Skip to content

Colorado River Update: The Bureau of Reclamation Admits Glen Canyon Dam is Contributing to the Crisis on the Colorado River

Hi Friends of the Colorado River,

Five years ago when we started our “Tear Down Glen Canyon Dam” campaign, we certainly raised some eyebrows. Colleagues dismissed us, some funders thought we were off mark, and we were accused of ’tilting at windmills’. Further yet, 10 years ago when out boardmember and former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Daniel P. Beard, published his book titled Deadbeat Dams: Why we need to abolish the Bureau of Reclamation and Tear Down Glen Canyon Dam, he and his book were somewhat ignored or even black-listed.

Boy what a difference a 20-year drought makes!

Last week, for the first time in history, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation formally and publicly admitted that Glen Canyon Dam would likely cease to function in the near future due to falling water levels in Lake Powell and the ongoing drought and climate change.

To address the problem, the Bureau proposed a host of solutions including digging a massive 30-foot wide “bypass tunnel” around the dam so that water could continue to flow down the Colorado River. The Bureau is also proposing a last-ditch effort to put new hydropower turbines in the tunnels to keep generating electricity.

It was 5 years ago that I stood at Glen Canyon Dam and created a video about how the Dam would soon be useless, needed to be decommissioned, and its hydropower needed to be replaced with solar power. Lo and behold, the Bureau of Reclamation’s presentation last week also proposed replacing Glen Canyon Dam’s hydropower with solar power.

You can read our short op-ed in the Pagosa Daily Post here which includes my video and a link to the presentation made by the Bureau with proposed bypass tunnels around Glen Canyon Dam.

At the same time that the Bureau proposed bypassing the dam, we’re excited to announce the winners of the “REWILDING COLORADO RIVER” contest in which we and other donors offered $10,000 prize money to contestants to submit plans to re-engineer Glen Canyon Dam.

Our goal was to get the minds of young engineers humming with new ideas about how to reconnect the Colorado River by tearing down or bypassing Glen Canyon Dam.

We awarded the prize money to three contestants who had great plans for either tearing down or bypassing the dam. Take a look at the press release here where we announce the winners. About the contest and the winners, former Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Daniel P. Beard said,

“Science and climate change are proving that Glen Canyon Dam never should’ve been built in the first place. We not only have the right, but the responsibility, to fix this historic mistake.”

Thanks for all you do and stay tuned here for more action.

You can donate online by clicking here to keep us working hard.

Back To Top