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10 A Brief History of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies DAVID L. WEGNER, Program Manager U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Salt Lake City, Utah INTRODUCTION The Glen Canyon Environmental Studies (GCES) and the National Re- search Council/ Water Science and Technology Board (NRC/WSTB), have been working together since 1986 toward the development of a coordinated and scientifically credible program of research. Over the last day, we have heard a great deal of excellent and important information regarding the Grand Canyon resources that depend on the Colorado River for their life- blood of continuing existence; much the same way that Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix depend on it. Many different perspectives have been presented on what changes have occurred to the Grand Canyon resources due to Glen Canyon Dam. Over the last 27 years, the changes to the ecosystem of the Grand Canyon have been extensive. The overall objective of this symposium has been to bring together the many pieces of the ecological and economic picture that had not been addressed during the first phase of the GCES program and to identify how they can be applied to the GCES-Phase II. This information will be useful to the scientists and hopefully the decision makers as we develop and implement the GCES Phase II research program. The path- ways for successful completion of the scientific effort should build on the information already known and focus on integration of the research and monitoring needs of the future. Ultimately, the intent of this symposium is to lay the groundwork for the 226

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THE GCES PROGRAM... 227 GCES Integrated Research Plan. This is the plan that Duncan Patton, the GCES researchers, and the scientists have been working on and those stud- ies upon which the GCES Research Flows are structured. The goals of this paper are to (1) evaluate the use of the GCES scientific information in the Glen Canyon Dam environmental impact statement (EIS) process and (2) evaluate the future use of the GCES data in the management of Glen Canyon Dam and the resources of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This discussion will be developed by focusing on these key areas: (1) the role that the NRC/WSTB has played in the GCES program, (2) identification of how the GCES and GCD-EIS could fit together, and (3) identification of options and challenges to that fit and the role of science in the decision-making process. As program manager for the GCES, I have been involved with the devel- opment, implementation, and use of the scientific information that forms the core of the GCES effort. My responsibility has rested with working with the scientists and researchers to find a means of coming up with an- swers that could be used by decision makers and also retain the scientific credibility required to withstand the scrutiny of the courts and the scientific community. Management of the program requires a continual balancing of what the decision makers want versus what the researchers are willing lo say. Often one finds oneself in a no-win situation between management desires, time, budget, and scientific credibility. What is the role of science in governmental decision making? The fed- eral and state governments of the United States have a mandated responsi- bility to the management and protection of our natural and developed re- sources. These mandated responsibilities often conflict as one office is charged with protection and a sister agency is charged with development. This is especially evident in the management of the ecological, water, and electrical resources of the Colorado River. As we start to explore these responsibilities and their relationships to the GCES program, it is important that we put into context what credible scien- tific research is about and why the NRC was brought in to review the GCES program. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL INVOLVEMENT WITH THE GLEN CANYON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES The GCES program was initiated by the Department of the Interior in December 1982 as a component of the environmental assessment developed for the uprating and rewinding of the eight electrical generators at Glen Canyon Dam. The studies were to be initiated immediately. The uprating and rewinding program was to proceed while the studies focused on the issues associated with Glen Canyon Dam operations. The studies were to

