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206 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Are you interested in how Glen Canyon Dam is operated for the next 25 years?

If you are not, you should be. It will definitely influence the quality of the experience and could very easily have a major impact on the access. Not to mention impact on environment, beaches, etc.

Please click on the link below and learn how you can have input. Your GCPBA board members will be attending many of the scoping meetings (scroll down and click on scoping meeting schedule) coming up very shortly. We could use your input.

If you do attend any of the meetings please be sure to introduce yourself to board members and make sure the BOR knows that you and your group, GCPBA, are interested in protecting the resource.

Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan EIS Information Center

Wally Rist
Ensure the ability for all to obtain an opportunity to experience a float trip through the Grand Canyon while protecting the resource. - Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association

1,031 Posts
One Guy's Thoughts


To start with, here is a link to a FAQ about the process. Frequently Asked Questions After these scoping meetings (which are under way now), there is a period for public comment, which ends December 30th.

I don't know what GCPBA will do, but as I look at it, there are a number of things that the people formulating the plan ought to include in their thinking.

1. First, they ought to grant an extension of that 12/30 date. The announcement for the scheduled meetings only came out on 10/17 and with the holidays coming on, this simply isn't enough time for people to read things like this The State of the Colorado River Ecosystem in Grand Canyon , and this . Both of them are important documents among hundreds of others, and people need time to absorb them, and then put together cogent responses.

2. Dam operations have always negatively impacted the river environment in GC, but intelligent flow management can help moderate those impacts, even if an unnatural ecology continues.

3. In addition to promoting conditions that do no more harm to the wider ecosystem and preserve cultural sites, a flow regime that promotes beach building and safe boating conditions is a highly desirable goal.

4. There is a lot of science already in hand on this topic, much of it accumulated by GC Research and MonitoringCenter. Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center: Home Whatever is done ought to accord with that science, and still be flexible enough to allow change as new facts and other circumstances emerge.

5. Tribal and river user interests are significantly under-represented in the current management scheme; that should change. Right now the power and water agencies have a clear upper hand in setting policy on dam releases and other issues.

6. The plan ought to at least look at the options out there for injecting more sediment into the river below the dam, even if none seem to me to be practical or affordable in today's political climate.

7. There ought to be a way to have quickie higher volume releases when the Paria and LCR are pumping silt -- a time when beach building would be more effective that trying to get high flows to pick sand up off the river bottom.

8. The USGS article linked to above shows clearly that a steady medium volume release would -- over a long time -- re-build a great many of the beaches. That option should be at or near the top of the list, in my view.

Long answer, but maybe it will help you start forming your input, which I surely hope you provide. This issue is of vital importance to the long-term survival of the GC river corridor.


Rich Phillips

206 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Do you have suggestions regarding particular issues on which I should comment?
Here are a few for you. The following points should be considered in the LTEMP EIS (in no particular order):

1. Define & ensure a substantial role for the Grand Canyon Monitoring & Research Center (GCRMC) within the LTEMP EIS process.

2. Maintain or improve the quality of recreational experiences for users of the Colorado River.

3. Focus on protecting, preserving, and improving all of the downstream resources, such as camping beaches, cultural sites, and flora & fauna.

4. The high flow protocol should be a well defined key component of LTEMP alternatives.

5. Design ntervening flows (between high flows) that maximize sediment retention on beaches and backwater areas for the benefit of campers and native biota.

6. LTEMP alternatives must be scientifically defensible and credible with well defined hypotheses, building on what we have learned from GCRMC and LTEMP implementation.

7. The LTEMP must be based on an adaptive ecosystem management approach.

8. Include an alternative to test seasonally adjusted steady flows that includes sediment triggered beach and habitat building flows based on the closest approximation of the pre-dam hydrograph.

9. Consider minimum flows no less than the long-term base flow of the Colorado River.

10..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. Particularly in regard to rebuilding and maintaining sandbars.


11. Consider options that include adding sediment below the dam consistent with a pre-dam sediment profile.

12. Consider triggering flood flows based partly on distributing sediments from the LCR and Paria Rivers when those tributaries are supplying large amounts of sediment.

13. Restore historic water quality regarding temperature profiles, pH, and native fish species.

14. Limit the rate of increase/decrease of flow rates to promote boater safety and beach preservation and enhancement.

1,031 Posts

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.

Recreational Values:

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.

Operational Issues:

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.


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.


Rich Phillips
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