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3 Historical Context for Long-Term Management of Glen Canyon Dam The federal government agencies with a stake in the operation of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River states have concentrated on two related questions: How should the dam be managed, and how should the impact of its operations be monitored? These questions cannot be answered, however, until a third question is raised and answered: For what objectives should the dam be managed? This question was never clearly addressed by the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies (GCES) or by the dam's managers or other interested parties. The environmental impact statement (EIS) on the op- eration of Glen Canyon Dam (BOR, 1995) suggests that the dam should operate in a way that minimizes adverse effects on endangered species, recreation, and cultural resources to the extent that this can be done without substantially modi~ing the traditional operating priorities for the dam. The Law of the River is the legal accretion of juclicial, legislative, and compact resolutions of historic conflicts among diverse user groups (NRC, 1991~. Mitigation is a logical counterpart to the Law of the River, but it is too narrow a perspective for the management of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The expanding demand for use of the river has produced numerous groups of well-defined and well-organized stakeholders. As trustees for their citizens, the Colorado River basin states have asserted their claims to a share of the river, and individual groups of water users such as irrigation districts, utilities, and municipal water suppliers have obtained water rights to the river and contract rights to the power generated by the dams on the river. The Colorado River has long been allocated among the seven basin states by interstate compacts, congressional legislation, and Supreme Court decrees. Each basin state has a share of the river in perpetuity to distribute ~8
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management ~9 to users in the state. The lower-basin states have used their full entitlements to support irrigated agriculture and unlimited urban growth; the upper-basin states are trying to do the same but have had less demand. The accom- modation of traditional stakeholders, however, is no longer the sole function of dam managers. There are two related reasons for this. Thefederal dam managers were initially"trustees"forthe basin stases end individual states holding water rights, but their responsibilities have expanded overtime. The large dams were built to provide a reliable source of water and to finance, through power revenues, costly distribution systems that states, cities, and irrigation districts could not afford. The federal role has been to subsidize regional water development. When the waterwas allocated and the large reservoirs were complete, the federal interest declined. Aside from the possibility of federal reserved water rights for I ndian tribes, the federal interest is now confined to the recoupment of the monies spent on the dams and irrigation projects and to management of existing facilities. When the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) first began the GOES, it assumed, as did the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), that the federal role was unchanged from the 1920s and 1930s. The GOES, however, revealed that the list of stake- holders has expanded beyond the states and individual holders of water rights and that federal agencies have management duties that do not derive from the Law of the River as it has been historically understood. The new claimants include Indian tribes, which are asserting quasi- sovereignty over portions of the river and its associated environment, re- creational users such as river rafters and sport fishermen, and diverse environmental groups. Indian tribes have asserted water rights and now assert broader claims to protect sacred or religious sites in the river corridor and to participate in the management of the dam. River rafters have permit entitlements to run the river. Environmental groups have asserted a wide variety of interests from haze reduction over the Grand Canyon (NRC, 1990) to modification of dam releases to protect endangered species in the canyon. Mitigation of identifiecl adverse environmental impacts is the legal strategy that the nation has followed since the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Agencies must use the EIS process to identify adverse environmental impacts and then are expected to mitigate them unless there are strong reasons, in the context of preexisting programmatic mandates, why they should not. Mitigation as a long-term strategy is limited because it is purely reactive. This strategy is supported by the assumption, grounded in pluralist democratic theory, that the dam should be managed to ac- commodate the interests of all of the major stakeholders on the river as re
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40 River Resource Management in the Grand Canyon fleeted in their actual or potential legal entitlements. The GCES can be praised for opening the scientific evaluation of dam operations to a wide variety of stakeholders. Traditional river user groups and the national environmental community have been sufficiently well organized and funded to participate in review and evaluation of GCES studies. GCES has also served other groups; the involvement of Indian tribes is particularly significant. The focus on present user groups, however, ignores the inter- generational dimension of Grand Canyon management. Focus on the mit- igation of selected aciverse impacts does not always produce the most effective science (see Chapter 2~. Scientific research organized in this way runs the risk of being fragmented; there is little incentive to integrate the research into a broaderframework. In addition, better management does not necessarily follow from the results of investigation that is overly directed by a list of specific issues. Of all the stakeholders, the National Park Service (NPS) would be the most likely candidate to formulate management objectives for the canyon. This did not happen. The history of Grand Canyon National Park provided no basis