Southwest Biological Science Center

Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management (GCMRC Science)

The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) is the science provider for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP), and its scientists study the effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations on the resources of Grand Canyon. More information about the GCDAMP can be found at the Bureau of Reclamation and the GCDAMP Wiki page. Neither of these sites are US Geological Survey (USGS) websites, so accessing those sites means you will leave the USGS website and will be entering other domains. 

Filter Total Items: 21
Date published: December 12, 2018
Status: Active

Geospatial Science and Technology

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center, and more specifically, its River Ecosystem Science branch which includes the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC), is a preeminent science group that has more than 20 years of experience of providing high-quality, detailed science to resource managers and stakeholders primarily concerned with the effects of dam...

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

High-Flow Experiments on the Colorado River

Glen Canyon Dam has altered flow and fine sediment (sand, silt, and clay) dynamics of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Before the dam, the Colorado River experienced highly variable flows and carried a large amount of sediment through Grand Canyon, which maintained sandbars (highly valued camping areas in Grand Canyon) and provided sand that protected archeological and cultural sites from...

Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Riparian Vegetation Monitoring: How One Square Meter Can Tell the Story of 245 River Miles

The goal of Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center’s (part of the Southwest Biological Science Center) riparian vegetation monitoring program is to assess changes and trends in plant species composition and cover and relate those changes to Glen Canyon Dam operations, river hydrology, climate, and geomorphology. Monitoring is done by annual field-data collection on plant cover and...

Contacts: Emily Palmquist, Brad Butterfield
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Active

Overview of Riparian Vegetation in Grand Canyon

Riparian areas are conspicuous belts of dense, green vegetation along streams and rivers, and can be considered “ribbons of life”. Despite covering less than 2 percent of the land area in the southwestern U.S., riparian areas tend to have high species diversity and population density, making them valuable to managers, scientists, and the public. These unique ecosystems act as a link between...

Contacts: Emily Palmquist, Joel B Sankey, Ph.D., Laura Durning, Brad Butterfield
Date published: May 14, 2017
Status: Active

Rainbow Trout Abundance and Movement in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

Just below Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River is a very popular Blue Ribbon trout fishery known for its rainbow trout. However, approximately 78 miles downstream, near were the Little Colorado River flows into the Colorado River, is a population of endangered humpback chub. The introduced rainbow trout can negatively affect native humpback chub by competing with them for food (immature...

Contacts: Charles Yackulic, Josh Korman
Date published: January 18, 2017
Status: Active

Citizen Science Light Trapping in Grand Canyon

Aquatic insects are commonly used to gauge the health of stream and river ecosystems, yet collecting enough samples to adequately characterize a river segment as long as the Colorado River through Grand Canyon (> 250 miles) would be essentially impossible using traditional sampling methods. Since 2012, our group has been collaborating with river guides, private boaters, and educational...

Date published: January 18, 2017
Status: Active

Uncovering the Base of the Food Web: Primary Production Dynamics in the Colorado River

Algae, phytoplankton, and rooted macrophytes represent the base of many aquatic food webs and are known as primary producers. Through photosynthesis, these organisms convert sunlight energy into chemical energy (i.e., carbon) that in turn fuels the growth of animals such as macroinvertebrates and fish. This project uses high frequency measurements of dissolved oxygen, which is a by-product of...

Date published: December 30, 2016
Status: Active

River Sediment Dynamics

Sediment controls the physical habitat of river ecosystems.  Changes in the amount and areal distribution of different sediment types cause changes in river-channel form and river habitat.  The amount and type of sediment suspended in the water column determines water clarity.  Understanding sediment transport and the conditions under which sediment is deposited or eroded from the various...

Date published: December 23, 2016
Status: Active

Population Dynamics of Endangered Humpback Chub in Grand Canyon

Construction of Glen Canyon Dam has led to large changes in environmental conditions of the downriver Colorado River. Whereas the pre-dam Colorado River experienced large seasonal variation in temperature and discharge and was highly turbid, the post-dam Colorado River is far less variable in terms of temperature and discharge and is frequently clear. Many nonnative fish species had already...

Date published: December 23, 2016
Status: Active

Understanding Factors Influencing Rainbow Trout Growth in the Colorado River

Rainbow trout is a desirable sport fish that has been introduced in many locations around the world. Although introductions of rainbow trout and other nonnative fishes provide recreational fishing opportunities, they also pose threats to native fish populations. The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program has tasked scientists and managers with identifying management options that allow...

Date published: December 22, 2016
Status: Active

SBSC Scientist Directory

Click on "Science" to go to the SBSC scientist directory. When you click on a scientist's name (you may need to scroll down to see all the names), you will be taken to that scientist's professional page and contact information. 

Date published: December 22, 2016
Status: Active

Connectivity of Sand Resources Along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

We study the links among different geomorphic processes that affect river valley landscapes in the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. Dam-released flows affect the deposition and retention of sandbars that serve as sources for other sand resources, such as windblown sand dunes, throughout the Colorado River ecosystem. The degree to which the landscapes are differentially...