National Geographic : 1997 Jul
Torrents of water rocketed from outlet tubes at the base of Glen Canyon Dam for seven days in the spring of 1996. The artifi cial flood was designed to marshal sediment from the riverbed to rebuild downstream beaches long eroded by the dam's fluc tuating outflows. More than 50 new beaches were created, only to be threat ened by this year's runoff from a record snowpack in the Rockies. Glen Canyon Dam has been hailed by supporters for its water storage and power generation but denounced as Pandora's dam by environmentalists. Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior, recently decided to reduce the range of fluctuation in the dam's outflows to protect the downstream environ ment from erosion, even though such action limits the dam's ability to generate electricity in periods of peak demand.