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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem 6 Summary of Findings and Recommendations The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center is engaged in a major science-policy experiment in western U.S. water management. It is one of the only comprehensive science organizations designed to support an adaptive management program. The U.S. Department of the Interior's Adaptive Management Program is pioneering in many respects. The Program has given rise to legal changes in Glen Canyon Dam operations, policy and science program decisions for the Colorado River ecosystem are based upon direct stakeholder input, and it is recognized that future Glen Canyon Dam operations may need to be continually adjusted in response to changing scientific knowledge and public values. Changing values in the 1970s and 1980s, and surprising environmental results of floods in the early 1980s, led to the establishment and continuation of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies. Scientific findings from that program demonstrated that Glen Canyon Dam operations had significant effects on downstream resources. The Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992, the Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement (1995), and the Secretary's Record of Decision (1996) led to the establishment of the Adaptive Management Program, which includes the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. This National Research Council committee was convened to assess the Strategic Plan's likely effectiveness in meeting the requirements specified in the above-listed mandates. More specifically, the committee was asked to address two main questions and five related questions regarding the Center's Strategic Plan:
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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Will the Long-Term Strategic Plan be effective in meeting requirements specified in the Grand Canyon Protection Act, the final Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement, and Record of Decision? Does the Long-Term Plan respond to the new adaptive management process called for by the Grand Canyon Protection Act and Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement? Is the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center functioning effectively in the Adaptive Management Program, especially regarding incorporation of all stakeholder objectives and information needs in the planning process? Does the Long-Term Plan incorporate past research knowledge in developing new monitoring and research directions? Has the Center appropriately addressed past reviews of Glen Canyon Environmental Studies programs in formulating new research directions? Characterize weaknesses of the Long-Term Plan and recommend short and long-term science elements to the GCMRC to address identified weaknesses. What weaknesses exist in the Long-Term Plan, and how do these weaknesses affect the potential effectiveness of the overall science program? What science elements are necessary to correct specific plan weaknesses? In addition to reviewing the Strategic Plan, the committee was asked to comment upon the Center's functions within the larger Adaptive Management Program (as described within the Grand Canyon Protection Act and the Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement). The Center's Strategic Plan has a good chance of fulfilling mandated requirements. Although the requirements of these federal acts and documents are still being clarified, and the Strategic Plan is being revised, the Center has made important strides toward establishing an effective monitoring and research program. The Center has also responded well to the new Adaptive Management Program. The chances of meeting national policy aims and requirements will be enhanced if the following recommendations are addressed.
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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT ISSUES Begin the long-term monitoring program. The Center is in a good position to start this program and should implement it in the near future. Clarify the scientific basis for the adaptive management experiment currently being conducted in the Grand Canyon. The hypothesized relations between dam operations, ecosystem responses, and social effects must be defined. Develop a more sophisticated and flexible definition of the geographic scope of the Adaptive Management Program. The Program and the Adaptive Management Work Group have found ways to creatively address boundary issues (e.g., Lake Powell). Future boundary issues should also be thoughtfully and flexibly addressed. Include a strategy for scientific evaluation of policy alternatives, both in terms of ecological outcomes and values of stakeholder groups. The Adaptive Management Program's strategic plan should include a strategy for using new scientific information in drafting policy options. Recognize limitations of the current pluralistic situation within the Adaptive Management Program. The Center and the Adaptive Management Work Group should work together to identify a set of baseline conditions and vision for the Grand Canyon ecosystem. Continue to work toward a set of internally consistent, refined, and reduced management objectives and information needs. These should be created through collaboration between the Center, a new senior scientist, and the Adaptive Management Work Group. Explicitly recognize that effective adaptive management in the Grand Canyon will require trade-offs among management objectives favored by different groups. The Adaptive Management Work Group should begin to consider mechanisms for equitable weighting of competing interests. The Center should begin to develop decision support systems and methods. To ensure credible, objective review of the Center and the Program, establish a Science Advisory Board that is not a subcommittee of the Adaptive Management Work Group. Issues addressed by the Science Advisory Board should not be formally limited.
