[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 6, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39435-39436]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16926]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation

National Park Service


Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement and Conduct Public Scoping on the Adoption of a Long-Term 
Experimental and Management Plan for the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: On December 10, 2009, Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) 
Ken Salazar announced that the development of a Long-Term Experimental 
and Management Plan (LTEMP) for Glen Canyon Dam was needed. The 
Secretary emphasized the inclusion of stakeholders, particularly those 
in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP), in the 
development of the LTEMP. The Department of the Interior (Department), 
through the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the National Park 
Service (NPS), will prepare a draft environmental impact statement 
(EIS) and conduct public scoping for the adoption of a LTEMP for the 
operation of Glen Canyon Dam. The Department's decision to develop the 
LTEMP is a component of its efforts to continue to comply with the 
ongoing requirements and obligations established by the Grand Canyon 
Protection Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-575) (GCPA). Reclamation and the 
NPS will co-lead this effort because Reclamation has primary 
responsibility for operation of Glen Canyon Dam and the NPS has primary 
responsibility for Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National 
Recreation Area.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beverley Heffernan, telephone (801) 
524-3712; facsimile (801) 524-3826; e-mail LTEMPEIS@usbr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The GCDAMP was established by, and has been 
implemented pursuant to the Secretary's 1996 Record of Decision on the 
Operation of Glen Canyon Dam (ROD), in order to comply with monitoring 
and consultation requirements of the GCPA. The GCDAMP includes a 
Federal advisory committee known as the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive 
Management Work Group (AMWG), a technical work group, a scientific 
monitoring and research center administered by the U.S. Geological 
Survey (USGS), and independent scientific review panels. The AMWG makes 
recommendations to the Secretary concerning Glen Canyon Dam operations 
and other management actions to protect resources downstream of Glen 
Canyon Dam consistent with the GCPA and other applicable provisions of 
Federal law.
    The purpose of the proposed LTEMP is to utilize current, and 
develop additional scientific information, to better inform 
Departmental decisions and to operate the dam in such a manner as to 
improve and protect important downstream resources while maintaining 
compliance with relevant laws including the GCPA, the Law of the River, 
and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) process will document and evaluate impacts of the 
alternatives described in the EIS. The LTEMP is intended to develop and 
implement a structured, long-term experimental and management plan, to 
determine the need for potential future modifications to Glen Canyon 
Dam operations, and to determine whether to establish an ESA Recovery 
Implementation Program for endangered fish species below Glen Canyon 
Dam.
    A primary function of the LTEMP will be to identify adaptive 
management experiments that have been successfully completed under the 
GCDAMP and to evaluate potential future experiments that may further 
inform management decisions. Revised dam operations and other actions 
under the jurisdiction of the Secretary will be considered for 
alternatives in the EIS, in keeping with the scope of the GCPA. The 
LTEMP will be the first EIS completed on the operations of Glen Canyon 
Dam since the 1995 EIS, which was intended to allow the Secretary to 
``balance and meet statutory responsibilities for protecting downstream 
resources for future generations and producing hydropower, and to 
protect affected Native American interests.'' Given that it has been 15 
years since completion of the 1996 ROD on the operation of Glen Canyon 
Dam, the Department will study new information developed through the 
GCDAMP, including information on climate change, so as to more fully 
inform future decisions regarding the operation of Glen Canyon Dam and 
other management and experimental actions.
    As stated above, the LTEMP will build on more than a decade of 
scientific experimentation and monitoring undertaken as part of the 
GCDAMP. Accordingly, Reclamation and the NPS intend, where appropriate, 
to incorporate by reference, or tier from, earlier NEPA compliance 
documents prepared as part of the Department's Glen Canyon Dam adaptive 
management efforts, see 40 CFR 1500.4(i), 1502.20, and 1508.20(b), such 
as the Environmental Assessment for an Experimental Protocol for High-
Flow Releases from Glen Canyon Dam and the Environmental Assessment for 
Non-Native Fish Control in the Colorado River Downstream from Glen 
Canyon Dam that are currently in preparation.
    Environmental documentation and updated information developed for 
the Long-Term Experimental Plan (LTEP) EIS (that was partially 
developed during 2006-2007) will be utilized. In a Federal Register 
notice published on February 12, 2008 (73 FR 8062), the LTEP EIS was 
put on hold until completion of environmental compliance on a five-year 
plan of experimental flows (2008-2012), including a high-flow test 
completed in March 2008 and yearly fall steady flows to be conducted in 
September and October of each year from 2008-2012.

