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Grand Canyon River Guides’ Adopt-a-Beach Program

In 1996 the Bureau of Land Management undertook the first in a series of “high flow” experiments in the Grand Canyon as a component of its compliance with the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992 (H.R. 429, 102nd Congress). The Grand Canyon Protection Act mandates that Glen Canyon Dam be operated in a manner that protects, mitigates adverse impacts to, and improves the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation were established.  Since then there have been releases in 2004, 2008, and 2012.

One of the major intended effects of the “high flow” experiments have been the replenishing of beaches which have been progressively deteriorating since the Glen Canyon Dam went up and cut off the Grand Canyon’s once ample supply of river sediment.  The boating community took special interest in this aspect of the experiments for obvious reasons; the beaches are our front yards, backyards, bedrooms, and kitchens when we travel downstream!

Around the time of that first experimental release in 1996, a group of guides,  connected through the Grand Canyon River Guides Association, took it upon themselves to organize and implement a beach erosion monitoring program.

The Adopt-a-Beach program is long-term photo matching, beach monitoring effort to document changes in sand deposition resulting from Glen Canyon Dam flows on camping beaches along the Colorado River .  The results are disseminated to strategic river managers including Grand Canyon National Park, the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, and the Grand Canyon Monitoring & Research Center.

Since 1996, the Adopt-a-Beach program has grown to include guide participants from the Grand Canyon guiding community and now actively monitors more than 40 camping beaches throughout the river corridor.

Check out these photos of the Shinumo Wash beach from 2006 and 2011 respectively.  The photo taken in 2006 was following a high flow experiment that year, while in the 2011 photo it had been 5 years since a flood.

Shinumo Wash Camp 2006


Shinumo Wash Camp 2011

If you want more info on the Adopt-a-Beach Program and to find out how you can help out visit their homepage at

Also, don’t forget that members of Grand Canyon River Guides get an additional 5% off of rental gear at Ceiba!

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