Lake Powell

Glen Canyon Dam

The Glen Canyon Dam is a vital link in the Colorado River Storage Project, which is a series of dams and reservoirs along the Colorado River. These dams and their reservoirs work together to provide water, electricity, flood control, and recreation to millions of people. Glen Canyon Dam, built between 1956 and 1966, stands 710' from bedrock and holds back an amazing 26,215,000 acre-feet of water, or 9,000,000,000,000 gallons, when Lake Powell is full.

Glen Canyon Dam has not been without controversy. By changing the Colorado River ecosystem below the dam some of the river's native fish were lost and the entire riparian habitat was changed. Where once Humpback Chub, Colorado Pikeminnow, and other fish lived, now the Rainbow Trout thrives. One thing cannot change in this sensitive environment without causing other changes. We have changed an ecosystem alive with wonders yet gained the benefits of Glen Canyon Dam. It is our duty as human beings to critically evaluate our actions and create a balance between man and the environment.

For more information about the Bureau of Reclamation and Glen Canyon Dam, please see the book, Story That Stands Like a Dam, available online or at our Natural History Store in Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam.