The following statement was written by gcrg's
representatives in the Adaptive Management Program (amp) with reviews
and editing by the gcrg Board of Directors, to provide input into development
of the Adaptive Management Program Strategic Plan. It will be integrated
into a common narrative vision for future resource conditions presently
being put together by all stakeholders in the program. We are open to
Gcrg offers this statement to guide refinement of Management Objectives
for the amp Strategic Plan. We believe this statement is consistent with
National Park Service policy, tenets of conservation biology, and goals
of the river-runner constituency in Grand Canyon National Park.
We support a scientifically grounded definition of “ecosystem management”
as the guiding principle for adaptive management, and a comprehensive
understanding of the economics associated with management of the dam and
environment downstream. This understanding should include local, regional
and national valuation of hydropower, recreational, and social values
relating to the Colorado River ecosystem.
Our near-term vision for river and dam management includes, but is not
1) a dynamic river ecosystem characterized by ecological patterns and
processes operating within their range of natural variability.
2) numerous campable sand bars distributed throughout the canyon within
a scour zone between the 8,000– 35,000 cfs level, built and maintained
by habitat maintenance and beach-habitat building flows timed to maximize
utilization of sediment input.
3) annual variations in water temperature, quality, and chemistry that
parallel natural patterns, with contingency plans for mitigation of any
unforeseen introduction of hazardous materials from outside sources.
4) a diverse “new high water zone”
biotic community dominated by native species, and a healthy “old
high water zone” biotic community to help preserve ancient cultural
features located in the high terraces.
5) a thriving community of native fishes, mammals, and invertebrates.
6) increased communication and involvement with Native American tribes
to better respect and integrate their concerns.
7) preservation and enhancement of recreational opportunities and minimal
impact of research activities on the river ecosystem. Wilderness qualities
of the river corridor are highly valued for their remarkable length, breadth
and unbroken primitive character. Wilderness experiences and benefits
available here include natural sounds and quiet of the desert and river,
solitude, connection to nature, personal contemplation, joy, excitement
and renewal for extended time periods in a unique environment outside
the trappings of civilization. This combination of qualities make the
river corridor an irreplaceable, one of a kind, national and international
In the long-term we foresee growing problems from reservoir sedimentation,
erosion of fine-grained sediment and subsequent loss of habitat from the
river ecosystem. As the Colorado River ecosystem loses its beaches, it
will also continue to lose value as a world-class recreational resource.
Our unsustainable use of this river and its ecosystem is becoming more
obvious. Consequently, we have a greater responsibility to advise the
Secretary on both short and long-term ramifications of our actions, and
provide innovative approaches for establishing sustainable systems. We
wish to protect and restore the Colorado River ecosystem, and preserve
the unique, highly-valued, but endangered experience opportunities available
there for future generations.
Andre Potochnik & Matt Kaplinski