Release date: May 5, 2005

To the Many People Interested in the Grand Canyon:

On October 8, 2004, the National Park Service (NPS) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Colorado River Management Plan (DEIS) for public review and comment.

The DEIS was designed to provide a comprehensive look at the impacts to natural and cultural resources from current visitor uses on the Colorado River, and to evaluate various alternatives that can help the NPS achieve its mission to preserve park resources while enhancing recreational opportunities in the river corridor.

Public meetings to provide an overview of the DEIS and accept public comment were held throughout the country and were attended by approximately 1,000 people. During the public comment period, which ended on February 1, 2005, the NPS received a large volume of comments representing a wide range of interests.

The comments are being carefully analyzed and considered as the NPS begins to prepare a final EIS (FEIS) that will include responses to all of the substantive comments received, along with any necessary changes from the DEIS. The NPS currently anticipates releasing a FEIS in late summer/early fall of 2005. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and NPS policy require at least a 30-day no-action period following release of a FEIS. The FEIS will not be available for additional public comment during that time.

Following the no-action period, a Record of Decision (ROD) will be prepared that documents the agency's choice of the final alternative, mitigation measures, and rationale for the decision. The ROD will be released to the public and a summary published in the Federal Register.

Once the ROD has been published, an implementation and monitoring plan will be developed to specify how the NPS will implement the provisions in the plan as specified in the ROD. The final Colorado River Management Plan will be published as a separate document and made available to all interested parties.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments and for your continued participation in the CRMP planning process.

Sincerely,

Rick Ernenwein
Planning Team Leader

Grand Canyon National Park