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Aquatic Insect Monitoring in Grand Canyon

The goal of this project is monitoring the health of the Colorado River ecosystem and its response to flow management from dams, particularly Glen Canyon Dam. Since 2012, our group has been collaborating with Grand Canyon river guides, private boaters, educational groups, and other citizen scientists to deploy light traps that collect adult aquatic insects, which are used by USGS scientists to understand how dam operations affect ecosystem health. Our results demonstrate that the abundance and diversity of aquatic insects in the Colorado River is constrained by hydropower production at Glen Canyon Dam, which informed the design of experimental Bug Flows that have been released from Glen Canyon Dam in 2018 to 2020 to try to improve the health of the Colorado River ecosystem.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Project Status: Active - recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Specimen/sample collection,

Start Date: 04/01/2012

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

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Other Federal Government Sponsor: Bureau of Reclamation (USBR)

Fields of Science: Animals, Biology, Ecology and environment, Education, Nature and outdoors, Science Policy

Intended Outcomes: Monitor health of the Colorado River ecosystem in Grand Canyon and identify cost-effective environmental flow strategies at Glen Canyon Dam that can improve ecosystem health.