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228 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT focus on a broad range of ecological and recreation issues but were not to address the economic or societal parameters. Limited direction, background information, and boundaries were established for the scientific effort. In addition, limited time was spent on designing studies or exploring the po- tential for having outside expertise involved. During the course of the GCES program, the maximum dam release levels were to remain at 31,500 cubic feet per second. In December 1982, few realized the high extremes in water releases that were to come over the next several years. In 1985, the GCES program organized an interagency trip through the Grand Canyon to discuss the GCES program, the issues that were being explored, and how to integrate the information. That trip allowed for in- depth and expansive discussions regarding the initial results of the studies and how that information could be used in a decision environment. From those on-river discussions, it became apparent that an extensive scientific review process would benefit the overall GCES program and would assist the Department of the Interior in its review of the actions to take at the conclusion of the GCES efforts. From those early discussions in October 1985, the groundwork for the NRC/WSTB involvement was laid. The GCES began active consultation with the NRC/WSTB in December 1985, and by January 1986 we were officially asked to come to Washington to make a presentation at the WSTB meeting. The presentation in Washington left several of us wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Harold Sersland, Regional Environmental Offi- cer (Reclamation), Martha Hahn (National Park Service), and I presented an overview of the GCES scientific program to the newly formed WSTB. The WSTB members asked some very insightful and probing questions about the goals and future of the GCES scientific program, and they demanded very distinct answers. Dick Marzolf, with his desire to take on this issue, and an enthusiastic WSTB staff jumped feet first into the NRC/WSTB re- view process. Because the GCES program was well under way when the NRC/WSTB became involved, the opportunity to take full advantage of its expertise and wisdom in planning the GCES program was limited. Instead, we focused on four broad objectives: 1. Provide review and advice on the GCES scientific program and pro- vide a general assessment of how well we were achieving our intended goals. 2. Advise on interpretation of information for impact analysis from the technical data developed. 3. Provide advice on the process of identifying the environmental ele- ments for ranking operational alternatives.

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THE GCES PROGRAM... 229 4. Extrapolate from the GCES study recommendations to others who may pursue similar environmental studies at other sites in the future. From those broad objectives, the overall GCES and NRC/WSTB pro- gram was formulated. APPLICATION OF SCIENCE AND RESEARCH TO MANAGEMENT From the start, the GCES program was between a rock and a hard spot. On one side of the coin, the outside world and natural resource bureaus and agencies looked upon the GCES program as their opportunity to finally have a say in the management of Glen Canyon Dam. To the federal water managers and dam operators, it was a challenge to keep the lid on Pandora's box. A stated goal was to complete the studies in a timely manner and integrate any changes at Glen Canyon into the existing operational criteria. The challenge for the scientists, considering that we were given limited, often conflicting directions, was to formulate a research program that would address the primary areas of concern, would establish a scientifically cred- ible program, and would determine the actions that could be taken from the data. Balancing science, bureaucratic expectations, opportunities for ac- tion, and the limits of the program helped shape the GCES Program. often ~ "7 , on a day-by-day basis. Responsibility for completion of the GCES program has always rested with the Bureau of Reclamation. As the entity that has the ultimate control of the water releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Reclamation has the respon- sibility for any changes that would be made. The GCES program was organized as a multibureau, multiagency cooperative effort utilizing the best scientific resources available. It was the responsibility of these scien- tists and GCES to focus on three broad tasks: (1) development of the scientific boundaries of the studies, (2) integration of the scientific pro- grams, and (3) development of a conservative scientific approach to the use of the data and subsequent analyses. Initially, the GCES program was developed around two very broad and limitless objectives, objectives that have resulted in seemingly endless dis- cussions between the constituent groups on intent and boundaries: (1) de- termine the impacts of the operation of Glen Canyon Dam on the natural and recreation resources of the Grand Canyon, and (2) determine whether there were ways, within existing Colorado River Storage Project mandates and the law of the river, to modify the operations of the dam so as to minimize the impacts downstream. The GCES scientific team began the overall process with very little insti- tutional direction and even less of an idea of the extent of the effort. (Little previous integrated scientific work had been done, and information avail-

