Collaborative Planning and Adaptive Management in Glen Canyon: A Cautionary Tale

One of the most prominent attempts at CAM involves the Department of the Interior's decision to rely on CAM, in principle, to carry out its responsibilities under the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992 to monitor the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam, operate the Dam in compliance with a range of laws and regulations, and mitigate any significant environmental impacts. The Act stipulates that a variety of stakeholders - including several federal agencies, states, power generators, recreational users, and environmental organizations - must be consulted regarding dam operations. An Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") released in 1995 recommended "adaptive management" as the best approach to accomplish these tasks. The 1995 EIS recommended using CAM because of the significant uncertainties surrounding the socio-ecological systems involved, as well as the importance of learning from practice and ongoing research to improve operations over time.