IMPORTANT: IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ THE FULL BRIEFING BEFORE YOU COMMENT. THIS ACTION ALERT FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE WILL SEND COMMENTS TO BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. THERE ARE CURRENTLY TWO PLANNING PROCESSES THAT ARE INTERRELATED, AND LAKE POWELL AND LAKE MEAD USERS NEED TO BE SUBMITTING FEEDBACK ON BOTH PROCESS. OUR ACTION ALERT FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE WILL ENBLE YOU TO COMMENT ON BOTH PROCESSES AT ONCE.
The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) will be accepting public comment until December 20, 2022.
Bureau of Reclamation will be be adapting the 2007 Interim Guidelines to address current low water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead in order to adequately address hydrology, economy and agricultural needs due to unprecedented low water levels. The Department of Interior recognizes, “given that water levels continue to decline, additional action is needed to protect the System”.
BlueRibbon Coalition along with PowellHeadz has been involved in the public comment process throughout 2022 in order to create guiding principles that will support continued use and sustainable water levels on Lake Powell as well as Lake Mead. Thousands of our members have also submitted comments as the Bureau of Reclamation has started the process to draft the 2026 Operating Guidelines. However, a supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is needed to address low water levels until the new 2026 guidelines are created. This is why we are having this current comment period.
BOR will create alternatives in order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that will address future conditions on the Colorado River Basin.
“The Department currently lacks analyzed alternatives and measures that may be necessary to address such projected conditions. Recognizing the risks facing the Colorado River Basin, the Department has concluded that immediate development of additional operational alternatives and measures for Lake Powell and Lake Mead are necessary to ensure continued “operations that are prudent or necessary for safety of dams, public health and safety, other emergency situations . . . 2007 Interim Guidelines at Section 7.D,” published at 73 FR 19892 (April 11, 2008).”
The preliminary proposed action would, “decrease the quantity of water that shall be apportioned for consumptive use in the Lower Division States (Arizona, California, and Nevada)” and “to modify and/or reduce the quantity of water released from Glen Canyon Dam.” It would also provide a mid-year review to analyze current conditions in the two reservoirs.
We have previously released our plan for the Path to 3588′ that was recognized by the Bureau of Reclamation. BOR should strongly consider that plan as they create this (SEIS) and develop alternatives. Also, we believe the BOR should recognize the value of recreation in all of the developed alternatives.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation had a record breaking year in 2021. Outdoor recreation now accounts for $821 billion in economic activity. For reference, the oil and gas industry is $812 billion. Outdoor recreation is popular. It is an economic juggernaut. Yet, public land agencies act as if this nearly $1 trillion dollar industry is optional or an
afterthought. Instead of building new ramps, campgrounds, and infrastructure to accommodate the new growth in outdoor recreation, land managers are relentlessly closing areas and resources for the public to use. It doesn’t make any sense.
This is exactly what is happening with Lake Mead. The National Park Service is currently accepting comments on a proposal to either adapt current recreation amenities and infrastructure or to either temporarily or permanently close marinas, ramps, and facilities. This comment period ends on December 23, 2022, and NPS staff have told us that if Bureau of Reclamation doesn’t adopt a plan to recover the lake levels, NPS won’t have much choice for keeping facilities open at Lake Mead.
Because it is complicated to appropriately comment to both agencies that will be impacting the future of these reservoirs, we have prepared an action alert that will send your comments to both agencies at the same time. We have included feedback you can send that will share your support for our Path to 3588′ Plan to stabilize the water levels at both reservoirs. We have also placed a special emphasis on supporting the National Park Service in choosing an option to make adaptations to current facilities to keep infrastructure on Lake Mead open. It is our hope that the users of both lakes will unite in support of these efforts since the operation of both lakes is completely interconnected.