Glen Canyon Dam: Long Term Management Plan

from Joe Miller

Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Alert
Glen Canyon Dam (Lees Ferry) Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS)
Comment Period January 8 – April 7, 2016

LTEMP DEIS
The National Park Service, both Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, and the Bureau of Reclamation have released on January 8, 2016 the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Long Term Experimentation and Management Plan (LTEMP) for the Glen Canyon Dam which will have control over the flows and conditions of Arizona’s Colorado River Lees Ferry Blue Ribbon Rainbow Trout Fishery for effectively the next 20 years. A PUBLIC Comment Period is now open on that DEIS. That comment period will continue now through April 7, 2016. There will be Public Meetings in both Flagstaff and Tempe in February in which the NPS / BOR will present the contents of the DEIS, with charts, Graphs, maps, and the rationale behind the Draft contents. Comments can be submitted at those February meetings, or in writing, or via the internet.

Lees Ferry Recreational Trout Fishery Management Recommendations
A number of member organizations of AZSFWC such as members the Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited (AZ-TU), the Arizona Fly Casters, and several other fly fishing clubs especially the Desert Fly Casters have worked long and hard with the formal sponsorship of the Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited and the International Federation of Fly Fishers and with the strong support of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), to influence the direction and content of this long expected document. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has provided invaluable assistance. Many other organizations, ranging from many members of the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, to the guides and guiding businesses around Lees Ferry, to the Orvis Company, have also endorsed this effort.

That working group, with its many contributors, has developed and distributed a Lees Ferry Recreational Trout Fishery Management Recommendations Report (See at www.az-tu.org). That report has been used as a basis for the new and formally issued AZGFD Fisheries Management Plan for Lees Ferry, and has been vetted by the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center in Flagstaff (GCMRC). The working group continues to advocate for and support the use of those Recommendations in the Adaptive Management Plan (GCDAMP) Work Group (AMWG) for the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam, an on-going Department of the Interior effort that is related to but separate from the LTEMP DEIS.

We recognize this is all somewhat confusing to a sportsperson who just wants to enjoy fishing in Lees Ferry, BUT IT’S NOT OVER YET!!!!! Many of the concerns and issues addressed in the Recommendations report are subject to restrictions and findings in the Draft EIS, BUT that DEIS is still just a draft, and WE can get it CHANGED, if we GO TO those meetings and / or SEND IN well thought out comments, based on the Recommendations Plan.

The Working Group is continuing to work with AZGFD, GCMRC, the NPS, BOR, USFWS, the Western Area Power Authority (WAPA) and the several states’ Water Boards and other organizations to hopefully make the final EIS more Rainbow Trout Fishery Friendly. We’ve made progress, but there’s more to do. We will be providing guidelines on key issues and problems we’ve identified in the DEIS (The DEIS and attachments totals about 2,000 pages). We’ll have those “Talking Points” out shortly, with a “How to Comment” guide, in plenty of time to submit comments BEFORE the April 7th Deadline.

The DEIS is available for reviewing on the internet at: http://ltempeis.anl.gov/.

In the Meantime, Anybody interested in The Lees Ferry Fishery should go to one of those Public Meetings, and express their desires and concerns with what they see and hear.

Public meetings and webinars to provide information and receive written comments will be held as follows:

  • Webinar – Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. MST;
  • Public Meeting – Monday, February 22, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. MST, Flagstaff, Arizona;
  • Public Meeting – Thursday, February 25, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. MST, Phoenix, Arizona; and
  • Webinar – Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. MST.

Staff will be available to take written comments and answer questions during this time.

For specific information about the web-based meetings, please refer to the LTEMP EIS website at: http://ltempeis.anl.gov/.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by the following methods:

  • Website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/LTEMPEIS.
  • Mail: Glen Canyon Dam LTEMP Draft EIS, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue – EVS/240, Argonne, Illinois 60439.

Public meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • Flagstaff – USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, 2255 N. Gemini Road, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001.
  • Phoenix – Embassy Suites Phoenix-Tempe, 4400 S. Rural Road, Tempe, Arizona 85282.

We’ll have more information available for the March AZSFWC Newsletter, with suggested comments guidelines and a simplified process to submit comments to help protect and improve this valuable Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery. For information in the meantime, contact AZ-TU Council Member Joe Miller, jam@prairietriz.com, or 928-978-1315 (m).