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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem SCIENCE PROGRAM ISSUES In all the Center's science programs, it is important that Center scientists and stakeholders play a role in identifying research needs. The selection and design of appropriate scientific investigations within the Adaptive Management Program should be guided both by competitive requests for proposals and by advice from independent review panels. Core monitoring variables should be explicitly identified and should consist of simple and basic information whose value will accrue over time. These data should be selected using ecosystem-level, multispecies perspectives. Monitoring programs must be shielded from fluctuating budgets and short-term interests. There is a need for more and better knowledge regarding sediment budgets, particularly in upstream reaches impacted by post-dam supply reductions, and in Glen and Marble canyons. Biological research should be shifted from its present species-oriented emphasis toward broader monitoring and research on communities and ecosystems. It must also address the biological implications of the temperature-control experiments involving selective withdrawals from Lake Powell. The Cultural Resources Program should look forward to encompassing a broader range of social groups and historical periods, and to recognizing that tribal perspectives and cultural resources provide valuable insights into adaptive environmental management in the Grand Canyon. Resources for full tribal participation in monitoring, research, and adaptive management must be secured, without reducing other components of the Center's Cultural Resources Program. The Center should develop expertise and budgeting for modern techniques of nonmarket valuation of ecosystem services. The scope of economics inquiry in the Strategic Plan is out of balance with the level of research on other features in the Grand Canyon ecosystem. The Strategic Plan and Center should seek to understand not simply the range of preferences and activities of Grand Canyon ''users," but also the degree to which the uses and ecosystem features are valued. Sources of funding for original research devoted to measuring Grand Canyon ecosystem values should be sought, using a fully representative scientific sample of all stakeholders.
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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem One of the Strategic Plan's strengths is its understanding of theories and practices of adaptive management. In future versions it should anticipate the need to assess the actual uses of results from research and monitoring. The Center's incorporation of past research varies from very good (e.g., physical) to weak (socioeconomic). Regarding previous reviews of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies, results are similarly mixed. The Center's responses to earlier advice regarding cross-program integration within an ecosystem framework are partially adequate, while responses in the fields of socioeconomic and decision analysis represent backward steps. ORGANIZATIONAL AND BUDGET ISSUES The operational relationships and responsibilities of organizational entities within the Adaptive Management Program should be reexamined. There is a current trend toward micromanagement of the Center's activities. The following criteria should be considered in deciding upon the Center's institutional home: (1) the Center should be housed in a premier science organization committed to physical, biological, and social science inquiry, (2) the institutional home should enable the Center to work effectively with all Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon Dam management agencies, (3) the institutional home should enable the Center to communicate scientific program issues and results directly with a management team at the Assistant Secretary level in the Department of the Interior, and (4) the Center should be independent from any single stakeholder management organization within the Adaptive Management Work Group. A senior scientist and an adaptive management specialist should be appointed to the Center's staff. Additional staff and associated budget allocations also seem warranted for the Physical Resources, Cultural Resources, and Socioeconomic Resources programs. The Program should consider using hydropower revenues at least at the levels currently provided to support core research, monitoring, and adaptive management programs required by the Grand Canyon Protection Act, the Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement, and the Record of Decision. Budgets for additional future activities could be developed from other U.S. Department of the
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Downstream: Adaptive Management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River Ecosystem Interior agencies and foundation sources, as well as hydropower revenues. For the Center to be more effective in responding to the Adaptive Management Program and its stakeholder groups, it will need to address recommendations regarding organizational and budget issues. Future revisions of the Strategic Plan will hopefully focus upon the recommendations listed above and elaborated upon in this report, especially the following: clearly define the adaptive management experiment; implement the monitoring program; conduct monitoring within an ecosystem (vs. species-oriented) paradigm; review the Center's resource programs, responsibilities, and relations with other entities within the Adaptive Management Program; resume socioeconomic analysis and decision support; broaden the definitions of cultural groups and economic resources; and secure broad, objective program review. The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center and the Adaptive Management Program have made important progress toward management of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River ecosystem based upon ecosystem science and input from a range of constituencies. The committee commends all involved for their contributions toward these vital trends in water resource management and science-policy innovations, and we look forward to the future ecological and social benefits of strategic planning efforts currently underway at the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center.
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