Region in Brief: Feb. 13

Feds publish notice to solicit comment on Colorado River

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published a notice that would let Western governors weigh in on how to manage the shrinking Colorado River.

The public comment period will start March 4 unless all seven states that rely on the river approve drought contingency plans. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman has said she prefers the states reach consensus, but the federal government will take over if that doesn’t happen soon.

She called out Arizona and California last week as missing a previous deadline she set to complete drought plans. Water managers in those states say they’re confident they’ll get the work needed done.

The river serves 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The notice was published Feb. 6 in the federal register.

Study looks at economic benefit of longer North Rim season

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A new study says extending the tourist season at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim by a month would boost the regional economy by $14 million.

The canyon’s less popular North Rim is fully open less than half of the year, largely because of weather.

Tourism promoters in northern Arizona and southern Utah have been advocating for an extra two weeks in both October and May. The idea has gained traction recently.

Coconino County commissioned the study from Northern Arizona University. Researchers said Wednesday that a longer tourist season would bring nearly 38,000 visitors to a region that relies heavily on tourism and would support 183 jobs.

The study doesn’t factor in the cost to the national park or maintenance to the highway that leads to the North Rim.

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