken away and something she loved. She said we all have a special place, and that was hers. My take was that Lake Powell is my special place.

...and more importantly, that things change, sometimes in ways you don't want them to, but in those changes new perspectives are forged, and they can be equally valid, equally impassioned. She didn't buy that in the case of Glen Canyon. So we talked about different examples of change, some for the better, some for not... In the end, for her, she felt she lost her closest friend, and Lake Powell was a sad reminder of that. And I told her I was sorry about that, but I've got a friend in Lake Powell, and for me, the access it provides to hard to reach places, the beauty it has, and some of the economic benefits make it a friend to many other people. At the same time, I agreed with her that if they had to do it all again, I would say don't build the dam. But the dam is here now, and while much is lost, much is gained, and let's work with that as a baseline. And to consider that if the lake were drained, a whole generation or more would feel exactly as she did in 1963, and is that any more or less fair? And for her, it was the intrinsic value of the environmental setting that was lost, almost as if it were a living thing by itself.

I had to respect her perspective, mainly because I shared some of it, and I think by the end she got where I was coming from. We enjoyed a good lunch together.

Anyway, Katie died at the end of 2017 at 98, but I always sent her a Christmas card after that encounter in 2008, and she'd reply with something funny to say. A really interesting woman, and glad we crossed paths...
Interesting perspective. thanks for sharing... it makes a lot of sense.

Realistically I don’t know if we can afford to eliminate the lake purely for the ability it gives us to regulate water flow and store enough to get us through several years of drought, etc.

And I’m not sure the economic benefits are related to the activities on the lake and area, as much as the economics related to water and water rights down stream.
 

Tiff Mapel

Well-Known Member
Hi Wordlings,

There's a free public meeting with a panel of "experts" about the future of Lake Powell. Looks to be organized by the drainer crowd.... They'll need some balance in the audience, so hoping some of our Wordling Nation can make it? Utah State University, Logan, Utah, Thursday, Feb. 20th.

Star Hall forum to discuss future of Lake Powell

Powell to the People!

Tiff

Okay, apparently I was wrong. It's not in northern Utah, it'll be in Moab at Star Hall. I wasn't aware there was a University of Utah there???
Tiff
 

Tiff Mapel

Well-Known Member
One of the most interesting presentations I ever attended was put on by the Glen Canyon Institute in SLC in 2008 or so. It was a centered around a slide show of what the canyon looked like before the dam, and had a lot of the usual suspects among those who wanted the lake to disappear. There were a lot of students, and a lot of old people who knew (or felt connected to) the canyon before the lake. There were some scientists and poets, that kind of thing. And of course a lot of that is compelling, but only tells part of the story, though an important part.

Anyway, the best part of that is that for lunch I was sitting between Katie Lee and Ken Sleight, two of the oldest of the "drain the lake" icons, and boy were they interesting to talk with, especially Katie Lee. She must have been 90 or so at the time, but sharp as a tack and as passionate as ever. We had a great conversation, probably lasted close to an hour. She was still an emotional defender of Glen Canyon, a place she knew and loved in the 1950s... I asked her if she'd ever been back since the dam, and she had but only once in the mid-60s... I explained to her that I'm sure I would have loved the old Glen Canyon as she saw it, but my first experiences there were with Lake Powell, and that while different, was the reality I knew, and a place I loved too, perhaps as much as she did of a place that no longer exists. She got that, but for her it came down to the idea that something great was taken away and something she loved. She said we all have a special place, and that was hers. My take was that Lake Powell is my special place.

...and more importantly, that things change, sometimes in ways you don't want them to, but in those changes new perspectives are forged, and they can be equally valid, equally impassioned. She didn't buy that in the case of Glen Canyon. So we talked about different examples of change, some for the better, some for not... In the end, for her, she felt she lost her closest friend, and Lake Powell was a sad reminder of that. And I told her I was sorry about that, but I've got a friend in Lake Powell, and for me, the access it provides to hard to reach places, the beauty it has, and some of the economic benefits make it a friend to many other people. At the same time, I agreed with her that if they had to do it all again, I would say don't build the dam. But the dam is here now, and while much is lost, much is gained, and let's work with that as a baseline. And to consider that if the lake were drained, a whole generation or more would feel exactly as she did in 1963, and is that any more or less fair? And for her, it was the intrinsic value of the environmental setting that was lost, almost as if it were a living thing by itself.

I had to respect her perspective, mainly because I shared some of it, and I think by the end she got where I was coming from. We enjoyed a good lunch together.

Anyway, Katie died at the end of 2017 at 98, but I always sent her a Christmas card after that encounter in 2008, and she'd reply with something funny to say. A really interesting woman, and glad we crossed paths...

That's a great story, JFR. When I was writing "A Wild Redhead Tamed" with Petester, I had emailed Katie with some questions. We had a couple of exchanges back and forth, and I ended up reading her books in the process. Yes, Glen Canyon was her special place, just like Lake Powell is ours.

Tiff
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
That's a great story, JFR. When I was writing "A Wild Redhead Tamed" with Petester, I had emailed Katie with some questions. We had a couple of exchanges back and forth, and I ended up reading her books in the process. Yes, Glen Canyon was her special place, just like Lake Powell is ours.

Tiff
Tiff--I didn't know you wrote a book! I just bought your book...
 

Tiff Mapel

Well-Known Member
Tiff--I didn't know you wrote a book! I just bought your book...
Yes! I've written TWO books about Lake Powell--the aforementioned "A Wild Redhead Tamed" with Pete Klocki and "Lake Powell Tales" which is a compilation of Lake Powell stories from six different authors. You can order them directly from the publisher, iUniverse, or you can find them on Amazon too. (I actually wrote a children's book too... But it's not about Lake Powell... It's called "Bears Don't Ski" and it's about a bear who forgoes hibernation to see what winter is all about, and learns to ski in the process.) But, it's not on Amazon, you have to get copies from me. :)