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230 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT able on the impacts on other large river systems below dams is limited.) But we muddled through, often by the seat of our pants and very often making things up as we went along. Many research plans had to be modi- fied mid-trip, as the promised flow schedule would change radically in response to upstream or downstream demands. No one could predict the flows, what research could be accomplished, or more importantly, how the information would be used by the decision makers. The GCES program was not intended to be a long-term affair, beyond the initial 2-year window. In fact, many people within Reclamation and other bureaus and agencies found it highly doubtful that it could acquire any useful information at all. By the end of 1986, with the review by the NRC/WSTB well under way, a defined GCES scientific program endpoint of December 1987 was se- lected. The research effort was directed to begin winding down, and the effort refocused on report development and overall study integration. With the completion of the primary scientific field studies in 1987, a core group of scientists, representing several federal and state offices and private consultants, began the task of assimilating the information into a document that could be used in the decision process. This group of scien- tists, the Technical Writing Integration Team, spent long hours laboring over the data and the analyses. The result was the "GCES Final Report," backed up by more than 30 published technical reports and many more background documents. The NRC/WSTB completed their review of the individual technical reports and the "GCES Final Reports" and published their findings and recommendations in December 1987 in River and Dam Management: A Review of the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Envi- ronmental Studies. Transferring the scientific knowledge into management options required the development of a new group of experts, the GCES Executive Review Committee (ERC). The ERC's role was to take the scientific perspective and develop management and policy options for the Department of the Interior. The ERC was composed of policy and management level person- nel from the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bu- reau of Reclamation, the Department of the Interior (Office of Environmen- tal Affairs), and the Western Area Power Administration. The GCES program manager served as the liaison between the scientists and as the overall coordinator of the ERC report. After considerable deliberation and identifi- cation of management missions and goals, the ERC presented its findings and recommendations in a briefing and in a report to the Department of the Interior. In June 1988, after considerable deliberation, the Department of the Inte- rior determined that additional information was required before any defini- tive changes in the operations at Glen Canyon Dam could be considered.

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THE GCES PROGRAM... 231 The department directed that additional studies were specifically needed to understand the relationships between fluctuating and low flows and the endangered species, the trout fishery, and the sediment deposits. Additional studies, under the responsibility of the GCES program, were to be con- ducted on the economic impacts that would result from operational changes at Glen Canyon Dam. The underlying intent was to develop enough infor- mation to look at all of the options and impacts. The time frame for the GCES Phase II efforts was not defined, but it was recommended that the studies be carried out under "normal" operations at Glen Canyon Dam, which as defined would take approximately 5 years to complete. The GCES Phase II program was initiated by this directive from the Department of the Interior, and the major constituent groups were asked to participate. The GCES Interim Technical Integration Team outlined their concerns on the adequacy of program direction and the schedule and recommended that specific research flows be studied, that contracts and agreements be developed and that the services of a senior scientist be acquired. Many of these recommendations built on the intent initially laid out by the NRC/ WSTB final report recommendations. The Interim Technical Integration Team also outlined the questions and areas that they believed could and could not be addressed under the proposed time and flow schedule. GLEN CANYON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES-PHASE II The GCES Phase II studies were directed by the Department of the Inte- rior to address as many of the NRC/WSTB recommendations as possible. One of the very first that we took on was the issue of hiring a senior scientist to direct the development of an integrated and comprehensive sci- entific program. Dr. Duncan Patten was chosen to develop a stronger scien- tific core for the GCES program. In July 1989, after considerable discussion and public pressure, the Sec- retary of the Interior directed that an EIS on the operations of Glen Canyon Dam be initiated. With that directive, the GCES program focus changed again, to now become the data base for assessment of the alternative opera- tional and nonoperational options for the overall EIS process. The scien- tific program was expanded to include the additional concerns to be ad- dressed under the EIS aegis. The original direction was that the GCES Phase II program would remain on the 5-year timetable. However, in October 1989, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation reset the timetable for completion of the EIS to 24 months. The needs of the scientific program were not consid- ered in that decision. With the new timetable, the GCES scientific program required consider- able overhaul to ensure that what was needed for the EIS could be acquired

