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14 Closing Remarks LUNA B. LEOPOLD, University of California Berkeley, California When Glen Canyon was built on the Colorado River, there was one purpose in mind: to protect the water needs of the upper basin states that were going to be developed more slowly than California and the lower states. Glen Canyon was built in order to satisfy the division of water. The upper states have not finished taking their full consumptive use from the Colorado River. They still have numerous water needs, and therefore, the changes that we have seen in the past several decades will continue. The system is still changing and there is convincing evidence that it is out of equilibrium, as indicated by the sand bars, the vegetation, the water chemis- try, the biota, and the water temperature. All of these parameters are changing at different rates. Some water entities have made their changes quickly, and others have not. But, since the upper states have not finished taking the water made available to them, we are going to see further impacts imposed upon the system the timing of which we cannot forecast. All of these changes are being superimposed on other unanticipated changes such as the possible climate change, the ordinary variability of runoff, and the changes that humans have brought about. We are dealing with some- thing that is going to last a long timemuch of which cannot be anticipated even if we keep studying it. The relationships between the physical, chemi- cal, biological, economic, and other environmental processes and factors are complex. Considering these complexities, one cannot draw firm conclu- sions. After listening to the presentations at this symposium, I will make 10 closing remarks. 254

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CLOSING REMARKS... 255 1. The deterioration of the totality of values will continue if no change is made in the operation of the Colorado River system. This progressive deterioration will not end. 2. The changing relationships among the physical, chemical, biological, and other environmental factors will possibly go unrecognized unless there is a comprehensive long-term observation program initiated as soon as pos- sible. The changes could be greatly complicated if we introduce additional factors such as other exotic species or further planting of additional fish or other biota. Let us keep from complicating the system even more than it is. 3. The use of experimental flows to observe what happens under semicontrolled conditions is one of the scientific methods most likely to add new and useful information to our store of present knowledge. But the full use of these experiments will be greatly compromised if an adequate observation program is not in place at the time that they are operative. Experimental flows will, by the nature of the problem, be limited in scope and duration. We should not expect them to be more than a very modest . . Beginning. 4. The Department of the Interior has failed to support a long term pro- gram of data collection. Such data collection is not costly compared with the cost of inadequate information. The cost of a stream gaging network, sediment, and water quality program is less than the cost of failure to have the proper information. Let me give a couple of examples. No adequate data were collected as to what was going to happen when the clear water was released downstream from Hoover Dam. The degradation below Hoover Dam was as much as 30 feet. The resulting degradation of the riverbed caused a flood problem in Yuma, and there has been a dredge operating in the Colorado River in the vicinity of Yuma since the dam was built. Now, of course, we make the best of a bad thing by making it into a federal wildlife refuge. In contrast, no one forecast what was going to happen below Fort Peck Dam. The river there did not have a degradation problem; it had an armoring problem. Thus, bank erosion of the Missouri River below Fort Peck had not been anticipated; no measurements were made, and it has been costly. 5. Political and economic forces drive the systemeven at the expense of cost efficiency. Science cannot come to the support of management when curtailed by time limitations and lack of long-term support. Here is where the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) might come in. It is very difficult for individual agencies to bypass the Secretaries of their respective departments and go directly to Congress to have their say scientifically. The NAS can do so. The NAS has taken the wise step of trying to improve its endowment so it can initiate studies not financed by government agencies. I would suggest that the NAS do its part where the agencies cannot. The Academy should go directly to Congress.

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256 COLORADO RIVER ECOLOGY AND DAM MANAGEMENT 6. The National Park Service has failed for years to do its part in explor- ing and explaning of its needs and purposes. When my brother wrote the Leopold Report for Secretary Udall, a main recommendation was that there must be a research organization in the National Park Service. It is not impossible to create a research organization. However, the National Park Service has made little attempt to do so. 7. The political forces that led to the preparation of an environmental impact statement at Glen Canyon Dam, I fear, are likely to use the environ- mental impact statement as the end product of their research program. They are likely as a result of it to eliminate the long-term monitoring and re- search program. They have made no promise to take this 5-year minimum program and support it. I greatly fear that we are likely to see the environ- mental impact statement used as a vehicle for simply saying that we've done our job and we've done the research let's close it out. I hope that does not happen but we should keep our eyes open. 8. There are those of us who are meteorologists and who take seriously the possibility of climatic warming. The rivers in the western United States show that the climate changed in about 1945-1950, long before the meteo- rological records showed it. The climate changed about that time toward the cooler and more erratic, more moist phase. Later as the meteorological records became more complete, we could see how rivers reacted. There is still a great possibility that the climatic warming that might occur will lead to longer droughts than we have already seen. I think that we have to face the question of what happens in the case of a long drought. Let us study to see what the alternatives are and what kinds of results might occur. 9. It is discouraging to see that federal agency managers presently think that science has not contributed enough to give them an insight into how they might guide changes in dam operational procedures. The interpreta- tion of scientific understanding, however limited or conditional, must be translated by the scientists into concrete recommendations designed for the manager. Perhaps we the scientists are not fulfilling our role. Science cannot be usefully applied unless there is built-in acceptance of the concept of incremental change. If we are going to make the change, for example, in the operation of a dam, it seems only logical to try it in small steps and see what happens. This has to be done with the understanding that we are going to make the change, see what happened, and then determine what should be done next. We cannot lay out long-term procedures that are likely to hold up forever. We must make small changes initially. But it should be understood very clearly by the people who are supporting the investigation that more changes will be needed. 10. The need for a long-term, uninterrupted program of observation and measurement is the unassailable conclusion of the studies made to date. On this point, neither managers nor any administrator can doubt the scientific

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CLOSING REMARKS... 257 adequacy of the information supporting this result. The data-collection program should be designed with great care, it should consider a wide variety of data needs, and each part should be installed and operated as soon as practicable even though not all parts cannot necessarily begin at one time.

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