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Sierra Club, Arizona's Grand Canyon Chapter

Protect Grand Canyon Watershed

“Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” — President Theodore Roosevelt

Grand Canyon National Monument (By Alicyn Gitlin)
Credit: Alicyn Gitlin

A proposed national monument for Grand Canyon's watershed covers approximately 1.7 million acres of desert grasslands, lush coniferous forests, towering cliffs, deeply cut tributary canyons, and numerous springs that flow into the Colorado River. The heart of the proposed monument is the Kaibab Plateau, sandwiched between Grand Canyon National Park, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument. It is here that the Colorado River carves Grand Canyon and provides water for millions of people in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

The Plateau is home to 22 sensitive plants and animals, some of which found nowhere else in the world, including the Kaibab squirrel. In addition, this area provides critical wildlife corridors for iconic wildlife such as mountain lions and mule deer and important habitat for imperiled species such as the California condor and the desert tortoise.

The area includes more than 300,000 acres of intact, ancient forests. This is, in fact, the largest unprotected old-growth ponderosa pine forest remaining anywhere in the Southwest.

South of Grand Canyon, the Coconino Plateau contains deep groundwater that supplies life-giving seeps and springs.

Grand Canyon, an American icon and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and its watershed deserve permanent protection.

Key threats to the area include the following:

  • Uranium mining—Existing and proposed uranium mining continues to threaten the water quality, wildlife, and intact habitat of the Grand Canyon watershed.
  • Lack of room to roam for wildlife—The region lacks safe habitat connections between Grand Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument in Utah.
  • Logging of ancient trees—Lacking permanent protections, the old-growth ponderosa pine forests of the North Kaibab Plateau remain subject to destructive logging, threatening native wildlife diversity and climate resiliency.
  • Irresponsible off-highway vehicle use and high density of roads—The use of old roads causes soil loss and vegetation damage, affecting archeological sites and water sources, separates wildlife from their habitat, and invites uncontrolled and irresponsible off-highway vehicle use.
  • Inappropriate livestock grazing—One of the most pervasive threats to the region, domestic livestock grazing, leads to habitat degradation, shrub invasion, and soil erosion.
California condor (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)
Credit: NPS

Protecting this region as a national monument would not only preserve the region’s ancient forests, protect corridors for migratory wildlife, and preserve thousands of archeological sites, it would also support clean drinking water, cultural heritage, and recreation.

Please ask President Obama to issue a declaration to protect Grand Canyon's watershed as a national monument.

Complete the form below with your information. Personalize and send your message. Adding your individual connection to the region and your own thoughts will have a greater impact.

Thank you!

Recipients

  • President Barack Obama

Contact

*Required fields
 

Message

Please Establish Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument

Dear [Decision Maker],

Please protect Grand Canyon's watershed by establishing a national monument.



Thank you for considering my comments.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]