Downstream

Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem

Committee on Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research

Water Science and Technology Board

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Downstream Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Committee on Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation under Cooperative Agreement # 1425-98-FC-40-22700. Cover: Photo of the Colorado River by David Rubin, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA. Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem COMMITTEE ON GRAND CANYON MONITORING AND RESEARCH JAMES L. WESCOAT, JR. (Chair), University of Colorado, Boulder TRUDY A. CAMERON, University of California, Los Angeles SUZANNE K. FISH, University of Arizona, Tucson DAVID FORD, David Ford Consulting Engineers, Sacramento, California STEVEN P. GLOSS, University of Wyoming, Laramie TIMOTHY K. KRATZ, University of Wisconsin, Trout Lake Station, North Boulder Junction WENDELL L. MINCKLEY, Arizona State University, Tempe PETER R. WILCOCK, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland National Research Council Staff JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Project Study Director ANITA A. HALL, Project Assistant

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD HENRY J. VAUX, JR. (Chair), University of California, Oakland CAROL A. JOHNSTON (Vice Chair), University of Minnesota, Duluth RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN S. BOYER, University of Delaware, Lewes JOHN BRISCOE, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. DENISE FORT, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque STEVEN P. GLOSS, University of Wyoming, Laramie EVILLE GORHAM, University of Minnesota, St. Paul WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside GARY S. LOGSDON, Black & Veatch, Cincinnati, Ohio RICHARD G. LUTHY, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JOHN W. MORRIS, J. W. Morris Ltd., Arlington, Virginia PHILLIP A. PALMER, DuPont Engineering, Wilmington, Delaware REBECCA T. PARKIN, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer LAURA EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate MARK GIBSON, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ELLEN de GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant ANIKE JOHNSON, Project Assistant

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER (Chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (Retired), S. Charleston, West Virginia THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Oklahoma, Norman DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. KAI N. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts RICHARD A. MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. BRAD MOONEY, JR., J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, University of Tennessee, Knoxville THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Preface On March 26, 1996, the bypass tubes of Glen Canyon Dam were opened for the first experimental "controlled flood" in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, marking a dramatic physical start for an even broader Adaptive Management Program ("Program"). The Program aims to monitor and analyze the effects of dam operations on downstream resources in the Grand Canyon ecosystem and to use that knowledge to recommend to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, on a continuing basis, adjustments intended to preserve and enhance downstream values. Responsibility for scientific research and monitoring to support adaptive management rests with the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center ("Center") in Flagstaff, Arizona. During the past two years, the Center has established headquarters and hired staff, worked with stakeholder groups (known as the Adaptive Management Work Group and the Technical Work Group), commissioned a "conceptual model" of the Grand Canyon ecosystem, established protocols for research funding, and let contracts for research and monitoring. These actions have been guided in part by the Center's 1997 Long-term Strategic Plan (Center, 1997) which underwent initial revisions in 1998. As part of these revisions, the Center arranged for the National Research Council's (NRC) Water Science and Technology Board to review the Strategic Plan. Later in the year, the 1998 Draft Strategic Plan became a source of debate among stakeholder groups, and controversies are still being worked out. The National Research Council appointed a special committee to assess the Strategic Plan from as many perspectives as seemed relevant to its roles in guiding this important experiment in United States environmental science

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem and policy. This report documents our assessment of the Center's long-term strategic planning for monitoring and research in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, and is submitted with appreciation and constructive criticism. The Center's scientists have launched its research programs with energy, intelligence, and commitment. This committee's concerns range from the types of science and monitoring planned for the Grand Canyon, to the uses of scientific findings in the Adaptive Management Program, to the uses of advice from the Adaptive Management Program by the Secretary of the Interior and, ultimately, to the effects of that advice on Grand Canyon resources. Challenges encountered in the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies (GCES), which preceded the current program, and in other adaptive management programs have special relevance for the Center's efforts. The Adaptive Management Program carries forward twelve years of work by the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies. This National Research Council (NRC) review continues over a decade (1985–1996) of prior NRC reviews of Glen Canyon Environmental Studies programs, the Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement, and early plans for long-term monitoring. Our report is titled Downstream: Adaptive Management of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem for three reasons. First, the Program's primary focus is literally on resources "downstream" of Glen Canyon Dam, a focus that remains contested in ways discussed in our report. In a figurative sense, adaptive management requires a "downstream" perspective beginning with hypothesized effects of dam-operation alternatives, followed by monitoring and research to test those hypotheses, and by further adjustments to dam operations. A downstream perspective requires a framework for envisioning ex ante courses of action that may be "adaptive" and for evaluating ex post the classes of outcomes that have or have not been adaptive. Third, ''downstream" alludes to an earlier National Research Council report (1996b) on ecosystem management in the Columbia River basin entitled Upstream: Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest. Our report is briefer than Upstream, just as the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program is more recent and more geographically focused than the Columbia River program. Nonetheless, the need for probing comparisons of adaptive management experiments underway in different regions of North America is one important conclusion of this report. Our committee thanks the Center and its staff for their hospitality during site visits and for their open cooperation throughout the review

