|Glen Canyon Dam releases have many benefits|
|John W. Keys III
Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
November 05, 2005
|The recently-released scientific reviews of
last fall's High Flow Test Experiment at Glen Canyon Dam and the concurrent release of a
10-year review of science work on the Colorado River contain an important message for
millions of Western water users.
And the usual doomsayers, representing a very small number of people with a very big agenda, have once again launched into their tired diatribe about the dam without any acknowledgement of what the adaptive science program has accomplished or of the true views of Congress and the American people.
The irony is that the U.S. Geological Survey's "The State of the Colorado River Ecosystem in Grand Canyon," or SCORE report, summarized 10 years of knowledge that was openly available. There's nothing new there - we've all been working for 10 years on what was included in the report. Meanwhile, the positive news from the November 2004 High Flow Test Experiment has received little attention.
Previous Administrations of both political parties, as well as the U.S. Congress, have said that Glen Canyon Dam is here to stay because it is serving millions of people in the Southwestern United States. Congress, through the passage of the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992, clearly stated that the dam and reservoir have a place in the tapestry of the country.
The Act requires the Bureau of Reclamation to
operate the dam "fully consistent with and subject to the Colorado River
Compact...that govern[s] allocation, appropriation, development, and exportation of the
waters of the Colorado River Basin." It also requires the operation of the dam in a
manner that will "protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for
which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were
That is why the governors of the seven Colorado River Basin States
continue to participate. That is why the Indian Tribes of the Colorado River participate.
Reasonable people and organizations are joining together to help us learn, adjust, and
adapt the operation of the dam while it continues to serve over 25 million people with
vital water and power supplies.
Over the past 10 years, we have tested; we have tried procedures;
we have operated for periods of time with an eye towards discovering something unknown; we
have pondered and tested suppositions.
Glen Canyon Dam serves as the Congress envisioned in 1956 when it
passed the Colorado River Storage Project Act; moreover, Reclamation operates this
facility in full compliance with Congress' direction in the 1992 Grand Canyon Protection