Introduction to the Grand Canyon National Park Archeology River Monitoring Program (1990-2005)
In July 1989 Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan directed Reclamation to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam. Thus, more than a quarter-century after the floodgates of the dam closed, its environmental effects were to be judged scientifically. Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which authorizes the EIS process, cultural resources are an aspect of the environment worthy of study and consideration, just as are natural resources. The EIS for Glen Canyon Dam operations therefore mandated scientific studies of cultural resources within the area potentially affected by water releases. Further Glen Canyon Dam operations are considered a federal undertaking that either directly, indirectly or potentially affect cultural resources. Acknowledgement of this enacts the National Historic Preservation Act of 1992 (amended) (NHPA). Under Section 106 of this act the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is responsible for the impacts to cultural resources caused by dam operations and National Park Service (NPS) is dually responsible for these cultural resources under Section 110 of NHPA.
In a joint venture, Reclamation and NPS decided that the first step in the EIS process with respect to cultural resources was to conduct an intensive inventory of archaeological sites in the river corridor. The area surveyed encompassed a 255-mile stretch of the river corridor, extending from Glen Canyon Dam to Separation Canyon. The vertical extent of the survey area was the riverine environment that incorporated all terrestrial river-derived sediments below the estimated 300,000 cfs level, as well as a few areas of eolian sand dunes lying slightly above this level.
It is sufficient to note that the cultural monitoring program has operated from its inception within a complicated framework of laws, regulations, and other directives that are not always in accord with one another. At times, there has been an inherent conflict between complying with the provisions of Section 106 of NHPA (mitigating the effects of a federally sponsored undertaking), while at the same time recognizing and adhering to long-standing NPS policies (i.e., Section 110 of NHPA) regarding the "preservation-in-place" of cultural resources.
The PA outlines the responsibilities of Reclamation for the mitigation of these adverse effects under Section 106 of NHPA, spelling out the responsibilities of the RCMP as follows:
Currently, all work conducted by archeologists has been completed under stipulations in a Monitoring and Remedial Action Plan (MRAP). The processes delineated in the MRAP guide the ongoing process for the identification, monitoring, and remedial actions on cultural resources impacted, or potentially impacted, as a result of the operations of Glen Canyon Dam.
Summary reports were produced by the NPS after each field season, between 1992 and 2005. They identify the sites that were monitored and their current condition and the sites that have received remedial actions.
Catalog # GRCA 113336, COLORADO RIVER CORRIDOR MONITORING PROGRAM FISCAL REPORTS, 1992-2005
THE RIVER CORRIDOR MONITORING PROGRAM RELATED TO THE GLEN CANYON DAM DIDN'T STARTED IN1992 WITH THE 1994 SURVEY REPORT BEING THE BASIS FOR THE INFORMATION. MONEY FOR THE PROGRAM ENDED IN 2006, WITH GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK SWITCHING TO A DIFFERENT REPORTING FORMAT. THE REPORTS WERE PREPARED BY GRCA AND NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY ARCHEOLOGY STAFF.
Grand Canyon National Park Archeological Resources
The River Monitoring Program
generates data regarding the effects of Dam operations on historic properties, identifies ongoing impacts to historic properties within the APE [Area of Potential Effect], and develops and implements remedial measures for treating historic properties subject to damage.
Last updated: March 22, 2019