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem process. The committee expresses special appreciation to David Garrett, the former chief who launched the Center and initiated the National Research Council review; Barry Gold, acting chief of the Center; Ruth Lambert, director of the Socioeconomic and Cultural Resources Programs; Mike Liszewski, director of the Information Technology Program; Ted Melis, director of the Physical Resources Program; Barbara Ralston, director of the Biological Resources Program; and all other Center scientists and staff. We also thank David Wegner, former chief of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies, for speaking with the committee at its second meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona, in August 1998. As part of their review, committee members consulted with colleagues and stakeholders who offered useful insights and cautions that, collectively, helped guide our observations, evaluations, and recommendations. Anne Colgan, Ernest House, and Ann Huff of the University of Colorado gave helpful advice on the fields of strategic management and evaluation. William Clark, Harvard University; Kai Lee, Williams College; Steve Light, Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy (formerly of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources); Roger Pulwarty, NOAA; and John Volkman, Northwest Power Planning Council, generously shared their ideas about adaptive management. As committee chair, I thank fellow committee members for their spirited contributions and thoughtful deliberation and exchange on interdisciplinary issues, as well as their written contributions to this report. Committee members tried out ideas, advancing some and dropping others as perspectives began to take shape on where the Center stands today and what a "long-term strategic plan" could and should entail. Our committee owes special thanks to Jeffrey W. Jacobs of the National Research Council—first for directing the study on behalf of the Water Science and Technology Board, and second for his intellectual contributions to the review, especially on issues of water policy and adaptive environmental management. Anita Hall of the Water Science and Technology Board kept project communications, travel, and administration in order. Rhonda Bitterli provided thorough editorial advice on the committee's draft report. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Ellis Cowling, North Carolina State University (Emeritus); Tom Graff, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California; Thomas Haan, Oklahoma State University; Duncan Patten, Arizona State University (Emeritus); Ronald Pulliam, University of Georgia; Jack Schmidt, Utah State University; Daniel Tarlock, Chicago-Kent College of Law; Henry Vaux, University of California, Oakland; John Warme, Colorado School of Mines; and Kenneth Weber, U.S. National Park Service. While the individuals listed above provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. To all these persons we express our thanks. And to all the scientists and stakeholders concerned with the Grand Canyon—its waters, environment, and cultural significance—we direct this report with the hope that it helps advance the historic experiment in adaptive management that is underway. James L. Wescoat Jr., Chair University of Colorado at Boulder

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   18     Origins of the Long-Term Strategic Plan   18     Charge to the Committee   24     Complications with the Strategic Plan   26     Methods for Reviewing the Strategic Plan   29 2   The Center's Long-Term Strategic Plan   32     The Center's Strategic Plans   33     Strengths of the Plan   36     Weaknesses and Alternatives   37     Summary   49 3   The Adaptive Management Program   51     Introduction   51     The Emerging Field of Adaptive Management   52     Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem   54     Strengths of the Strategic Plans   57     Weaknesses of the Strategic Plans   59

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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem 4   Ecosystem Monitoring and Science   80     Conceptual Modeling   81     Design and Implementation of a Long-Term Monitoring Plan   82     The Center's Resource Program Areas   86 5   Organization and Resources   125     Organizational Structure and Center Roles in the Adaptive Management Program   126     The Center's Institutional Home   127     The Center's Organizational Structure and Size   129     Budget and Funding Issues   132 6   Summary of Findings and Recommendations   135     Adaptive Management Issues   137     Science Program Issues   138     Organizational and Budget Issues   139     References   141     Appendixes     A   Grand Canyon Protection Act (1992)   157 B   Adaptive Management Work Group Members   164 C   Technical Work Group Members   165 D   Record of Decision (1996)   167 E   Table II-7 Summary Comparison of Alternatives and Impacts   189 F   Economic Literature Relevant to Grand Canyon Management   201 G   Figures   221 H   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   228