Recently Published Research

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See a complete list of white papers from the Future of the Colorado River Project
White Paper
Research
Colorado River
News
This paper provides an analysis of the accuracy and bias of the 24-Month Study projections for future Lake Powell inflows and elevations and finds that in some years, the most probable projected inflows were higher than what actually occurred by as much a
White Paper 7. Evaluating the Accuracy of Reclamation’s 24-Month Study Lake Powell Projections

White Paper 7. Evaluating the Accuracy of Reclamation’s 24-Month Study Lake Powell Projections

This paper provides an analysis of the accuracy and bias of the 24-Month Study projections for future Lake Powell inflows and elevations and finds that in some years, the most probable projected inflows were higher than what actually occurred by as much a...

Colorado River
Research
Predictions of river channel adjustment to changes in streamflow regime based on relations between mean channel characteristics and mean flood magnitude can be useful to evaluate average channel response.
The Roles Of Flood Magnitude And Duration In Controlling Channel Width And Complexity On The Green River In Canyonlands, Utah, USA | Colorado River Studies

The Roles Of Flood Magnitude And Duration In Controlling Channel Width And Complexity On The Green River In Canyonlands, Utah, USA

Predictions of river channel adjustment to changes in streamflow regime based on relations between mean channel characteristics and mean flood magnitude can be useful to evaluate average channel response.

Colorado River
Research
Many canyon‐bound rivers have downstream flow and water temperatures modified. In some regions, climate change is expected to cause lower storage in reservoirs and warmer release temperatures, which may further alter downstream flow and thermal regimes.
Water Temperature Controls For Regulated Canyon‐Bound Rivers | Colorado River Studies

Water Temperature Controls For Regulated Canyon‐Bound Rivers

Many canyon‐bound rivers have downstream flow and water temperatures modified. In some regions, climate change is expected to cause lower storage in reservoirs and warmer release temperatures, which may further alter downstream flow and thermal regimes.

Research
Colorado River
The sediment supply within a river system evolves depending on the discharge, flood frequency and duration, changes in sediment input, and ecohydraulic conditions that modify sediment transport processes.
Does Channel Narrowing By Floodplain Growth Necessarily Indicate Sediment Surplus? Lessons From Sediment Transport Analyses In The Green And Colorado Rivers, Canyonlands, Utah | Colorado River Studies

Does Channel Narrowing By Floodplain Growth Necessarily Indicate Sediment Surplus? Lessons From Sediment Transport Analyses In The Green And Colorado Rivers, Canyonlands, Utah

The sediment supply within a river system evolves depending on the discharge, flood frequency and duration, changes in sediment input, and ecohydraulic conditions that modify sediment transport processes.

Colorado River
Research
Channels change in response to natural and human-caused fluctuations in streamflow and sediment. Predicting how the channel might change from alterations in streamflow and sediment supply is an important and challenging part of managing a river system.
Measuring Channel Planform Change From Image Time Series: A Generalizable, Spatially Distributed, Probabilistic Method For Quantifying Uncertainty | Colorado River Studies

Measuring Channel Planform Change From Image Time Series: A Generalizable, Spatially Distributed, Probabilistic Method For Quantifying Uncertainty

Channels change in response to natural and human-caused fluctuations in streamflow and sediment. Predicting how the channel might change from alterations in streamflow and sediment supply is an important and challenging part of managing a river system.

Colorado River
Research
During the last 50 years, construction of dams in the western United States declined. This is partly because of increasing recognition of diverse and unintended social-ecological consequences of dams.
Incorporating Social-Ecological Considerations Into Basin-Wide Responses To Climate Change In The Colorado River Basin | Colorado River Studies

Incorporating Social-Ecological Considerations Into Basin-Wide Responses To Climate Change In The Colorado River Basin

During the last 50 years, construction of dams in the western United States declined. This is partly because of increasing recognition of diverse and unintended social-ecological consequences of dams.

Research
News
Colorado River
The lower Green River episodically narrowed between the mid-1930s and present day through deposition of new floodplains within a wider channel that had been established and/or maintained during the early twentieth century pluvial period.
Channel Narrowing By Inset Floodplain Formation Of The Lower Green River In The Canyonlands Region, Utah | Colorado River Studies

Channel Narrowing By Inset Floodplain Formation Of The Lower Green River In The Canyonlands Region, Utah

The lower Green River episodically narrowed between the mid-1930s and present day through deposition of new floodplains within a wider channel that had been established and/or maintained during the early twentieth century pluvial period.

