GLEN CANYON INSTITUTE ACTION ALERT – Help Save Grand Canyon!

GLEN CANYON INSTITUTE ACTION ALERT
Help save Grand Canyon!
Attend a meeting next week in UT, NV, or CO 
“We need to make use of the latest science to develop and implement a structured, long-term management plan for the Glen Canyon Dam that adheres to the Law of the River, respects the interests of the tribal nations, and sustains the health of the Grand Canyon and the communities that depend on its water, consistent with the Grand Canyon Protection Act.”
— Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, July 5, 2011
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the National Park Service (NPS) are preparing a “Glen Canyon Dam Long-term Experimental and Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement” (LTEMP EIS). This will be the first comprehensive review of Glen Canyon Dam operations in 15 years. The LTEMP EIS will be used to produce a new Glen Canyon Dam Long-term Experimental and Management Plan (LTEMP) that directs operations for another 15 to 20 years. This is a rare window of opportunity for the public to speak out for the restoration and protection of the Grand Canyon.
The LTEMP EIS process is now in its first phase — “scoping,” which gives the public the chance to identify and comment on important issues that should be included in the LTEMP EIS. In 2013, a draft EIS (DEIS) will be released for public review and comment. A final EIS (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) are planned for publication toward the end of 2013.
Attend a public scoping meeting if you can. Meetings are being held in six cities in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. If you cannot attend a meeting in person, you can still submit written scoping comments until December 30, 2011. Your input can make a big difference in this early stage of the process.
BACKGROUND
Glen Canyon Dam has been a disaster for the Grand Canyon. The dam traps most of the sediment that used to travel downstream and prevents natural river flows. As a result, the Grand Canyon’s beaches, sand bars, and wildlife habitats are eroding away. Several native fish species, including the humpback chub, have become endangered.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress responded to the growing crisis by passing the Grand Canyon Protection Act (GCPA), which directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary)
“to operate Glen Canyon Dam…in such a manner as to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established, including, but not limited to natural and cultural resources and visitor use.”
In 1996, the Secretary initiated the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (AMP) to monitor dam operations and to recommend changes in those operations to protect the Grand Canyon. The AMP has supported important scientific study. However, it has failed to recommend any significant changes in the operation of Glen Canyon Dam. As a result, the health of the Grand Canyon has continued to decline.
This lack of action to protect the Grand Canyon is largely due to pressure from entrenched water and power interests. Now, Secretary Salazar has launched the LTEMP EIS process in an attempt to finally bring Glen Canyon Dam operations in line with the mandate of the GCPA. If entrenched special interests continue to dominate the discussion, the agencies are likely to largely maintain the status quo. The public needs to send a strong message that the LTEMP EIS must include a full and honest assessment that lays the groundwork for the protection and restoration of the Grand Canyon.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Speak out for the strongest possible Glen Canyon Dam Long-term Experimental and Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement! BOR and NPS have created an LTEMP EIS website with information on the process and how the public can get involved. Visit: http://ltempeis.anl.gov/index.cfm
Several public scoping meetings with agency officials are scheduled.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Salt Lake City, UT
Hilton Salt Lake City Center
255 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Las Vegas, NV
Ramada Las Vegas
325 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89169
Thursday, November 17, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Lakewood, CO
Sheraton Denver West Hotel
360 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80228
There will also be a web-based meeting at 1 p.m. Mountain Time on November 15, 2011, in which the public will be able to link via the Internet.
To register online for the meetings, visit http://ltempeis.anl.gov/involve/pubschedule/index.cfm
If you attend a meeting, you should have an opportunity to make very brief verbal comments. Or, you can also submit written comments at a meeting, on the web, or by mail. To submit comments on the web using the public comment form, go to http://ltempeis.anl.gov/involve/commentintro/index.cfm. Alternatively, comments can be mailed to: Glen Canyon Dam LTEMP EIS Scoping, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Ave. – EVS/240, Argonne IL 60439
MAJOR POINTS TO RAISE
The following are some key points to make regarding the LTEMP EIS. You can use these points at one of the public scoping meetings, or you can incorporate them into written comments. There are other important issues, and GCI will be including them in a more detailed set of comments before the December 30 deadline. If you are interested in receiving our detailed comments, please contact GCI info@glencanyon.org, or 801-363-4450.
  • Climate change. The current plan of operation for Glen Canyon Dam was created with no consideration of the potential impacts of human-induced climate change. All alternatives in the LTEMP EIS need to take this factor into account and consider methods for ensuring the delivery of adequate water flows from Glen Canyon Dam to fulfill the BOR’s obligations under the Grand Canyon Protection Act and other laws.
  • Water conservation. In a time of declining water flows in the Colorado River, the LTEMP EIS needs to analyze the impacts of these reduced flows on management of the Grand Canyon ecosystem, and consider changes in dam operations to increase water efficiency. This should include consideration of Glen Canyon Institute’s Fill Mead First proposal, which would shift primary water storage from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. This approach could reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation and seepage and allow greater flexibility for Grand Canyon restoration strategies.
  • Natural river restoration. The LTEMP EIS should assess the potential for restoring both natural water and sediment flows by opening new tunnels to bypass Glen Canyon Dam. This was considered but rejected during the last EIS process. However, it may be the only way to ensure the long-term restoration of the Grand Canyon ecosystem.
  • Sediment augmentation. With Glen Canyon Dam preventing most sediment from entering the Grand Canyon, there has been continuing erosion of beaches and sand bar deposits for decades. The “high-flow experiment” strategy now being used has not solved this problem. The LTEMP EIS should consider the feasibility of augmenting the sediment supply to Grand Canyon by mechanically bypassing Glen Canyon Dam.
For more information, please contact Glen Canyon Institute at  info@glencanyon.org, or by calling the office at 801-363-4450.


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