WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., sent a letter to President Obama today calling for the establishment of a Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument to preserve the greater Grand Canyon region and protect it from existing and future threats.
The Arizona representatives asked the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish the national monument. This action would “not only protect ancient forests, corridors for migratory wildlife and thousands of archeological sites, it will also support clean drinking water, cultural heritage, and recreation.”
Their letter describes the heart of the region as the Kaibab Plateau, “where the Colorado River carves its way through the Grand Canyon and provides water for millions of people in Arizona, Nevada, and California, as well as further downstream in Mexico. The Kaibab Plateau is home to sensitive plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.”
“South of the Grand Canyon,” they wrote, “the Coconino Plateau contains deep groundwater that supplies life-giving seeps and springs. This area is also culturally rich and contains sites, including Red Butte, that are special and sacred to Native American tribes.”
Their letter noted that the Grand Canyon region is not only an environmental treasure but an economic driver for Arizona. In 2013, 4.5 million visitors spent nearly a half a billion dollars in the region, supporting more than 6,000 local jobs.