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It is a major vacation spot that around two million people visit every year. It is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the United States behind Lake Mead , storing 24,, acre feet 3. However, due to high water withdrawals for human and agricultural consumption, and because of subsequent droughts in the area, Lake Powell is currently larger than Lake Mead in terms of volume of water currently held, depth and surface area. The reservoir is named for explorer John Wesley Powell , a one-armed American Civil War veteran who explored the river via three wooden boats in It is public land managed by the National Park Service , and available to the public for recreational purposes.

The northern limits of the lake extend at least as far as the Hite Crossing Bridge. The Compact specifies that the Upper Basin states are to provide a minimum annual flow of 7,, acre feet 9. A small but politically effective group of objectors led by David Brower of the Sierra Club succeeded in defeating the Bureau's bid, citing Echo Park's natural and scenic qualities as too valuable to submerge. By agreeing to a relocated damsite near Lee's Ferry between Glen and Grand Canyons, however, Brower did not realize what he had gambled away.

At the time, Brower had not actually been to Glen Canyon. When he later saw Glen Canyon on a river trip, Brower discovered that it had the kind of scenic, cultural, and wilderness qualities often associated with America's national parks.

Brower believed the river should remain free, and would forever after consider the loss of Glen Canyon his life's ultimate disappointment.

Glen Canyon Dam was built to solve the downstream delivery obligations of the Upper Basin states. If the Compact had required the Upper Basin to deliver half the flow of the Colorado in low water years, rather than a fixed amount , the burden of drought would have been spread equally between the basins and there would have been no need to build the dam.

Its ironic that the lake is named after John Wesley Powell, who planned to settle the West based on the facts of hydrology, not politics. Eisenhower at his desk in the Oval Office on October 1, The first blast started clearing tunnels for water diversion.

On February 11, , water was diverted through the tunnels so dam construction could begin. Later that year, the bridge was completed, allowing trucks to deliver equipment and materials for the dam, and also for the new town of Page, Arizona. Concrete placement started around the clock on June 17, The last bucket of concrete was poured on September 13, The Dam is feet m high, with the surface elevation of the water at full pool being approximately feet m.

From to , turbines and generators were installed for hydroelectricity. Upon completion of Glen Canyon Dam on September 13, , the Colorado River began to back up, no longer being diverted through the tunnels. The newly flooded Glen Canyon formed Lake Powell. The lake level fluctuates considerably depending on the seasonal snow runoff from the Rocky Mountains.

The lake rose to 3, Colorado River flows have been below average since the year , leading to lower lake levels. In the winter of before the spring run-off the lake reached its lowest level since filling, an elevation of 3, Since the lake level has slowly rebounded, although it has not filled completely since then.

By April 9, the lake level had fallen to 3, However, the Bureau of Reclamation in reduced the Lake Powell release from 8. This was done due to the "equalization" guideline which stipulates that an approximately equal amount of water must be retained in both Lake Powell and Lake Mead , in order to preserve hydro-power generation capacity at both lakes.

This resulted in Lake Mead declining to the lowest level on record since the s. Glen Canyon was carved by differential erosion from the Colorado River over an estimated 5 million years. The Colorado Plateau , through which the canyon cuts, arose some 11 million years ago. Within that plateau lie layers of rock from over million years ago to the relatively recent volcanic activity.

Both formations are the result of the ancient inland sea that covered the area. Once the sea drained, windblown sand invaded the area, creating what is known as Wingate Sandstone. The more recent Jurassic Period formations include Kayenta Sandstone , which produces the trademark blue-black "desert varnish" that streaks down many walls of the canyons. Above this is Navajo Sandstone.

Many of the arches, including Rainbow Bridge, lie at this transition point. This period also includes light yellow Entrada Sandstone , and the dark brown, almost purple Carmel Formation.

These latter two can be seen on the tops of mesas around Wahweap , and the crown of Castle Rock and Tower Butte. Above these layers lie the sandstone , conglomerate and shale of the Straight Cliffs Formation that underlies the Kaiparowits Plateau and San Rafael Swell to the north of the lake.

The slower flow of the San Juan river has produced goosenecks where 5 miles 8. Lake Powell has been a shooting location for 45 television series and films, [13] including:.