for the development of a management perspective because the river corridor has never been the focus of the NPS's mission. The primary interest of the NPS in the river corridor has centered around issuing and monitoring float trip permits. The NRC committee's 1 O-year experience with the GCES suggests that the concept of ecosystem management is a better management model than mitigation (Chapter 2~. Mitigation is an important component of ecosystem management, but it is neither the starting nor the ending point. Ecosystem management does not attempt to fix discrete adverse effects of an activity, but rather to maintain the vital functions of a natural system as modified by human activity overtime, through adaptive management. The basic idea is to develop background norms and then use them to measure the health of the system. This does not mean, as it is sometimes understood, that the ob- jective of management is to return the system to a totally natural condition. The system can be managed for the optimization of any mix of objectives, but the ecosystem perspectives recognize the inevitable connection of any management scheme to all resources. As GCES evolved, the need to place the operation of Glen Canyon Dam in the broader context of management of the river corridor through the park and adjoining national recreation area became clearer. The next section of this chapter discusses the history of Grand Canyon National Park. Its purpose is to show that although the Colorado River has been central to the formation of the unique geology that
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management 41 constitutes the park, it has never been central to the park's management mission. This may be the root of one of the central problems in GCES: the discontinuity between the functions of the Colorado River and the agencies that control the flow of the river. HISTORY OF GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK Introduction The traditional focus of the National Park Service (NPS) in the Grand Canyon has been the protection of scenic vistas rather than preservation of the ecological integrity of the Colorado River corridor. The motivation for GCES and for the EIS on dam operations is that Glen Canyon Dam alters the flow of the Colorado River through a world-renowned national park, but this has not been a traditional concern of the most likely stakeholder, the National Park Service. Not only is the Grand Canyon a unit of the NPS, it is a world heritage site pursuant to the Convention on World Heritage Sites. An outsider looking at the history of the GCES, however, would be surprised at the minimal role played by the NPS in defining the objectives and scope of the program (Babbitt, 1990~. Predesignation History Grand Canyon National Park is one of the crown jewels of our country's park system. John Wesley Powell's 1869 voyage through the canyon brought the scenic wonders of the area to public attention in the East. Legislation to designate the canyon as a national park was introduced in 1882, but Congress did not act on it for over 35 years. The reasons lie in the politics of the late frontier and in the lack of access to the canyon. There was no easy access until the Santa Fe Railroad built a spur from its mainline across northern Arizona in 1901 and constructed the El Tovar Hotel in 1904. The area was designated as a national park in 1919, following its designation as a national forest in 1893, a game reserve in 1906, and a national monument in 1908 (Ise, 1961).
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42 River Resource Management in the Grand Canyon Designation as a Park After the Santa Fe Railroad began to develop the Grand Canyon, leg- islation calling for preservation of its natural resources was introduced be- tween 1905 and 1919 but was not enacted until vested rights claims were settled. Subordination of the perk to nonpark interests continues today. The Grand Canyon was designated as a park 3 years after the NPS was es- tablished, and its management has been strongly influenced by former NPS Superintendent Mather's administration philosophy, which is to encourage visitor access to national parks. The park was originally opposed by the Arizona business community because it would preclude mining and the development of private concessions. However, as visitor use increased, the economic value of the park became apparent to the business community, which then supported its designation as a park. A powerful political figure and later U.S. Senator, Ralph Henry Cameron, had, however, located a mi- ning claim in the park in 1908, and preservation of existing valid claims was one of the conditions for the park's enabling legislation. Much of the NPS's early efforts were devoted to elimination of the Cameron mining claims. Henry Cameron tried to control the tourist business at the rim by locating 45 mining claims on the South Rim at the head of Bright Angel Trail in 1908. He was able to control access to the trail and Indian Gardens "to the distress of the Forest Service, the Santa Fe Railroad and, tourists" (Ise, 1961~. His claims were ultimately invalidated by the Supreme Court, but Cameron was elected to the Senate in 1920. From his Senate seat, he was able to harass the NPS and tried to regain control of the trail by enacting a rider in the NPS's appropriations act forbidding the use of federal funds for trail maintenance. His influence waned after the Teapot Dome scandal, but mining was not outlawed until 1931. The Grand Canyon was set aside as a national park for aesthetic reasons, and thus the rim rather than the canyon corridor was the object of early NPS preservation efforts (Leydet, 1964~. As d. Ise, leading historian of the national parks wrote, the "Grand Canyon is remarkable mainly as our most spec- tacular scenic wonder" (Ise, 1961~. The national parks were established in a spirit of cultural nationalism; they were a substitute for the man-made monuments of Europe (Runte, 1979~. As a result, the rim view was treated as the primary attribute of the canyon. The more adventurous visitors took Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch, but the river was not central to these activities. Viewed from the rim, the huge hydrological variations of the un- impounded river were barely perceptible.