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232 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT in the shortened time frame. The scheduling of specific research flows be- came a scientific necessity. ECOSYSTEM APPROACH AND INTEGRATION OF THE NAS PHASE I CRITIQUE The GCES Phase II research efforts are designed to integrate as many of the comments and recommendations developed by the NAS as possible. Those NAS recommendations that related to specific technical perspectives were instituted immediately. This has included the hiring of a senior level scientist and the development of the study program based on an integrated, ecosystems level approach. Additional guidance relating to expansion of the technical studies into the non-market economic and power related stud- ies has also been initiated. However, there have been several of the NAS recommendations that have not been acted upon. The reasons for that are many and are related to the bureaucratic requirements and administrative hurdles more than a lack of scientific desire to complete. Areas of most frustration and lack of action include: (1) Hiring of the senior scientist at the Department of the Interior level this was not achieved. (2) Development of study plans and proposals through an open and public process. Due to the constraints of time the study plans have been developed primarily within the agencies. (3) Inclusion of Lake Powell and Lake Mead into the program. Administrative boundaries have limited our ability to integrate '`officially" the ecological effects and impacts of Lake Powell and Lake Mead on the ecosystem of the Colorado River. (4) Development of a full and comprehensive scientific approach. Limits of time, money, personnel and administrative support have resitricted what can be done and how it is to be accomplished. The GCES program continues to build upon the direction provided by the NAS. We believe that a sound and credible scientific approach will best support the administrative decision process. An inherent problem in the "applied" scientific approach is that constraints and implied administrative boundaries limit the application of the best intent. DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS FOR THE GLEN CANYON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM Despite our best intentions, we find ourselves today still faced with some of the same, very difficult problems in completing the GCES Phase II pro- gram and ultimately developing a credible EIS document. These include: 1. Development of a definitive, scientifically driven, timetable. 2. Acceptance that not all of the questions will be answered within the

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THE GCES PROGRAM... 233 short EIS timetable. Additional research and long-term monitoring will be required. 3. Development of clear study boundaries. Politically the lines have been drawn but from an ecosystem perspective the boundaries are far more considerable. 4. Development of adequate support and staffing within all cooperating entities and the GCES. 5. Development of the process whereby the scientists can voice their scientific findings and thereby ensure that open and credible scientific analyses and process occur. INTEGRATING THE GLEN CANYON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM WITH THE GLEN CANYON DAM ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT The Glen Canyon Dam EIS is a process dictated by the rules and regula- tions of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), with guidance defined by the Council on Environmental Quality. The EIS is a process; it does not guarantee a change, or that all considerations will be given equal weight in the decision process. NEPA is a only a process. The quality and equity of that process are largely dictated by the quality of the data base and the way that the data and analyses are used in the decision process. The necessity for a strong and credible GCES scientific program has never been more critical and more hotly debated. The EIS process is important because it allows all of the issues to at least be stated. The public and the constituent groups can be a party to the equity process if they participate actively. The Glen Canyon Dam-Environmental Impact Statement (GCD-EIS) is directed to evaluate the impacts of the operation of Glen Canyon Dam on the natural, recreational, water and electrical resources of the Colorado River. The EIS process and the GCES program are to be integrated together with the GCES scientific results providing the technical information for evalua- tion of the alternatives being developed through the EIS process. The GCD-EIS is indirectly establishing the administrative and scientific boundaries to the GCES program. Additionally, the EIS process requires the development and/or collection of non-ecosystem related, technical in- formation. Studies that have been added to the GCES program in addition to those previously identified in the ecosystem approach include cultural resource studies, archeological studies, endangered species studies, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act studies, and extensive coordination with the Na- . . . rive American groups. The boundaries and timing of the GCES program are directly related to the GCD-EIS requirements. If conducted under a strict scientific approach

