Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Grand Canyon National Park

United States of America
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Mining
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Pollution (Impacts from aircraft activity, noise pollution)
  • Mining
  • Water infrastructure (wells may impact springs)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 9 February 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is accessible at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/75/documents, and reports the following:

  • All the potential uranium mines are located outside of the property, with the closest facility located 24km away. Currently one mine is being operationalized, and three additional mines located to the northwest of the property have been approved;
  • Mining activities are regulated by state and federal environmental laws including watershed protection provisions;
  • Potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property will be evaluated on potential mines located outside of the property boundaries, before a decision is made;
  • No changes were considered necessary to the existing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Canyon Mine project during its review in 2012, but some new mitigation measures were added;
  • The proposed Grand Canyon Escalade project was voted down by the Navajo Nation and is thus not supported. The State Party continues to monitor the situation and engage with stakeholders.

In response to a request by the World Heritage Centre, the State Party shared a map of the locations of the mines on 16 March 2018, and links to the EIS for the proposed 20-year withdrawal of mining from Federal lands surrounding the property. Links were also provided to the Record of Decision.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The clarification by the State Party that there are no uranium mines proposed inside the property is noted. However, the mining developments outside the boundary, but within the watershed, remain of significant concern as there may be downstream impacts on the property. It is important to recall the Secretary of Interior’s decision of withdrawing areas of federal land from mineral exploration surrounding the property for a period of 20 years in order to protect the Grand Canyon watershed from adverse effects, and to allow time to study the potential effects of uranium mining. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN therefore consider that the potential impacts on the OUV of the property of the uranium mining proposals with ‘valid existing rights’ that are exempt from this withdrawal should be evaluated in detail before a decision is made. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed and ensure the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) take into account IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and submit copies to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.

It is noted that the 1986 EIS for the Canyon Mine is still valid and that a new EIS is not required. However, noting the above mentioned potential impacts on the watershed, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure potential impacts are closely monitored and take an adaptive approach to management and mitigation, keeping the World Heritage Centre informed of monitoring results.

The decision to not support the Grand Canyon Escalade project is welcomed given the potential for this project to adversely impact the property’s OUV. In light of this, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that the project is legally cancelled.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.82
Grand Canyon National Park (United States of America) (N 75)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.104, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Reiterates its significant concern that there are uranium mines proposed in the area surrounding the property and requests the State Party to ensure Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, including a specific assessment of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, are completed and copies submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN before any decisions are made;
  4. Also requests the State Party to ensure that potential impacts from the Canyon Mine on the OUV of the property are closely monitored, and take an adaptive approach to management through the implementation of mitigation measures, and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of monitoring results;
  5. Welcomes that the Grand Canyon Escalade project was voted down by the Navajo Nation;
  6. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.82

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.104, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Reiterates its significant concern that there are uranium mines proposed in the area surrounding the property and requests the State Party to ensure Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, including a specific assessment of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, are completed and copies submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN before any decisions are made;
  4. Also requests the State Party to ensure that potential impacts from the Canyon Mine on the OUV of the property are closely monitored, and take an adaptive approach to management through the implementation of mitigation measures, and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of monitoring results;
  5. Welcomes that the Grand Canyon Escalade project was voted down by the Navajo Nation and further requests the State Party to ensure that the project is legally cancelled;
  6. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.
Report year: 2018
United States of America
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


top