#ColoradoRiver: Interior Department Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management

Glen Canyon Dam releases. Photo via Twitter and Reclamation
Glen Canyon Dam releases. Photo via Twitter and Reclamation

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Marlon Duke):

The U.S. Department of the Interior today released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan (LTEMP) for Glen Canyon Dam operations. The LTEMP will provide a framework for adaptively managing Glen Canyon Dam over the next 20 years with the goal of creating certainty and predictability for water and power users while protecting environmental and cultural resources in Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River ecosystem.

“The Colorado River and Grand Canyon National Park are vital resources in the Western United States, and the spirit of cooperation and commitment to their protection and preservation is exemplary,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor. “This work reflects the dedication and expertise of the Department’s Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service as well as our state, local and tribal partners who have worked through the complex challenges we face in protecting our finite resources.”

The FEIS presents a thorough analysis of complex river processes and interests and identifies a preferred alternative that ensures Glen Canyon Dam will continue to meet its purposes while improving downstream resources and recreational experiences.

This is the first Environmental Impact Statement for Glen Canyon Dam since 1995 and it marks an ongoing focus on balancing project purposes with natural and cultural resources protection. Today’s release culminates an open and transparent process based on the best-available science, extensive public involvement and active collaboration with stakeholders, cooperating agencies and traditionally associated tribes. Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service jointly led the FEIS completion in coordination with 15 cooperating agencies—including three federal and six non-federal agencies and six American Indian Tribes. In addition to addressing suggestions, concerns and comments from those cooperating agencies, the FEIS fully considered all comments received during a 122-day public review and comment period that ended on May 9, 2016.

The FEIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and evaluated potential environmental impacts of seven alternatives—including one no-action alternative that would continue operation as guided by the previous 1996 Record of Decision. The FEIS team identified a preferred alternative that improves river system conditions and minimizes adverse impacts to downstream natural, recreational and cultural resources while meeting obligations for water delivery and hydroelectric power generation. The preferred alternative continues high-flow experiments linked to adaptive triggers such as sediment and hydrology and includes fish conservation and management tools to improve fisheries and the aquatic food base.

LTEMP and this FEIS support the ongoing focus of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, which includes a diverse group of 25 river system stakeholders. The FEIS team received letters expressing support for the preferred alternative from the seven Basin States, National Parks Conservation Association, Western Area Power Administration, Navajo Nation, river rafting guides and many members of the public.

The FEIS Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on Friday, October 7. The Department of the Interior will issue a final Record of Decision following a minimum 30-day public review period. The Record of Decision will select the alternative that will be implemented and discuss all factors leading to that decision.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement is available online at: http://ltempeis.anl.gov.

Compact disc copies of the document are also available at the following locations:

  • J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
    295 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
  • Cline Library, Northern Arizona University
    1001 S. Knoles Drive, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011
  • Burton Barr Central Library
    1221 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85004
  • Page Public Library
    479 South Lake Powell Blvd., Page, Arizona 86040
  • Grand County Library, Moab Branch
    257 East Center Street, Moab, Utah 84532
  • Sunrise Library
    5400 East Harris Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89110
  • Denver Public Library
    10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado 80204
  • Natural Resources Library, U.S. Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street NW, Main Interior Building, Washington, DC 20240
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