John S. McCain III
National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution

Project Case Summary

National Park Service - U.S. Geological Survey Grand Canyon Interagency Meetings
December 2008 - December 2009


The Glen Canyon Dam, completed in 1963, sits just outside Grand Canyon National Park. The dam provides hydroelectric power for 200 wholesale customers in six Western States, and it is an important component of the Nation's western electrical grid system, but it has affected the flow and temperature of the Colorado River. The U.S. Geological Survey's Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) is the science provider to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. In this role, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides scientific information to the National Park Service (NPS) regarding the conditions of important natural, cultural, and recreational resources affected by the Glen Canyon Dam. USGS and NPS must work together to integrate science and management. Tensions about the research priorities and how best to utilize the information to serve decision-making needs in the Grand Canyon have occurred over time.

U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution's Role

NPS and USGS engaged the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to convene a series of discussions between the two agencies to identify more effective ways to work together. In total, the U.S. Institute facilitated three meetings for the agencies, which addressed agency work plans, the 2009-2013 Monitoring and Research Plan (MRP), and the cultural resources program. As a result of the discussions, beginning in 2010 and annually thereafter, NPS and GCMRC scientists and program managers will convene an annual permitting/work-planning workshop to seek clarification, coordinate, and potentially collaborate on upcoming science efforts. This should greatly facilitate the permitting process and cooperation on key science and monitoring efforts.

Results and Accomplishments

Following the interagency meetings, the NPS issued research permits to the USGS for archaeological resource monitoring that had previously been stalled due to disagreements. In addition, NPS and USGS are working toward a new programmatic agreement under the National Historic Preservation Act for cultural resource management.


Partners from National Roster of ECR Practitioners
Carl Moore, Ph.D., Facilitator, The Community Store

U.S. Institute Project Manager
Larry Fisher, Ph.D., Coordinator
Phone: (520) 901-8544; Email:; Website:

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