Reduced flows likely as aerial survey of Colorado River begins on Sunday

Local News

LAUGHLIN, NV – FEBRUARY 5: The Arizona side of the Colorado River is viewed from Harrah’s Hotel & Casino on February 5, 2019 in Laughlin, Nevada. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Aircraft will be flying at low levels below Hoover Dam and near Laughlin at Davis Dam as an aerial survey is conducted beginning Sunday, Nov. 21, and lasting until Dec. 20.

The survey will collect high-resolution imagery recording water depths of the lower Colorado River. The “topo-bathymetry data” will be used in a variety of ways.

The Bureau of Reclamation is conducting the survey using contractors who are permitted to make the low-level flights using specially trained, experienced pilots, according to a Friday news release.

“Anyone observing the low-flying plane should not be alarmed if they see it fly overhead or pass below the horizon,” according to the bureau.

People on the river — particularly below Davis Dam — may notice low river flows as the survey is conducted. Officials said access to the Colorado River will be “very limited” during low-flow periods.

The bureau notes that Tuesday, Nov. 23, will see very limited flow below Davis Dam from 6 a.m. to noon PST.

Hourly reservoir releases and river levels may vary more than usual. “Although these releases fall within normal operational parameters, all river users should be aware that lower than normal river flows may expose or create natural hazards such as sandbars, gravel bars, unstable riverbanks, floating or submerged debris, or other unfamiliar obstacles, and should exercise caution,” according to the news release.

More information on releases from Davis and Parker Dams can be found on Reclamation’s River Operations website: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/DavisParkerSchedules.pdf.

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