[[Page 39436]]

    This Federal Register notice provides notice that the LTEP EIS, 
initiated in a Federal Register notice dated November 6, 2006 (71 FR 
64982), will be superseded by the LTEMP EIS. In addition, this notice 
provides the public with initial information regarding the anticipated 
development and purpose of the LTEMP, and notice of the Department's 
commitment to analyze the LTEMP in an EIS pursuant to NEPA.
    Public scoping meetings will be held to solicit comments on the 
scope of the LTEMP and the issues and alternatives that should be 
analyzed. These meetings will serve to expand upon the input received 
from meetings and recommendations of the AMWG. Additional information 
regarding the dates and times for the upcoming meetings and 
identification of relevant comment periods will be provided in a future 
Federal Register notice, as well as through other methods of public 
involvement as the NEPA process is undertaken and the LTEMP is 
developed and prepared.

Background

    Glen Canyon Dam was authorized by the Colorado River Storage 
Project Act of 1956 and completed by Reclamation in 1963. Below Glen 
Canyon Dam, the Colorado River flows for 15 miles through the Glen 
Canyon National Recreation Area which is managed by the NPS. Fifteen 
miles below Glen Canyon Dam, Lees Ferry, Arizona, marks the beginning 
of Marble Canyon and the northern boundary of Grand Canyon National 
Park.
    The major function of Glen Canyon Dam is water conservation and 
storage. The dam is specifically managed to regulate releases of water 
from the Upper Colorado River Basin to the Lower Colorado River Basin 
to satisfy provisions of the 1922 Colorado River Compact and subsequent 
water delivery commitments, and thereby allow states within the Upper 
Basin to deplete water from the watershed upstream of Glen Canyon Dam 
and utilize their apportionments of Colorado River water.
    Another function of Glen Canyon Dam is to generate hydroelectric 
power. Between the dam's completion in 1963 and 1990, the dam's daily 
operations were primarily to maximize generation of hydroelectric 
power. Over time, concerns arose with respect to the operation of Glen 
Canyon Dam, including effects on the downstream riparian ecosystem and 
on species listed pursuant to the ESA. In 1992, Congress passed and the 
President signed into law the GCPA which addresses potential impacts of 
dam operations on downstream resources in Glen Canyon National 
Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park.
    The GCPA required the Secretary to complete an EIS evaluating 
alternative operating criteria that would determine how Glen Canyon Dam 
would be operated ``to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and 
improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon 
National Recreation Area were established.'' The final EIS was 
completed in March 1995. Consistent with section 1802 of the GCPA, the 
Preferred Alternative (Modified Low Fluctuating Flow Alternative) was 
selected as the best means to operate Glen Canyon Dam in a ROD issued 
on October 9, 1996. In 1997 the Secretary adopted operating criteria 
for Glen Canyon Dam (62 FR 9447) as required by Section 1804(c) of the 
GCPA.
    Additionally, the GCPA required the Secretary to undertake research 
and monitoring to determine if revised dam operations were achieving 
the resource protection objectives of the final EIS and ROD. These 
provisions of the GCPA were incorporated into the 1996 ROD and led to 
the establishment of the GCDAMP, administered by Reclamation, and of 
the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center within the USGS.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of the proposed action is to fully evaluate dam 
operations and identify management actions and experimental options 
that will provide a framework for adaptively managing Glen Canyon Dam 
over the next 15 to 20 years consistent with the GCPA and other 
provisions of applicable Federal law. The proposed action will help 
determine specific alternatives that could be implemented to meet the 
GCPA's requirements and to minimize--consistent with law--adverse 
impacts on the downstream natural, recreational, and cultural resources 
in the two park units, including resources of importance to American 
Indian Tribes. The need for the proposed action stems from the need to 
utilize scientific information developed over the past 15 years to 
better inform Departmental decisions on dam operations and other 
management and experimental actions so that the Secretary may continue 
to meet statutory responsibilities for protecting downstream resources 
for future generations, conserving ESA listed species, and protecting 
Native American interests, while meeting water delivery obligations and 
for the generation of hydroelectric power.

Proposed Federal Action

    The proposed Federal action is to (a) Develop and implement a 
structured, long-term experimental and management plan for the 
operation of Glen Canyon Dam and (b) to determine whether to establish 
a Recovery Implementation Program for endangered fish species below 
Glen Canyon Dam.

Public Disclosure

    Before including a name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, 
or other personal identifying information in the comment, please be 
advised that the entire comment--including personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While a 
commenter may request that Reclamation and the NPS withhold personal 
identifying information from public review, Reclamation and the NPS 
cannot guarantee that the Department will be able to do so.

    Dated: June 23, 2011.
Anne J. Castle,
 Assistant Secretary--Water and Science.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary--Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2011-16926 Filed 7-5-11; 8:45 am]
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