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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Fall 2004 arrow Arizona: Review of the Glen Canyon Dam Programmatic Agreement
Arizona: Review of the Glen Canyon Dam Programmatic Agreement

Agency: Bureau of Reclamation
The Colorado River runs through the snowcapped mountains of north central Colorado and zigzags southwest for more than 1,400 miles before reaching the Gulf of California. It is the primary river of the American Southwest, draining about 242,000 square miles of land.

Along the river in Arizona, the Glen Canyon Dam harnesses the flow to supply water to more than 20 million people. The ACHP, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other parties are discussing the implementation of a 1994 agreement on the impact of the Glen Canyon Dam on historic properties within the river corridor. Many are traditional cultural properties that are significant to Indian tribes.

In 1994, the ACHP entered into a Programmatic Agreement on the effects of Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam on historic properties located about 230 miles downstream, along the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon Corridor District.

Colorado River, downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona



The Colorado River, downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona (photo courtesy of USGS)


The properties include more than 300 National Register-eligible archeological sites in Grand Canyon National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, and lands owned by or of concern to the Navajo Nation, Hualapai Tribe, Zuni, Hopi, and several Paiute tribes.
The agreement’s implementation is part of the Secretary of the Interior’s Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program to comply with the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992. The law directs the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam in a manner protective of the natural and cultural values of the Grand Canyon.

The Adaptive Management Program includes an extensive shareholder advisory program and long-term monitoring of environmental and cultural resources affected by the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam.
In September and October 2004, the ACHP and the other consulting parties met to discuss how to coordinate the implementation of a Cooperative Agreement among the Bureau of Reclamation (BoR), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Navajo Nation.

The Cooperative Agreement addresses the re-evaluation of the physical integrity of sites along the Glen Canyon reach of the Colorado River, as well as the preparation of a research design and treatment plan for affected sites along the reach.

The consulting parties also considered the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS’s) plan to establish a core-monitoring program that may involve cultural resources, and its relationship to an existing NPS monitoring program.

Finally, the group began planning a symposium on how geomorphology can enhance the understanding and management of the historic properties along the Colorado River.

The meetings included Federal agencies (BoR, NPS, USGS, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration); Indian tribes (Navajo Nation, Zuni Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, and Southern Paiute Consortium); the Arizona State Historic Preservation Officer; and the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association, a non-profit organization.

The consulting parties will continue to discuss the Historic Preservation Plan required by the Glen Canyon Dam Programmatic Agreement. Such a plan outlines historic resources, examines current preservation issues, and identifies goals to ensure the preservation of valued historic resources.

Staff contact: Margie Nowick

Posted March 8, 2005

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