With Lake Powell Depleted by Drought, Enviros Push to Drain It

Environmentalists have long loathed Lake Powell, created in the 1960s by damming the Colorado River and drowning beautiful Glen Canyon in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Now, with drought having depleted the lake to its lowest level in 30 years, enviros are feeling energized in their push to tear down Glen Canyon Dam and begin restoring the canyon to its once-glorious natural state. Richard Ingebretsen, anti-dam crusader and president of the Glen Canyon Institute, argues that the lake is inefficient, losing 1 million acre-feet of water a year to evaporation and bank seepage, and that sediment build-up from the dam is causing serious ecological damage. His group, which works with the Sierra Club and others, is preparing a lawsuit aimed at forcing the feds to conduct an environmental impact study of the dam and lake. Residents of Page, Ariz., a town that serves many of Lake Powell’s 2.5 million annual visitors, are fierce opponents of plans to decommission the dam.