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management 43 In U.S. law regarding public lands, national parks have single ratherthan multiple purposes, and the preservation of scenic grandeur is the historic statutory mission of the NPS. Section 1 of the NPS 's enabling legislation (16 U.S.C. ~ 1 ) requires the Secretary of the Interior to manage the system units "by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations." In 1878, Congress supplemented this mandate by directing the Interior Secretaryto administerthe parks "in light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park system" (16 U.S.C. ~ 1a-1~. No specific additional mandates are found in the legislation governing the Grand Canyon. The general mandates are, however, misleading. Parks are federal land man- agement units subject to competing demands, and the actual mission of the NPS has been the promotion and accommodation of visitor use. The history of Grand Canyon National Park is one of constant expansion of visitor comfort and services and a consequent decrease in visitor ap- preciation of the canyon as wilderness. This is the legacy of Stephen Mather and Horace Alright. These first two park superintendents established a powerful constituency for the idea of national parks by promoting easy access and visitor enjoyment (Forestra, 1983~. Because the main canyon asset has been perceived as primarily geological, there has been insufficient attention to other components of the ecosystem (Nash, 1983~. Until the 1 960s, boat trips down the canyon were limited to scientific surveys or a few intrepid adventurers, some of whom lost their lives (Hughes, 1 978~. I n fact the NPS has historically taken the position that the river corridor does not qualify for designation under the Wilderness Act of 1964 because of the historic and continuing use of outboard motors on it. The importance of the view at the Grand Canyon is illustrated by the federal government's responses to haze. In 1968, legislation to complete the Colorado River storage plan with a reservoir at either end of the canyon, and to finance construction of the Central Arizona Project with revenues from these, was defeated after a national political campaign led by the Sierra Club. Ironically, as a substitute for the defeated hydra projects, a coal-fired power plant, the Navajo generating station, was built near the dam in Page, Arizona. The plant contributed greatly to a persistent haze in the Four Corners Area (NRC, 1990), and in 1990 Congress attempted to resolve the issue by requiring the Navajo generating plant to install scrubbers.
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44 River Resource Management in the Grand Canyon Role of the Colorado River in the Park: Conduit Between Upper and Lower Basins In retrospect, it is amazing that the Colorado River corridor is as un- developed as it is today. In 1919 the river had not been allocated between basins, but the necessityfor an allocation and for carryover storage reservoirs to support the allocation were recognized by western politicians, and the pending allocation of the Colorado River influenced the enabling legislation. The enabling legislation (16 U.S.C. ~ 227) permits use of the canyon for reclamation projects and authorizes construction of reclamation projects. Historically, the river's primary function has been as a conduit between the upper and lower basins. The seven Colorado River basin states have been given mass allocations by interstate compacts, congressional leg- islation, and Supreme Court degree. In addition, the claims of Mexico have been recognized by treaty and executive agreements. Under the 1922 Colorado River Compact, which allocatesthe river between the upper and the lower basins, the river is divided at Lee's Ferry above the canyon. Each basin was allocated 7.5 million acre-feet (may, because 15 mat was erroneously assumed to be the average annual flow of the river. Each basin shares equally in the obligation to provide an additional 1.5 mat to Mexico. To allow the more slowly developing upper basin to meet its delivery obligations to the lower basin, the compact defines the upper basin's delivery obligations to Arizona, California, and Nevada as 75 mat over a progressive series of 10- year periods, and the federal government has constructed two large car- ryover storage reservoirs to guarantee the upper basin's ability to meet this obligation during sustained droughts. Water moves through the river from the upper basin's storage reservoir behind Glen Canyon Dam to the lower basin at Boulder Dam in order to meet the upper basin's 8.3 mat annual compact and treaty delivery obligations to Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Re- public of Mexico. The net result of the construction of these two storage and hydroelectric generating dams is thatthe Colorado River has become entirely regulated hydrologically (Fradkin, 1981~. The Park Service's long history of trying to preserve the natural environment of the Grand Canyon rim (with the exception of visitor access facilities) makes it ill-equipped to manage regulated systems such as the Colorado River (Carothers and Brown, 1991~. Congress responded directly to new constituencies in the passage of the 1992 Grand Canyon Protection Act, although passage of the 1968 Colorado River Storage Project Act (43 U.S.C. § ~ 620-620O) marked a fundamental change in the role of the river's corridor. The 1968 act reflected the defeat of