The lake's main body stretches up Glen Canyon, but has also filled many over 90 side canyons. This provides access to many natural geographic points of interest as well as some remnants of the Anasazi culture. Access to the lake is limited to developed marinas because most of the lake is surrounded by steep sandstone walls:. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area draws more than two million visitors annually.

Recreational activities include boating , fishing , waterskiing , jet-skiing , and hiking. Prepared campgrounds can be found at each marina, but many visitors choose to rent a houseboat or bring their own camping equipment, find a secluded spot somewhere in the canyons, and make their own camp there are no restrictions on where visitors can stay. The Castle Rock Cut is one of the most important navigational channels in the lake; it was blasted as early as the s to allow boaters to bypass the winding canyons between the Glen Canyon Dam and reaches of Lake Powell further upstream — saving, on average, one hour of travel time.

The cut has been deepened several times since then, to allow the use of the channel during droughts. Continued deepening of the Castle Rock cut has been criticized for its high cost, but boaters and the National Park Service argue that it improves safety, saves millions of dollars in fuel, and improves emergency response time.

Currently most Marinas on the lake don't have Automatic Identification System monitoring stations that transmit boat positions to the AIS websites for the boating community. A substantial number of vessels on the lake do not have AIS transponders as there currently are no mandatory requirements for AIS usage for this body of water. Extra precautions must be taken with respect to boating safety, as the fractal nature of the lake's hydrologic surface area can allow vessels with limited charting equipment to become easily lost.

Anyone who camps farther than a quarter of a mile from a marina, however, must bring a portable toilet. Pet waste must also be packed out. The southwestern end of Lake Powell in Arizona can be accessed via U. Route 89 and State Route State Route 95 and State Route lead to the northeastern end of the lake in Utah.

Currently most native species on the Colorado River Basin are subject to ongoing restoration efforts of some kind. Zebra and quagga mussels first appeared in the United States in the s.

The mussels were initially brought to the United States through the ballast water of ships entering the Great Lakes. These aquatic invaders soon spread to many bodies of water in the Eastern United States and have even made their way to the western United States. In January , [17] [18] Zebra mussels have been detected in several reservoirs along the Colorado River system such as Lakes Mead, Mojave, and Havasu. By the early s Arizona , California , Nebraska , Kansas , Colorado , Nevada and Utah have all confirmed the presence of larval zebra mussels in lakes and reservoirs.

Zebra and quagga mussels can be destructive to an ecosystem due to competition for resources with native species. The filtration of zooplankton by the mussels can negatively impact the feeding for some species of fish. Zebra and quagga mussels can attach to hard surfaces and build layers on underwater structures. The mussels are known to clog pipes including those in hydroelectric power systems, thus becoming a costly and time-consuming problem for water managers in the West.

Control policies have recently been introduced to alleviate the hydroelectric problems as well as ecological problems faced by Western infestation. Beginning in Lake Powell began to visually monitor for the mussels.

In hot water boat decontamination sites were established at Wahweap, Bullfrog, and Halls Crossing marinas. In January , zebra mussels were detected in Lake Mead and new action plans were announced to prevent the spread of mussels to Lake Powell. In August , preliminary testing was positive for zebra or quagga larvae in Lake Powell.

These tests were deemed false positives, but adult quagga mussels were found in In August , Lake Powell was declared mussel free. Lake Powell introduced a mandatory boat inspection for each watercraft entering the reservoir beginning in June Effective June 29, , every vessel entering Lake Powell must have a mussel certificate, although boat owners were allowed to self-certify. These measures were intended to help prevent vessels from transporting Zebra mussels into Lake Powell.

Despite these measures, quagga mussel DNA was detected in and live mussels were found at a number of sites including the Wahweap Marina in Spring and Summer As of June the NPS was attempting a diver based eradication program to find and remove mussels before the lake becomes infested. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Powell Reservoir.

For the lake in Australia, see Lake Powell, Victoria. This section needs to be updated. It refers to predictions for water year Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Archived from the original on 17 March Retrieved 15 March A Story that Stands Like a Dam: Glen Canyon and the Struggle for the Soul of the West. Encounters with the Archdruid.

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. United States Bureau of Reclamation.



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