Scientists struggle to preserve Grand Canyon wildlife

The Grand Canyon needs more water.

That’s the assessment of a U.S. Geological Survey report that studied the results of a 2008 experiment. A controlled flood let more water through Glen Canyon Dam in order to replicate the effects of annual flooding from before the dam was built. Sediment from the flood increased the size of sandbars along the path of the river. These sandbars are an essential habitat for the plants and animals living in the canyon and also make handy beaches for weary hikers who have just made it to the bottom.

Unfortunately, the sandbars all but washed away after six months. The USGS and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar are calling for regular controlled floods, especially in spring when the tributaries of the Colorado River naturally flood, and March in order to stop seeds from the nonnative tamarisk from germinating and helping native trout as they grow to maturity. The Glen Canyon Dam was built in the 1960s amid a major controversy over how it would change the river. Several local species have drastically reduced in number because of changes to water temperature and flow.

The problem is, the dam on the Colorado River is a major source of hydroelectric power, and any flooding would reduce the amount of electricity generated. It’s a classic case of industry vs. environmentalism, but the huge amount of money generated from tourism to the Grand Canyon may mean the environmentalists have the money on their side for a change.

Gadlinks for Friday 11.27.2009

It’s Black Friday! I hope you all survived the mall madness. We can look forward to more Christmas lights and even more shopping deals through the weekend and then Cyber Monday! It will be an exciting few days for sure. Here are a few exciting travel reads from across the web, too.

‘Til Monday, have a great weekend. Don’t spend too much money!

More Gadlinks here.

Charlton Heston movie trivia and travel

When I read that Charlton Heston died last night, an image of him parting the Red Sea as Moses crossed my mind. “The Ten Commandments” was on TV just two weeks ago. While channel flipping, I came across it and he was just getting ready to hold up that staff. According to the New York Times article, the scene where he came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandment tablets was filmed at Mount Sinai.

Planet of the Apes” has several locations you can also go to and might recognize if you watch the movie. The scene with the top of the Statue of Liberty resting in the sand was filmed in a cove near Point Dume at Zuma in Malibu. The rest of the desert scenes were filmed around Lake Powell (where the spaceship crashed and the crew went to land), Glen Canyon and Page, Utah. I’ve driven through these places and they are gorgeous. I can imagine back in the 60s they were less traveled than today. Malibu Creek State Park was where the ape village was built. Fox Studios use to own the property. Here’s Charlton Heston’s World, a Web site I came across that has several “Planet of the Apes” photos and audio clips.

Other trivia. If you head to Rome, you’ll be near where the chariot race in “Ben-Hur “was filmed at Cinecittà Studios and the Sistine Chapel where Heston played Michaelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy.

As an interesting aside, not movie related, Charlton Heston was involved in the Civil Rights March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. With Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination 40 years-ago, just the day before yesterday, and Heston’s death the day after, that struck me. I don’t know why. It just did.

Photo of the Day (2/19/2007)

Well, the Gadling Flickr site seems to be down right now…or all of Flickr is currently down (“taking a massage” they tell us), so I had to do some looking around in other places for our Photo of the Day.

I came across this incredible photo of Glen Canyon Dam. I’d read in an Outside Magazine piece a long time ago how much the water had fallen at Glen Canyon, but this is remarkable. But in the same way that smog can sometimes create the most lovely sunsets, the reduced water level makes for a fantastic picture here of a boat cruising up the Colorado River.