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234 COLORADO ROVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT the GCES Phase II efforts would be conducted over a five to six-year time frame. This would allow for development of adequate study plans, and adequate review and integration of the scientific effort. Currently, the GCD- EIS is on a schedule that requires completion by December 1993. This means that the majority of the science must be completed by January 1992. Ecosystem processes don't work that quickly or follow administrative dic- tates. The goal of the GCES program is to develop a technically sound and scientifically credible research approach integrating all of the specific stud- ies into a consolidated and coordinated effort. The GCES program will develop the technical data base that can be used to evaluate the impacts associated with GCD-EIS alternatives that relate to operational changes at Glen Canyon Dam. Response relationships and risk assessments will form the underlying precepts for this evaluation. Limited information will be collected to evaluate specific structural alternatives. A major problem may exist in the future as administrative expectations clash with ecosystem pro- cesses. In the past, the issues surrounding maintenance of the ecosystem in the Colorado River has not provided a successful merger of society and the environment. Can the GCES program guarantee a sound and credible EIS decision? NO!! The best that we can do is provide a credible and sound scientific approach and analyses that will provide the decision makers and the public with the information needed to make the decisions. It is our responsibility as scientists and researchers to provide the best we can with all of the tools at our disposal; that includes the use of in-house and out-of-house expertise, ourselves, the NRC and the senior scientist. OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE I have been asked many times by non-Reclamation people, What would be best for the resources of the Grand Canyon? What can we do to help the resources? My reply is this: Support the science. GCES must provide the best scientific basis that it can for the decision makers. We will do no one, least of all the resources of the Grand Canyon, any good to have this effort end up in a draw or in court. While many bureaucrats and lawyers may look upon that view as a way to ensure job security, the real losers under any other approach would be He resources of the Grand Canyon. Who bears the blame for a non-answer? While the responsibility could be laid on any number of entities, I fear that the scientific community would be the likely scapegoat. Everyone is looking for that"one ultimate answer," and quite frankly there isn't one. The politicians and bureaucrats can ma- neuver their way out from under the scrutiny, but ultimately the public will

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TlIE GCES PROGRAM... 235 be looking for a fall guy. The blame for the lack of data and answers will likely fall on the least protected entity, the scientists. Therefore, what options and alternatives should we be looking at? Is there one solution or path that should be followed? What decision process can best provide the information and balance necessary to help the re- sources yet maintain scientific credibility and our societal and legal obliga- tions? I think that there is a set of solutions. Very briefly, the solutions at Glen Canyon Dam could follow a three-phase approach: Phase I The first phase would involve implementation of operational changes at Glen Canyon Dam as a result of the NEPA process and the GCES program. The majority of any operations changes could be made within the context of the existing law of the river and the operational criteria for Glen Canyon Dam. This immediate action probably could be done with a minimal amount of legal proceedings. I further suggest that these operational alternatives be struc- tured around the way the dam and river system is operated to- day namely, around the annual flow volume projections. Ad- ditionally, a set of defined environmental criteria with priorities for implementation must be developed. A set of operational and environmental criteria for low, average, and high water years would be developed and negotiated by a multidisciplinary man- agement group each year. The problem with solely implementing operational changes is that it will only serve to minimize the impacts of the day, not alleviate them and certainly not return the Grand Canyon eco- system to conditions similar to those that existed at the time of the dam closure. Phase II The second phase would be to develop a long-term research and monitoring program that continues after GCES is completed to further study and monitor the ecosystem relationships and progress vlS-a-vls operations. If necessary, the operations would be fine-tuned if additional impacts are identified. Ecosystem evaluation could be built into the existing annual and/or five year review program defined for the secretarial hydrologic review of the Colorado River opera- tions. Phase III Third and perhaps most intellectually challenging would be the development of an ecosystem restoration program, a program that would focus on working in concert with the natural pro-