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management 45 efforts to construct two dams at either end of the canyon to finance the Central Arizona Project and authorized the operation of the dam for environmental protection as well as for power carryover storage and power generation (Marion and Wallick, 1991~. The Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992 is a direct outcome of the GCES's identification of the need for a different release pattern from the dam to both build beaches and retard beach erosion. In 1990, GOES scientists proposed a research flow program to test the impacts of less fluctuating flows and the spring beach-building pulses on the corriclor. Legislation authorizing interim flows was introduced in the House and Senate in 1990 (H.R. 4498, 101 Cong., 1 st sees., 1990), but the act was not passed for 2 years. Initially, the Department of the Interior opposed the legislation because the research flows had not been implemented and evaluated, but this opposition ended after BOR and WAPA agreed to an experimental interim flow regime in late 1991. The basic purpose of the act changed from a congressional mandate to a more general effort to expand management objectives. The act establishes the legality of river corridor enhancement flows consistent with the Law of the River. Section 1802 of the 1992 act requires that the Secretary of the Interior operate the dam in a manner consistent with the Law of the River, including the Endangered Species Act "to mitigate adverse impacts to and improve the values for which the Grand Canyon National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established, including but not limited to natural and cultural resources and visitor use." The act makes the EIS the basis for future management. The 1991 agreement is continued, with limited excep- tions, pending completion and implementation of the EIS (§ 1803~. Section 1 804 requires that the Secretary of the I nterior use the "findings, conclusions, and recommendations" of the EIS to adopt management criteria and op- erating plans in addition to those specified in Section 602 of the Colorado Basin Project Act of 1968. FUTURE BASIS FOR MANAGEMENT OF GRAND CANYON RESOURCES Intergenerational Equity The monies expended on the GOES can best be justified because society cares about the future of the river corridor and has some sense of obligation to future generations. Specifically, it is now widely recognized that the un
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46 River Resource Management in the Grand Canyon denying philosophical principle of much environmental management is in- tergenerational equity. Under emerging norms of international environmental law, the Unded States holds the canyon in trust for future generations. The idea of intergenerational equity was developed by Weiss (1989) and has rapidly been adopted as the ethical norm against which major international agreements and mandates must be tested. The basic idea is that "[wie as a species, hold the natural and cultural environment of our planet, both with members of the present generation and with other generations, past and future." The precise contours of intergenerational duties are not self~efining, but the core idea is that each generation has a duty to manage its common patrimony for the benefit of the next generation. Adoption of intergenerational equityfundamentally changes the nature of the decision-making process regardless of the precise content of the duty. Present actions should rather be evaluated in terms of the long-term con- sequences, and all present-value economic calculations of commodityvalues should be weighed against calculations that estimate the future value of resources and incorporate the assumption that environmental quality is the marginal value of natural or nondegraded resources and is likely to increase over time. This is the essence of the difference between the economics of sustainable development and traditional cost-benefit calculations (Pearce et al., 1990~. Intergenerational equity has long been part of the Law of the River and of the GCES, but there was no systematic effort to articulate the principles and to apply them to GCES research and Glen Canyon management options. The 1922 Colorado River Compact apportions the river between the upper and the lower basins in perpetuity. Thus, the rights of future generations to a sustainable use of the resource are explicitly recognized. The GCES included studies of nonuse value (Chapter 7~. Such studies implicitly reject the pre- vailing economic theory that present consumption is preferred to future consumption, except over short time horizons. The controversy over the legitimacy of nonuse values per se, as well as the techniques required to quantify them (such as contingent valuation) led the BOR and WAPA to oppose their use during the early stages of the GCES. Simulated Naturalness As indicated by the review of Grand Canyon history, the policies and objectives that apply to national parks have been largely disconnected from
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management 47 the management of Glen Canyon Dam, even though the dam influences the characteristics of the river and riparian environment through Grand Canyon National Park. Through GOES and through the EIS, the BOR has ack- nowledged that there is considerable latitude for variation in the operation of Glen Canyon Dam, evenwithinthe binding legal constraintsforwaterdelivery and the need to protect the dam from damage by flood. If there were no flex- ibility in operation, the effects of the dam on the national park downstream would simply be one of the baseline conditions for the national park. Given that operation is flexible, however, its management should take into account the presence of the national park downstream. The present strategy of BOR and its cooperating agencies, as shown by the EIS on Glen Canyon Dam operations, is to acknowledge the potential effect of dam operations on a wide variety of resources, and to consider pat- terns of operation that reflect at least some concern for the welfare of all resources. This type of optimization strategy is a common principle for modern environmental management, and offers many beneficial possibilities for