This report describes numerical modeling simulations of sand transport and sand budgets for reaches of the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. Two hypothetical Water Year 2011 annual release volumes were each evaluated with six hypothetical operational scenarios. The six operational scenarios include the current operation, scenarios with modifications to the monthly distribution of releases, and scenarios with modifications to daily flow fluctuations. Uncertainties in model predictions were evaluated by conducting simulations with error estimates for tributary inputs and mainstem transport rates. The modeling results illustrate the dependence of sand transport rates and sand budgets on the annual release volumes as well as the within year operating rules. The six operational scenarios were ranked with respect to the predicted annual sand budgets for Marble Canyon and eastern Grand Canyon reaches. While the actual WY 2011 annual release volume and levels of tributary inputs are unknown, the hypothetical conditions simulated and reported herein provide reasonable comparisons between the operational scenarios, in a relative sense, that may be used by decision makers within the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program.
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Evaluation of Water Year 2011 Glen Canyon Dam Flow Release Scenarios on Downstream Sand Storage along the Colorado River in Arizona