Today people from across the country joined more than 50 organizations and businesses to celebrate and inaugurate "The Century of River Restoration" at Carl Hayden Visitors Center at Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. Led by longtime Colorado River advocate and environmental leader David Brower, the event was highlighted by a signing ceremony of the "Glen Canyon Declaration," calling for restoration of the Colorado River and Glen Canyon.
David Brower, who has led the fight to save Glen Canyon for 40 years, addressed the festive crowd with his concerns about dam safety, water evaporation, seepage, and sustainable economics. He described Glen Canyon as a rich and beautiful landscape that should have become a national park as early as the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
Brower was joined by Thomas Morris, president of the Diné Medicine Men's Association, whose organization unanimously voted to drain "Lake" Powell on Saturday, March 11th, and who gave the invocation at the river rendezvous and celebration. Morris said, "'Lake' Powell Reservoir has submerged our sacred sites and destroyed our ability to communicate with sacred gods. These sites must be restored for our children and grandchildren."
Yvon Chouinard, owner of Patagonia, Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of quality outdoor clothing, stated in a letter read at the celebration, "The construction of Glen Canyon Dam more than any other dam in the United States represented the most blatant disrespect for the planet's sacred landscape -- all for a facility that we know was not needed."
Significant parts of the declaration--presented by John Weisheit of the Moab-based Glen Canyon Action Network, primary sponsor of the celebration, and Phil Williams of International Rivers Network--include:
• The Bureau of Reclamation should begin the process of developing and then implementing a decommissioning plan for Glen Canyon Dam.
• The Bureau of Reclamation should establish a federal laboratory to serve as the nation's primary research facility for river and riverine habitat restoration, and give strong consideration to locating this facility in the town of Page, Arizona.
• All new management plans affecting the Colorado River watershed should undergo rigorous analysis of basinwide impacts.
• No new dams within the Colorado River watershed should be constructed, nor should existing dams be reconstructed in the event of their failure.
• Operating licenses should be required for all federal dams, as has long been the case with all non-federal dams. Federal dams must be subject to periodic relicensing reviews to ensure compliance with all environmental laws and safety standards.
• The Bureau of Reclamation should provide funding to support scientific research on the biological and habitat requirements of the endangered native fish of the Colorado River.
• The National Park Service should implement a program to quantify, monitor, and evaluate the presence of a wide range of pollutants including toxic and radioactive metals, petroleum compounds, bacteria, and other contaminants in Lake Powell Reservoir.
"We're thrilled by the outpouring of support we're seeing from all across the country for restoring Glen Canyon," said John Weisheit, President of Glen Canyon Action Network. "We are on our way to Glen Canyon, a movement of people seeking to restore the world's most beautiful canyons and a world-class river."
The celebration was one of 65 actions taking place in twenty other countries today on this, the Third Annual International Day of Action Against Dams, and For Rivers, Water and Life. "There is a rapidly growing global movement for 'Living Rivers,'" said Juliette Majot, Executive Director of the California-based International Rivers Network. "We're excited to be part of the leadership for restoration. The Colorado, long a symbol of the development of rivers, is now becoming a symbol of society's growing commitment to heal them."
Among the organizations and businesses endorsing the declaration are: Alaska Action Center, American Lands Alliance, Arizona Green Party, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, Blue Water Network, Californians For Utah Wilderness, Center for Biological Diversity, Coast Range Association, Colorado Plateau River Guides, Columbia Gorge Audubon Society, Committee for Idaho's High Desert, Diné Medicine Men's Association, Earth First! Journal, Earth Island Institute, Environmental Law Society (Univ. of AZ), Environmental Resource Center (Evergreen Coll.), Escalante Wilderness Project, European Rivers Network, Eyak Preservation Council, Flagstaff Activist Network, Forest Conservation Council, Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, Free The Planet! (N.A.U.), Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Eel River, Friends of the River, Grassroots Environmental Effectiveness Network, Great Basin Mine Watch, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, GreenAction, Green Party Of Utah, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, International Rivers Network, John Muir Project, Living Arts Center For Ecology, National Forest Protection Alliance, Native Environmental Justice Advocacy Fund, Oregon Wildlife Federation, Oregonians for Utah Wilderness, Round River Conservation Studies, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Sky Island Watch, Solar Energy International, Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, Terra Firma (Univ. of UT), Utah Environmental Congress, Virginians for Wilderness, Western Land Exchange Project, Wetlands Action Network, Wild Angels, Canyon Voyages & Adventure Company, Back of Beyond Books, Moab Man Construction, Knave of Hearts Bakery, Fry Canyon Lodge, Tag-A-Long Expeditions, The Rio Colorado Restaurant, Wildland Scapes, and North American River Expeditions/O.A.R.S.
Click here to read the declaration.
Click here to read the Declaration for the Restoration of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.