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A Contest to Re-Engineer Glen Canyon Dam to Reconnect the Colorado River through Glen and Grand Canyons.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED (1/26/2023)! See Press Release Posted Here


Climate change and overuse of Colorado River water have brought the levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead to historic lows. As stakeholders of the Colorado River Basin rush to find solutions to address the western water crisis, calls to phase out Lake Powell reservoir have grown louder. With Lake Powell at 27% of its storage capacity, and downstream Lake Mead at 30% capacity, there is no longer enough water to fill either reservoir, and the intended purpose of Glen Canyon Dam, to store excess water, is significantly less applicable to today’s hydrology as well as all future predictions of hydrology. 

Re-engineering Glen Canyon Dam to reconnect the Colorado River through Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon could have vast benefits to the ecosystems of Glen and Grand Canyons. Further, alternatives to Colorado River management that no longer rely on, or use, Lake Powell could negate the need to make large leases or purchases of farm water in the Upper or Lower Basin simply to try and save Lake Powell.

The “Rewilding the Colorado River Contest” is seeking engineering alternatives for Glen Canyon Dam that would allow for a “run of river” regime through or around Glen Canyon Dam with consideration to:

  • cost effectiveness
  • public safety
  • sediment flow
  • recreation
  • possible hydropower production
  • fish migration upstream and downstream
  • habitat restoration in Glen and Grand Canyons. 

The contest seeks white paper proposals (no more than 20 pages) that describe a technical approach, including cost estimates and drawings, to these challenges. The contest is open to engineering students and companies, as well as anyone who has an interest in rewilding and ecological restoration.

The Rewilding Contest is sponsored by:

  • Tick Segerblom, Clark County Commissioner, Nevada
  • Daniel P. Beard, former Commissioner U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • John Fielder, Nature Photographer
  • Save the Colorado
  • Glen Canyon Institute
  • Great Basin Water Network
  • Living Rivers
  • Doug Gillingham, Gillingham Water
  • Paul Wolfehagen, Wolfes Demolition
  • Many Fold Foundation
  • (If you’d like to donate $$$ to the prize, contact Gary Wockner:

Judges will be up to 3 engineering professors and/or ecological specialists with skill and expertise in the issue.

Winners will be announced at the Dec. 2022 Colorado River Water Users Association Conference.

Relevant Glen Canyon Dam Design Documents below (linked for download): 

Glen Canyon Dam (fact sheet)

Email proposals as one pdf to:



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