U.S. studies experimental operations plan for 1,312-MW Glen Canyon

The Bureau of Reclamation is preparing an environmental impact statement on a proposed long-term plan for experimental operation of 1,312-MW Glen Canyon Dam. Comments are due Feb. 28.

The plan will build on a decade of experimentation and monitoring by the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. The program’s federal advisory committee has developed recommendations that will be incorporated into the EIS. A draft EIS is expected in April 2008, followed by a final EIS and record of decision by December 2008.

BuRec said the adaptive management program has made significant progress in understanding the relationship between Glen Canyon Dam operations and the resources of the Grand Canyon. The program’s work group proposed actions over the past decade such as a high-flow release of water from the dam in 2004 to rebuild riparian and fish habitat in the Grand Canyon.

The proposed plan is expected to increase understanding of the downstream ecosystem and to improve and protect downstream resources, including the Grand Canyon. The plan would implement a structured long-term program of experimentation that could include dam operations, potential modifications to the dam’s intake structures, and removal of non-native fish species in the Colorado River below the dam.

The EIS process implements provisions of a settlement agreement between the U.S. government, Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental groups. Additional information about the EIS, including copies of Federal Register notices and background information, is available under Quick Links on the Upper Colorado Region Internet site, www.usbr.gov/uc.

Written comments may be submitted through Feb. 28 to Regional Director, Upper Colorado Region, Bureau of Reclamation, Attention: UC-402, 125 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84138-1147; E-mail: GCDExpPlan@uc.usbr.gov.

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