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236 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT cesses of Grand Canyon to restore parts of the ecosystem that have been lost or severely affected by Glen Canyon Dam. As portions of the ecosystem are restored, the resiliency of the eco- system may be increased and the levels of operational impacts could be reassessed. Forms of ecological restoration could range from sediment augmentation to exotic species eradication. We are limited only by our understanding of the natural and manmade processes and our desire to explore the boundaries of the knowledge of ecosys- tem processes. THE CHALLENGES THAT LAY AHEAD The challenges for more enlightened management of the resources of the Colorado River are many. Completion of the GCES program and the Glen Canyon Dam EIS is going to take a great deal of hard work but is only one step in many that are required if we are to consider ourselves wise stewards of the resources. Dealing with the internal politics and conflicting man- dates that drive this diverse process is not going to get any easier. To achieve a credible scientific and EIS process, many groups must shoulder their share of the responsibility. These responsibilities are not to be treated lightly. The Bureau of Reclamation must bear the primary responsibility of put- ting together the teams necessary to get the job done. This will necessitate a multibureau-multiagency approach that is open to the scrutiny of all. This effort also includes providing the overall coordination, budget, and staffing necessary to accomplish the program goals. The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the other state and federal resource agencies must bear the responsibility for ensuring that their resources and concerns are voiced and provide support in all phases of the GCES and EIS programs. The Department of the Interior must bear the responsibility of maintain- ing balance and making the ultimate decision. The department must ensure that all bureaus' and agencies' perspectives are voiced, that a credible and open decision process is developed, and that a commitment is made to the future of the resources of the Colorado River. Constituent groups and the public must bear the responsibility of making sure that we are doing our job to the maximum extent possible and not getting lazy in either our approach or our responsibility. Additionally, they must be willing to help avoid the common belief of today that the court or Congress must make the decisions. The NRC/WSTB must bear the responsibility for ensuring that we are doing our scientific best. No second-best efforts should be tolerated. Sound

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THE GCES PROGRAM... 237 scientific direction and support for a credible scientific process must be given. The scientists must bear the responsibility for developing the most cred- ible scientific product that they can within the boundaries of the studies a scientific program that can stand the test of time and the courts. Demand and provide the best. SUMMARY AND CLOSURE The GCES program has been an evolving process. When I reflect on the beginnings of GCES, I am reminded of a correlation that Wallace Stegner made to Major John Wesley Powell in the book Beyond the Hundredth Meridian. Mr. Stegner referred to Major Powell's scientific and profes- sional program as following a "corkscrew path of progress." In many ways the GCES program has followed a similar, convoluted path. We seem to have followed a path strewn with change and modification, often on the run. "Chaos,' seems to have become a law of nature and "or- der" a dream of us all. Do I see an endpoint to the GCES? The answer is yes. Will the answer mean anything when we are finished? We should all be looking to ourselves for that answer. I hope that when we get through with this effort, we will have gained for the resources. As the GCES Phase II program enters into the support of the EIS pro- gram, undoubtedly changes will occur changes based on the science and changes based on the politics and bureaucracy of the system in which we function. The GCES has strived from its inception to represent a credible and scientifically driven process. Often the balance between the expectations of the managers and the reality of the science do not mix. In many venues, science and data are viewed as a threat a threat to the norm and to the way that decisions have been made in the past. It is inevitable that the science and the scientists of the GCES program will be questioned and perhaps even attacked for their efforts and results. Perhaps a quote from Abraham Lincoln, modified to reflect the GCES perspective, states it best: If we were to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on us, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. We do the very best we know how, the very best we can, and we mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings us out all right, what is said against us won't amount to anything. If the end brings us out wrong, then all the angels swearing we were right would make no difference. The role of scientists in the bureaucratic decision-making environment is indeed tenuous as they try to balance the scientific credibility of the profes- sion against the wants and desires of management. That balance is often

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238 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT strewn with the harsh reminders that conflict continues between science and bureaucracy. Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad but does not carry a list of instructions on how to use it. The scien- tific knowledge being developed through the GCES program will be a body of statements with varying degrees of certainty. Some issues will remain unsure and unresolvable, some issues will be nearly resolved, but no answer will be absolutely certain. The best that can happen is to make the best estimates and apply it to the issues of concern. The challenge is to develop an integrated, adaptive experimental design that will permit clear separation of the effects of as many of the impacts as possible so that a sensible balance of scientific information, management requirements and adminis- trative mandates can be developed. The Grand Canyon will be here long after we have departed this earth. However, we have a responsibility to minimize the impact of our stay on so precious a resource. As scientists, our role may change but our responsibil- ity to stand up for a credible scientific cannot waver.