Phoenix Area Office - Programs & Activities

Environmental Resource Management 
Protecting the Natural Environment


Central Arizona Project Canal
The Central Arizona Project or CAP, is a multi-purpose water project that delivers Colorado River water from Arizona's western border to the state's interior to supplement existing municipal, Indian, and farm water supplies. Designed and constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation, the project consists primarily of a 336-mile long aqueduct system, several hundred miles of smaller distribution canals, and one new storage dam. In addition, several existing dams were modified to help control flooding, for safety purposes, and to provide additional water conservation.

Pineapple Cactus A project as large as the CAP can significantly impact the plant and animal populations it touches. Federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and Reclamation's own regulations require that any impacts be minimized to the fullest extent possible. Reclamation energetically conducts an environmental program to preserve and enhance the values of the natural and human environments that planning, constructing, operating and maintaining the CAP will affect.

Two Mule Deere This program, managed by Reclamation's Phoenix Area Office (PXAO) ensures that all project construction activities comply fully with state and federal regulations protecting the fish, wildlife, and native plant resources. A staff of full-time biologists manage the program.

By ensuring timely compliance with all regulations, the program allows Reclamation to mitigate, or minimize, the loss of fish and wildlife values in the project area. It also helps prevent costly construction delays that result if necessary biological impacts assessments or mitigation measures are delayed or overlooked.

Deseret Tortoise

Biological studies are conducted to determine how plant and animal communities could be affected by the project and what can be done to lessen those affects. Studies have shown, for example, that acquiring lands to protect existing but threatened wildlife habitat and intensively revegetating disturbed areas can significantly offset habitat loss, although it rarely compensates for such losses completely. And some mitigation measures, such as building wildlife water developments in the desert, can actually enhance deer habitat in areas where water is a limiting factor.

Last Updated: 6/25/15