the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The principle of optimization does not, however, provide any firm objective for management because op- timization is achieved by the assignment of differential weightings to various resources. These weightings are subject to large degrees of negotiation and professional judgment. A different kind of management principle, which might be called the principle of naturalness, appliesto national parks. Management is minimized, and where it must occur, it is directed toward the maintenance of envi- ronmental regime that as nearly as possible resembles the natural or un- disturbed condition of the environment. It seems unreasonable to consider the future operation of Glen Canyon Dam without also considering the principle of naturalness as it might apply to the Grand Canyon National Park. While many aspects of the Grand Canyon are in fact natural or at least not subject to management or direct human perturbation, the river itself and the riparian corridor inevitably are a reflection of human action because of the existence of Glen Canyon Dam. The dam will continue to exist and will inevitably be a means by which the downstream environment is managed, either haphazardly or toward particular goals. The GOES has shown that operation of the dam can be modified in various ways to restore a greater degree of naturalness to the river and riparian environments through maintenance or restoration of physical characteristics of the environment such as beaches or biotic resources such as endangered species. Given the emphasis of national parks on naturalness, and the flexibility of operations to
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48 River Resource Management in the Grand Canyon restore some aspects of naturalness, one obvious basis for future man agement of Glen Canyon Dam might be characterized as simulated nat- uralness, which could be defined as the use of operational flexibilityto restore and maintain environmental conditions in the national park that resemble as nearly as possible the original condition of the river. Many aspects of the river corridor in Grand Canyon National Park cannot feasibly resemble the original river corridor. As shown by the chapters to follow, however, there are many ways in which the environmental conditions along the river can be restored to a more natural state. These possibilities, some of which are in place or under construction, include adaptation of a more natural hydrologic regime, the introduction of controlled floods, res- toration of seasonally warm water in the river, and maintenance of habitat and physical features such as beaches through manipulation of water and sediment. The acloption of simulated naturalness would give a unifying theme and purpose to operational charges with these objectives, and would provide a blueprint for the future. For many intensively managed environmental systems, including the tailwaters and pools of most reservoirs in the United States, it makes little sense to manage toward simulation of natural conditions. Instead, the more pragmatic optimization approach provides a tool by which societal pre- ferences, tangible resource values, and operational flexibility can be brought together in a management plan. The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is not, however, a typical tailwater. It lies in a national park and is thus subject to the special purposes that apply uniquely to national parks. One of these purposes clearly is the maintenance and restoration of conditions that are, within reasonable limits of human effort and expense, natural. Thus there is much to recommend the principle of simulated naturalness as a future basis for management of Glen Canyon Dam, even though such a principle might be unjustifiably confining for the operation of large reservoirs in general. REFERENCES Babbitt, B. 1990. Introduction: down the imperiled Colorado. Land and Water Law Review 25:1. Bureau of Reclamation. 1995. Operation of Glen Canyon Dam. Final Environmental Impact Statement, March, U.S. Department ofthe Interior, Washington, D.C.
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Historical Context for Long-Term Management 49 Carothers, S.W., and B.T. Brown. 1991. The Colorado RiverThrough Grand Canyon. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Foresta, R. 1983. America's National Parks and Their Keepers. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future. Fradkin, P. 1981. A River No More. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Hughes, J.D. 1978. In the House of Stone and Light: A Human History of the Grand Canyon. Arizona: Grand Canyon Natural History Association. Ise, d. 1961. Our National Park Policy: A Critical History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Leyd et, F. 1964. Time and the River Flowing: Grand Canyon. San Fransisco: Sierra Club Books. Marion, K., and D. Wallick. 1991. Glen Canyon Dam Operating Authority: Producing Electricity and Protecting the Grancl Canyon Environme'nt. Land and Water Law Review 26:183. Nash, R. 1983. Wilderness Values and the Colorado River. Pp. 201-214 in New Courses for the Colorado River' Major Issues for the Next Century. G. Weatherford and F. Lee Brown, eds. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. National Research Council. 1990. Haze in the Grand Canyon. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1991. Colorado River Ecology and Dam Man- agement. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. Pearce, D., et al. 1990. Sustainable Development: Economics and the Environment in the Third World. Brookfield, VI: E. Elgar Publishing Co. Runte, A. 1979. National Parks: The American Experience. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Weiss, E.B. 1989. In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony and Intergenerational Equity 17.
Representative terms from entire chapter: