Grand Canyon National Park Seeking Input On Fisheries Management Plans

How should fishing be managed in the Colorado River that runs through Grand Canyon National Park? What should the catch limits be, how should non-native species be addressed, and what should be done with endangered species struggling to survive?

Those are some of the questions park officials are facing as they develop a fisheries management plan for the stretch of the Colorado that runs from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lake Mead.

Park officials currently are accepting public suggestions on how that management plan should be crafted. The goal is 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:

Ø Translocations or reintroductions of endangered fish species (i.e., moving fish from one location to another);

Ø Stocking of sterile (non-spawning) rainbow trout in Lees Ferry;

Ø Fishing regulations (e.g., bag or harvest limits);

Ø Removing nonnative fish from selected areas that are important for native fish;

· Potential impacts to other resources including:

Ø Geology, soils, and vegetation;

Ø Wildlife and species of special concern;

Ø Water resources, floodplains, and wetlands;

Ø Cultural and ethnographic resources;

Ø Air quality, soundscapes;

Ø Socioeconomics;

Ø Visitor use and experience, and Wilderness;

Ø Park operations;

Ø Human health and safety.

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 can be submitted online at this site 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 this site, or at this one. Or, you can contact Brian Healy, Grand Canyon National Park Fisheries Program Manager, at (928) 638-7453.