The National Park Service (NPS) is now accepting comments on the development of a fisheries management plan for waters between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead within Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The two NPS units, in coordination with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, are striving to maintain a balance between maintaining a quality recreational fishing experience in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam, known as the Lees Ferry area, while preserving and restoring the unique native fisheries within Grand Canyon National Park. This plan will be implemented by the NPS and will identify management actions the NPS will undertake to protect park resources. The plan is separate from the recently approved Bureau of Reclamation projects: 1) “Non-native Fish Control Downstream of Glen Canyon Dam;” and 2) “Development and Implementation of a Protocol for High-Flow Experimental Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona through 2020.” It will inform the ongoing planning process related to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam (Long Term Experimental and Management Plan).
The NPS planning process will consider the following:
- Development of fisheries management objectives for specific waters within both NPS units;
- A comprehensive “toolbox” of fisheries management techniques, such as:
- Translocations or reintroductions of endangered fish species (i.e., moving fish from one location to another);
- Stocking of sterile (non-spawning) rainbow trout in Lees Ferry;
- Fishing regulations (e.g., bag or harvest limits);
- Removing nonnative fish from selected areas that are important for native fish;
- Potential impacts to other resources including:
- Geology, soils, and vegetation;
- Wildlife and species of special concern;
- Water resources, floodplains, and wetlands;
- Cultural and ethnographic resources;
- Air quality, soundscapes;
- Visitor use and experience, and Wilderness;
- Park operations;
- Human health and safety;
The NPS encourages public participation on plans, such as this, through the National Environmental Policy Act (commonly known as NEPA) process during which the public has two opportunities to formally comment – once during the initial announcement (also known as “scoping”) and again following the release of the draft plan which is expected in the late summer or early fall of 2012. The NPS is currently in the scoping phase of this project and invites the public to submit their comments. Comments will be accepted for 30 days, and must be received by June 30, 2012.
Written comments may be submitted at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca or mailed to: David Uberuaga, Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Fisheries Management Plan EA, P.O. Box 129 (1 Village Loop for express mail), Grand Canyon, AZ 86023. The park expects to have a decision document for this plan by December, 2012. Additional information about this project can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca, or http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/fish.htm, or by contacting Brian Healy, Grand Canyon National Park Fisheries Program Manager, at (928) 638-7453.