Your comments on the LTEMP will help shape the way the river corridor in the Grand Canyon will look for decades to come - in terms of ecology, cultural site preservation, and recreation. Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan EIS Information Center
is the place to go to register your views.
In that connection, I was asked by GCPBA to work with them on putting together some talking points for the LTEMP scoping meetings attended by Wally Rist, the GCPBA President. He suggested this summary of those items might be useful in connection with the above information posted by Ricardo.
For context, folks should note that at these meetings, GCPBA was not trying to make a lot of specific operational recommendations, but rather to set forth some fundamental principles to be used in developing and evaluating various management options.
Do No Harm:
First, and foremost, whatever program is adopted should not further damage the canyon's ecological, recreational, and cultural features. Preservation first, and then restoration when possible.
Reliance on Scientific Findings:
LTEMP alternatives must be scientifically defensible and credible, with well defined hypotheses, building on what has been learned from GCRMC and other prior related activity.
Ecosystem Management/Plan Adaptability:
The Plan should provide a foundation for an ongoing, science-based pursuit of long-term sustainability for the cultural, natural, and recreational resources of the GC river corridor, and serve as the catalyst for achieving an adaptive ecosystem management approach that accords with the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992.
A central component of the GC boating experience is riverside camping on beaches, which have been dramatically reduced in size and number by the Dam’s flow regimes. Beaches must be preserved and restored, in order to maintain the ability of boaters (and backpackers in some locations) to camp in all reaches of the river. Any new flow regime also should acknowledge the adverse operational and boating safety implications of dramatic volume differentials.
The Plan should seek to establish a navigable river that mimics natural, seasonal flows. This would entail minimal day-to-day fluctuations, but with predictable, increase/decrease scenarios as needed. Any such flow regime should incorporate occasional pulses of higher water mimicking flash flood events, such as to facilitate sediment transport from the Paria and Little Colorado tributaries.
Recreational and tribal parties have long-standing involvement in, and legitimate future concerns regarding, the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. These groups should be more fully and proportionately represented in the deliberative and decision-making components of the management program.
RECOMMENDED PLAN ELEMENTS
1. Test the “best case scenario” presented in the article, “Is There Enough Sand? Evaluating the Fate of Grand Canyon Sandbars”, as proposed by USGS scientists.
2. Develop a protocol for expedited approval of increased volume flows when the Paria, Little Colorado, or other major sediment sources are injecting large amounts of sediment into the main river.
3. Ensure that the Plan limits the rate of increase/decrease in flow rates, to promote boater safety and beach preservation and enhancement.
4. Design intervening flows (between any scheduled high flow events) that maximize sediment retention on beaches and backwater areas, for the benefit of campers, preservation of cultural features, and maintenance of a healthy ecosystem favoring native biota.
5. Within applicable treaty obligations, ensure that minimum flows are no less than the long term average base flow of the river, and that they parallel the seasons when those historic base flows occurred.
GCPBA is still refining its position as more information is received and analyzed. So this may not represent the final version of what it submits. But it should give readers an idea of the direction the organization is taking on this issue. Please give this some thought and contribute your ideas to the process at the above web site.