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Colorado River Mile System, Grand Canyon, Arizona

February 22, 2019

These data represent the centerline and measured increments at hundredths, tenths and whole miles, along the centerline of the Colorado River beginning at Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Arizona and terminating near the inflow s of Lake Mead in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona, USA. The centerline was digitized using Color Infra-Red (CIR) orthophotography collected in March 2000 as source information and a LiDAR-derived river shoreline representing 8,000 cubic feet per second (CFS)as the defined extent of the river. Every effort was made to follow the main flow of the river while keeping the line approximately equidistant from both shorelines. The centerline feature class has been created to more accurately map locations along the Colorado River downstream of the Glen Canyon Dam. River miles and river kilometers were developed from measurements along this line. The incremental point feature classes were derived from the centerline of the Colorado River datasets. Specifically, the points were generated from nodes extracted from the centerline endpoints of the tenth mile line feature class. The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) river mileage was cross-checked with commercially available river guides and always fell within one mile of the guides, usually corresponding within a half mile. Additionally, these data were subjected to internal review by GCMRC scientists and commercial boatmen with decades of river travel experience on the Colorado River. River Mile 0 was measured from the USGS concrete gage and cableway at Lees Ferry, Arizona -- as per the Colorado River Compact of 1922 -- with negative river mile numbers used in Glen Canyon and positive river mile numbers downstream in Marble and Grand Canyons. These data were updated in March 2015 using newer ortho-rectified imagery collected in May of 2009 and 2013, both at approximately 8,000 CFS. Due to extended drought conditions that have persisted in the U.S. Southwest, lake levels have dropped dramatically, especially at Lake Mead. A stretch of the Colorado River corridor that was part of Lake Mead in year 2000 has returned to a flowing river once again, and with a different channel that has not previously existed. All changes to the original centerline are downstream of River Mile 260 which is just upstream of Quartermaster Canyon in western Grand Canyon. New river miles and river kilometers were developed from this updated centerline.

Publication Year 2019
Title Colorado River Mile System, Grand Canyon, Arizona
DOI 10.5066/P9IRL3GV
Authors Thomas Gushue
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center - Flagstaff, AZ, Headquarters