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SUSTAINING SITES IN A SEDIMENT-DEPRIVED SYSTEM: DESIGNING A MONITORING PROGRAM TO ASSESS GLEN CANYON DAM EFFECTS ON DOWNSTREAM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN GRAND CANYON

Author(s): Helen Fairley ; Joel Sankey ; Joshua Caster

Year: 2016

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Summary

In 1963, construction of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River was completed, profoundly altering the downstream riverine ecosystem in Grand Canyon National Park. One consequence of the dam and its subsequent operations has been an 85% reduction in the amount of sediment flowing into the Grand Canyon. The paucity of sediment to re-supply sand bars and replenish sand dunes along the river shoreline has not only altered the bio-physical dynamics of the riverine ecosystem but has also affected the physical settings and geomorphologic stability of numerous archaeological sites. For the past decade, US Geological Survey scientists have been exploring various tools and methods to accurately capture the effects of ongoing dam operations on downstream archaeological resources. We are now in the process of developing a comprehensive monitoring plan based on an ecosystem framework and incorporating diverse measurements and classification procedures to objectively assess how current dam operations impact the physical integrity of archaeological sites. Our approach incorporates measurements of topographic change, sediment flux, vegetation growth, local meteorological conditions, and other parameters to help land managers understand how dam operations have affected the eco-geomorphological resilience of sites and to devise appropriate methods to mitigate effects from future dam operations.


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SUSTAINING SITES IN A SEDIMENT-DEPRIVED SYSTEM: DESIGNING A MONITORING PROGRAM TO ASSESS GLEN CANYON DAM EFFECTS ON DOWNSTREAM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN GRAND CANYON. Helen Fairley, Joel Sankey, Joshua Caster. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404724)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America