Bureau of Reclamation seeks comments on plan to acquire habitat for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

Media Contact: Patricia Cox , (623) 773-6214
John McGlothlen , (623) 773-6256

For Release: July 20, 2006

Reclamation has issued a draft Environmental Assessment on a proposal to acquire land to benefit the federally endangered Southwestern Willow flycatcher. The proposed land purchase is comprised of an estimated 73 acres of privately owned land along the San Pedro River approximately 9 miles south of San Manuel in Pinal County, Arizona. The acreage contains suitable habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher. Land would be purchased only from willing sellers.

The action is being carried out as partial fulfillment of the requirements included in a 1996 Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Reclamation's modifications to Theodore Roosevelt Dam for water conservation and flood control. Modifications to the dam increased the water conservation capacity of the reservoir, which adversely affected occupied willow flycatcher habitat.

The proposed land acquisition is located just south of and adjacent to the 140-acre Spirit Hollow Preserve owned and managed by the Salt River Project. SRP purchased land parcels that comprise the Spirit Hollow Preserve in 2003 and 2004 to maintain riparian habitat in support of willow flycatcher conservation. Under the proposed action, Reclamation would enter into a management agreement under which SRP would be responsible for managing the additional 73 acres as part of the Spirit Hallow Preserve.

The draft EA can be obtained by calling the Environmental Resource Management Division at (623) 773-6251, by e-mailing rkonst@lc.usbr.gov , or by downloading it from the Phoenix Area Office website at http://www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix/

Comments should be mailed to Bruce Ellis at the Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office, PXAO-1500, 6150 West Thunderbird Rd., Glendale AZ 85306-4001or faxed to (623) 773-6481, no later than August 7, 2006. Questions may be directed to Mr. John McGlothlen of the Environmental Resource Management Division, at (623) 773-6256.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.