Colorado River
Research
The American West, while steeped in mythology, is also a region that depends heavily on science for its long-term livability—and perhaps no one was quicker to realize that than John Wesley Powell.
Green And Grand: John Wesley Powell And The West That Wasn’t | Colorado River Studies

Green And Grand: John Wesley Powell And The West That Wasn’t

The American West, while steeped in mythology, is also a region that depends heavily on science for its long-term livability—and perhaps no one was quicker to realize that than John Wesley Powell.

Colorado River
Research
An estimate of a river’s natural flow regime is useful for water resource planning and ecosystem rehabilitation by providing insight into the predisturbance form and function of a river.
Estimating The Natural Flow Regime Of Rivers With Long-Standing Development: The Northern Branch Of The Rio GrandeThis Link Will Open In A New Window. | Colorado River Studies

Estimating The Natural Flow Regime Of Rivers With Long-Standing Development: The Northern Branch Of The Rio GrandeThis Link Will Open In A New Window.

An estimate of a river’s natural flow regime is useful for water resource planning and ecosystem rehabilitation by providing insight into the predisturbance form and function of a river.

Research
Colorado River
White Paper
News
The Fill Mead First (FMF) plan would establish Lake Mead reservoir as the primary water storage facility of the main-stem Colorado River and would relegate Lake Powell reservoir to a secondary water storage facility to be used only when Lake Mead is full.
White Paper 1: Fill Mead First: A Technical Assessement | Colorado River Studies

White Paper 1: Fill Mead First: A Technical Assessement

The Fill Mead First (FMF) plan would establish Lake Mead reservoir as the primary water storage facility of the main-stem Colorado River and would relegate Lake Powell reservoir to a secondary water storage facility to be used only when Lake Mead is full....

Colorado River
Research
The Rio Grande in the Big Bend region of Texas, USA, and Chihuahua and Coahuila, Mexico, undergoes rapid geomorphic changes as a result of its large sediment supply and variable hydrology;
Sediment Supply Versus Local Hydraulic Controls On Sediment Transport And Storage In A River With Large Sediment Loads | Colorado River Studies

Sediment Supply Versus Local Hydraulic Controls On Sediment Transport And Storage In A River With Large Sediment Loads

The Rio Grande in the Big Bend region of Texas, USA, and Chihuahua and Coahuila, Mexico, undergoes rapid geomorphic changes as a result of its large sediment supply and variable hydrology;

Research
Colorado River
Abstract Since the 1940s, the Rio Grande in the Big Bend region has undergone long periods of channel narrowing, which have been occasionally interrupted by rare, large floods that widen the channel (termed a channel reset).
The Geomorphic Effectiveness Of A Large Flood On The Rio Grande In The Big Bend Region: Insights On Geomorphic Controls And Post-Flood Geomorphic Response | Colorado River Studies

The Geomorphic Effectiveness Of A Large Flood On The Rio Grande In The Big Bend Region: Insights On Geomorphic Controls And Post-Flood Geomorphic Response

Abstract Since the 1940s, the Rio Grande in the Big Bend region has undergone long periods of channel narrowing, which have been occasionally interrupted by rare, large floods that widen the channel (termed a channel reset).

Research
Colorado River
We conducted stratigraphic, sedimentologic, and dendrogeomorphic analyses within two long floodplain trenches to precisely reconstruct the timing and processes of recent floodplain formation.
Stratigraphic, Sedimentologic, And Dendrogeomorphic Analyses Of Rapid Floodplain Formation Along The Rio Grande In Big Bend National Park, Texas | Colorado River Studies

Stratigraphic, Sedimentologic, And Dendrogeomorphic Analyses Of Rapid Floodplain Formation Along The Rio Grande In Big Bend National Park, Texas

We conducted stratigraphic, sedimentologic, and dendrogeomorphic analyses within two long floodplain trenches to precisely reconstruct the timing and processes of recent floodplain formation.

Research
Colorado River
Over the last century, large-scale water development of the upper Rio Grande in the US and Mexico, and of the Rio Conchos in Mexico, has resulted in progressive channel narrowing of the lower Rio Grande in the Big Bend region.
The Role Of Feedback Mechanisms In Historic Channel Changes Of The Lower Rio Grande In The Big Bend Region | Colorado River Studies

The Role Of Feedback Mechanisms In Historic Channel Changes Of The Lower Rio Grande In The Big Bend Region

Over the last century, large-scale water development of the upper Rio Grande in the US and Mexico, and of the Rio Conchos in Mexico, has resulted in progressive channel narrowing of the lower Rio Grande in the Big Bend region.