Tiff
 

Littlesaltwash

Well-Known Member
I managed to get to Star Hall early in order to ask a preliminary question. It was, in essence, if there would be minutes or a synopsis of what was discussed or presented at the meeting in order that other folks could obtain the information. A “reporter” for KZMU was on hand (for local news) and I was told that Jack Schmidt and another fellow were to present a segment on air Friday am . The meeting was very well attended with (looked like) about a 100 people until the first break at 8 pm. After that it dropped to about 60. The presentation was strictly science based without any bias of pro-lake or pro-drainer. ( I attended the meeting expecting some sort of bias/or slant) Jack Schmidt, session leader, started the presentation by saying that there are very complicated issues and that there is a lot of effort being made to really study effects on all the issues in the Colorado River system. A brief history of Glen Canyon and was followed by a presentation by Jack on the workings of the Dam concerning turbine elevations, max cfs release re turbines and the auxiliary water release structures with a lower water elevation draw. To the best of my recollection the combined release from those structures was about 45,000 cfs. ( If anyone else was in attendance and can correct or add info please do) I suppose lake elevation and pressure would effect total cfs output. There was a brief overview and cross section of the spillways that were blown out and repaired with the air cavitation fix, but it was my understanding ( because of water storage level) these have not been subject to a sustained max release. An interesting fact/point was that the tunnels blown in the bedrock to divert the river under the cofferdam were rated at well over 100,000 cfs but filled with reinforced concrete upon completion of the project. Since viewing the film presented earlier on another WW thread re the damage to the emergency spillways it is easy to understand why. The presentation then moved to the impact of sedimentation in the lake with historical surveys that were somewhat contradictory in results but still showed that there is an eventual filling of Powell with sediment. Exact timeline is ?? What was interesting was that Powell would cease being a viable storage facility at about 50% sedimentation. Sediment core samples have been done at a lot of LP tributaries with results as most of us can imagine. That is, lots of sediment from Trachyt upstream and major sedimentation in the upper San Juan, which is the major “donor” of silt in the lake. A lake cross section of the upper lake in the Hite, Farley, White, Trachyt area shows us exactly what we have been seeing on our sonar. There is a major “cliff” of sediment before dropping steeply to deeper water near Trachyt. In this part of the presentation one of the major takeaways was that LP has lost about 6% of capacity due to cubic mass of sediment in the 58 years since closing the gates. I doubt Wayne will have to seek employment elsewhere due to sediment buildup in the near future.
There was another segment on native/non native fish in the Grand Canyon with all kinds of scientific data re temperature/turbidity/nutrients. An interesting part of this presentation was a significant absence of “bugs” in the river below LP. A side showed data of insect/bug reproduction. The major factor in the absence was the daily high and lows associated with release of water to generate power. Very visual graph showing higher reproduction on the weekends instead of weekdays with the power draws and the erasing of eggs deposited on the banks. Compared to Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle downstream data it was pretty startling with the noticeable absence.
After the 8 break there was a presentation by a fellow (can’t remember names and titles but has recently written a book re issues) regarding Colorado River Compacts, downstream obligations, drought issues, and water storage in all the upstream storage facilities. Because the meeting was running long he didn’t get into his power point and only hit the high points. I would have like to have heard more from him re water issues. Two other gentleman got up from some river organizations (again names?) and talked for abot 5 minutes each.
Because the meeting ran well over 9, there was a more informal question period. I managed to get in the first question in regards to how the Sand Hollow pipeline would effect LP. In essence, LP water elevation doesn’t matter on draw. Even if LP didn’t exist, the proposed pipeline could suck up water from the channel. Also, this issue is so contentious in regards to upper/lower basin, money, continued growth SW Utah, water usage (read golf course or flushing toilet) it looks like it won’t happen in the near future.
My big takeaway from the evening was that the near ( near is subjective) future of LP will NOT be effected by sediment, not at all by “drainers”, and not by endangered fish or aquatic issues.
The overriding issue for LP’s future is of drought and decreased water flow in the Colorado River Basin and the responsibility of delivering water to the Lower Basin States re compacts. This is glaringly apparent. Some mention of filling Lake Mead first was out there. Search other WW threads and JFRCalifornia posts.
In summary; the presentation was very professional, had the professional heavy hitters in regards to water issues, and had objective scientific data to support presentations.
More information can be found on the website qcne.usu.edu/Colorado River
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
