GCPBA RiverNews 8-11-14 – GCPBA sends Colorado River Management Plan Adaptive Management Considerations to the Park

GCPBA RiverNews 8-11-14 - GCPBA sends Colorado River Management Plan Adaptive Management Considerations to the Park

In May, 2014, we asked GCPBA members for feedback about various aspects of the CRMP, and subsequently put a similar query out on our GCPBA Yahoo Group and in several other internet locations.

The feedback obtained from that project was distilled and included in the first of a series of recommendations and discussion items we intend to present to the Park.  Two recommendations for CRMP modifications and six discussion items were presented August, 2014, for the Park’s consideration.  We intend to discuss these with park personnel at our regular meeting with them in October in Flagstaff. Those discussions could possibly result in recommendations for additional implementation items in the future.

Below is the Executive Summary of the submittal. The full presentation can be seen on the GCPBA web site here:


While the response period for that project is officially over, the Board would certainly welcome your additional comments now.  Write to us at gcpbamail@gmail.com


CRMP Recommendations and Discussion Topics

Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association

August 6, 2014


Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (GCPBA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy on issues surrounding private boater access to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. Founded in 1996, GCPBA represents a paid membership as well as a long-established internet-based river community. Our organization was an active participant in the formulation of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP), and was a legal party supporting the Park in court challenges against the CRMP from 2006 to 2010.

Because of GCPBA’s investment in the CRMP, we have closely followed its implementation, and since its enactment have worked with Park officials to track its operation and effectiveness. We have been, and continue to be, impressed with the manner in which the Plan has been carried out. In our view, its success to date is a result of not only insightful development, but also diligence and professionalism on the part of numerous staff responsible for its implementation. We compliment the many Park personnel who have made this possible.

Early in the CRMP’s life, it seemed premature to advocate strongly for any major changes. Now, in its seventh year of operation, we believe some of those key concerns warrant formal discussion. To that end, GCPBA has been tracking emerging items of interest or concern on the part of our members and constituents. More recently, we solicited CRMP-related input from members, as well as constituent groups represented in several internet forums. This document represents our synthesis of that ongoing and current informational flow.

What follows is a brief description of two recommended CRMP changes and six discussion topics, which could lead to adaptive management changes in the Plan. We present them first in abbreviated form, and then include more detailed supporting information in the Appendix, which is the GCPBA working paper that resulted from this ongoing information-gathering project.

The goal of those changes and discussion items would be to allow future river operations to more closely and completely realize the CRMP’s goals with respect to private boaters. Also, none of these items should be viewed as GCPBA seeking to infringe on, or influence in any way, the commercial component of Grand Canyon boating. If any unforeseen commercial impacts flow from these ideas, we are ready to discuss how to achieve our stated goals in a manner that eliminates those impacts.

GCPBA appreciates the opportunity to present this information, and is prepared to work with the Park to more fully develop these concepts.

Specific CRMP-Related Recommendations and Discussion Topics

Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association

August 6, 2014


R-1. Expedite reallocation of unclaimed and abandoned launch dates. This would be done by announcing information regarding those dates immediately upon availability, so that boaters can begin exploratory planning before lotteries are actually conducted. In this connection, more frequent secondary lotteries should be considered for unclaimed launch dates. (See Appendix item #2)

R-2. Increase maximum trip lengths for selected portions of the boating season. Under this revision, winter trip lengths would be restored to 30 days. (See Appendix item #6)

Discussion Topics

D-1. Consider changes in the One Trip a Year rule, to include: waiving it completely; waiving it just for the winter months; or, waiving it only for trips that are unassigned within 30 days of launch. (See Appendix item #1)

D-2. Consider changing how lottery chances are awarded, to develop a new system in which everyone would start with one point. In such a system, additional chances would be awarded only for a failed lottery application (and no trip participation) each year. Under this provision, the lottery chances of the applicant and PATL could be added. (See Appendix item #3, 4)

D-3. Consider increasing trip sizes, such that up to 24 participants would be allowed for winter and shoulder season launches. (See Appendix item #5)

D-4. Consider rescheduling unused launches in a manner that recovers lapsed launches later in the same year. (See Appendix item #8)

D-5. Consider revision of the small trip launch schedule. This idea would entail a reduction in the number of winter launches, which would be replaced by a corresponding number of additional launches in March and October. (See Appendix item #9)

D-6. Consider increasing the maximum trip length for a noncommercial standard river trip launched in the period Sept 1-15 from 18 days to 21. (Appendix item #7)


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