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USGS Workshop on Scientific Aspects of a Long-Term Experimental Plan for Glen Canyon Dam, April 10-11, 2007, Flagstaff, Arizona

May 14, 2008

Executive Summary

Glen Canyon Dam is located in the lower reaches of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Colorado River, approximately 15 miles upriver from Grand Canyon National Park (fig. 1). In 1992, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Grand Canyon Protection Act (GCPA; title XVIII, sec. 1801?1809, of Public Law 102-575), which seeks ?to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established.? The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP) was implemented as a result of the 1996 Record of Decision on the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam Final Environmental Impact Statement to ensure that the primary mandate of the GCPA is met through advances in information and resources management (U.S. Department of the Interior, 1995).

On November 3, 2006, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced it would develop a long-term experimental plan environmental impact statement (LTEP EIS) for operational activities at Glen Canyon Dam and other management actions on the Colorado River. The purpose of the long-term experimental plan is twofold: (1) to increase the scientific understanding of the ecosystem and (2) to improve and protect important downstream resources. The proposed plan would implement a structured, longterm program of experimentation to include dam operations, potential modifications to Glen Canyon Dam intake structures, and other management actions such as removal of nonnative fish species. The development of the long-term experimental plan continues efforts begun by the GCDAMP to protect resources downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, including Grand Canyon, through adaptive management and scientific experimentation.

The LTEP EIS will rely on the extensive scientific studies that have been undertaken as part of the adaptive management program by the U.S. Geological Survey?s (USGS) Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC), one of the four research stations within the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center. On April 10 and 11, 2007, at the behest of Reclamation, the GCMRC convened a workshop with scientific experts to identify one or more scientifically credible, long-term experimental options for Reclamation to consider for the LTEP EIS that would be consistent with the purpose and need for the plan. Workshop participants included government, academic, and private scientists with broad experience in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon and regulated rivers around the world. Resource managers and GCDAMP participants were also present on the second day of the workshop.

In advance of the workshop, Reclamation and LTEP EIS cooperating agencies identified 14 core scientific questions. Workshop participants were asked to consider how proposed options would address these questions, which fall primarily into four areas: (1) conservation of endangered humpback chub (Gila cypha) and other high-priority biological resources, (2) conservation of sediment resources, (3) enhancement of recreational resources, and (4) preservation of cultural resources.

A secondary objective of the workshop was the evaluation of four long-term experimental options developed by the GCDAMP Science Planning Group (SPG) (appendix B). The flow and nonflow treatments called for in the four experimental options were an important starting point for workshop discussions.

At the beginning of the workshop, participants were provided with the final LTEP EIS scoping report prepared by Reclamation. Participants were also advised that Reclamation had committed to ?make every effortEto ensure that a new population of humpback chub is established in the mainstem or one or more of the tributaries within Grand Canyon? in the 1995 Operation of Glen Canyon Dam Final Environmental Impact Statement (U.S. Department of the Interior, 1995). This decision was consistent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?s 1995 bi

Publication Year 2008
Title USGS Workshop on Scientific Aspects of a Long-Term Experimental Plan for Glen Canyon Dam, April 10-11, 2007, Flagstaff, Arizona
DOI 10.3133/ofr20081153
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2008-1153
Index ID ofr20081153
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center