I managed to get to Star Hall early in order to ask a preliminary question. It was, in essence, if there would be minutes or a synopsis of what was discussed or presented at the meeting in order that other folks could obtain the information. A “reporter” for KZMU was on hand (for local news) and I was told that Jack Schmidt and another fellow were to present a segment on air Friday am . The meeting was very well attended with (looked like) about a 100 people until the first break at 8 pm. After that it dropped to about 60. The presentation was strictly science based without any bias of pro-lake or pro-drainer. ( I attended the meeting expecting some sort of bias/or slant) Jack Schmidt, session leader, started the presentation by saying that there are very complicated issues and that there is a lot of effort being made to really study effects on all the issues in the Colorado River system. A brief history of Glen Canyon and was followed by a presentation by Jack on the workings of the Dam concerning turbine elevations, max cfs release re turbines and the auxiliary water release structures with a lower water elevation draw. To the best of my recollection the combined release from those structures was about 45,000 cfs. ( If anyone else was in attendance and can correct or add info please do) I suppose lake elevation and pressure would effect total cfs output. There was a brief overview and cross section of the spillways that were blown out and repaired with the air cavitation fix, but it was my understanding ( because of water storage level) these have not been subject to a sustained max release. An interesting fact/point was that the tunnels blown in the bedrock to divert the river under the cofferdam were rated at well over 100,000 cfs but filled with reinforced concrete upon completion of the project. Since viewing the film presented earlier on another WW thread re the damage to the emergency spillways it is easy to understand why. The presentation then moved to the impact of sedimentation in the lake with historical surveys that were somewhat contradictory in results but still showed that there is an eventual filling of Powell with sediment. Exact timeline is ?? What was interesting was that Powell would cease being a viable storage facility at about 50% sedimentation. Sediment core samples have been done at a lot of LP tributaries with results as most of us can imagine. That is, lots of sediment from Trachyt upstream and major sedimentation in the upper San Juan, which is the major “donor” of silt in the lake. A lake cross section of the upper lake in the Hite, Farley, White, Trachyt area shows us exactly what we have been seeing on our sonar. There is a major “cliff” of sediment before dropping steeply to deeper water near Trachyt. In this part of the presentation one of the major takeaways was that LP has lost about 6% of capacity due to cubic mass of sediment in the 58 years since closing the gates. I doubt Wayne will have to seek employment elsewhere due to sediment buildup in the near future.
There was another segment on native/non native fish in the Grand Canyon with all kinds of scientific data re temperature/turbidity/nutrients. An interesting part of this presentation was a significant absence of “bugs” in the river below LP. A side showed data of insect/bug reproduction. The major factor in the absence was the daily high and lows associated with release of water to generate power. Very visual graph showing higher reproduction on the weekends instead of weekdays with the power draws and the erasing of eggs deposited on the banks. Compared to Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle downstream data it was pretty startling with the noticeable absence.
After the 8 break there was a presentation by a fellow (can’t remember names and titles but has recently written a book re issues) regarding Colorado River Compacts, downstream obligations, drought issues, and water storage in all the upstream storage facilities. Because the meeting was running long he didn’t get into his power point and only hit the high points. I would have like to have heard more from him re water issues. Two other gentleman got up from some river organizations (again names?) and talked for abot 5 minutes each.
Because the meeting ran well over 9, there was a more informal question period. I managed to get in the first question in regards to how the Sand Hollow pipeline would effect LP. In essence, LP water elevation doesn’t matter on draw. Even if LP didn’t exist, the proposed pipeline could suck up water from the channel. Also, this issue is so contentious in regards to upper/lower basin, money, continued growth SW Utah, water usage (read golf course or flushing toilet) it looks like it won’t happen in the near future.
My big takeaway from the evening was that the near ( near is subjective) future of LP will NOT be effected by sediment, not at all by “drainers”, and not by endangered fish or aquatic issues.
The overriding issue for LP’s future is of drought and decreased water flow in the Colorado River Basin and the responsibility of delivering water to the Lower Basin States re compacts. This is glaringly apparent. Some mention of filling Lake Mead first was out there. Search other WW threads and JFRCalifornia posts.
In summary; the presentation was very professional, had the professional heavy hitters in regards to water issues, and had objective scientific data to support presentations.
More information can be found on the website qcne.usu.edu/Colorado River
That is an outstanding summary!! Would have loved to have gone and asked a lot of questions. Thanks for doing that and attending in the first place. All very interesting stuff, although not too much scientifically surprising, and glad it was an objective analysis. Also glad to hear that sanity may prevail regarding the pipeline. And very interesting discussion about sedimentation, consistent with what we all can see. When the dam was built, Powell’s storage capacity was almost 27 MAF, but today less than 25 MAF—consistent with the 6% number reported in the presentation. And definitely massive sedimentation where river meets lake. The Colorado and San Juan are sedimentation machines—just cutting through the Navajo Sandstone alone is basically cutting through ancient sand dunes and what used to be sea bottom deposition. One day the lake will silt up, it has to. And when that happens, there will be a muddy river again that eventually gets to Glen Canyon Dam, over which will be a massive waterfall...

...not in our lifetimes, but if you project the rate of 6% capacity loss in 57 years, it silts up completely in 950 years... which is longer than the classic USBR estimate of 700 years... but in any case a blip in geologic time...

But for now there’s still good fishing!
 
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