Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement on Proposed Wellton-Mohawk Title Transfer
Media Contact: Renee Kolvet , 702-293-8443
Robert Walsh , 702-293-8421
For Release: January 05, 2007
The Bureau of Reclamation today released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that describes the potential effects of the proposed transfer of title to project facilities and lands in southwestern Arizona from the United States to the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District. The FEIS also identifies a preferred transfer alternative.
The lands and facilities are part of the Wellton-Mohawk Division of the Gila Project, which is located about 30 miles east of Yuma, Ariz. Reclamation constructed the facilities, and holds title to them, project lands, and some lands adjacent to the District. The Wellton-Mohawk Transfer Act (Public Law 106-221) of June 20, 2000, authorized the title transfer.
The District has repaid the project's construction costs, and operates and maintains the project, while Reclamation has oversight and legal responsibilities related to project operation and maintenance, water use, and land administration.
Under the proposed transfer, the District would receive title to facilities such as canals, pumping plants, roads, and buildings, and to flood protection rights-of-way and easements for facilities. They would also purchase, at fair market value, various tracts of Reclamation land associated with the Division.
The proposed title transfer would eliminate the duplication of administrative costs and the divided responsibilities that exist because of federal ownership of works and facilities that are operated and maintained by the District. It would not change the purpose, operation, or use of the facilities and works, or any actions and relationships outside the District operations, such as allocation of Colorado River water, conveyance of agricultural return flows from the District, federal programs related to Colorado River water quality, or power contracts involving the District.
A draft EIS published in September 2003 evaluated the potential environmental and cultural aspects associated with the proposed title transfer. All comments received during the public review period for the draft EIS were assessed and considered in preparing this final EIS. Where appropriate, revisions were made to the draft EIS in response to specific comments.
Reclamation will not make any decisions regarding this proposed title transfer for at least 30 days. Some time after that, a Record of Decision, stating which alternative analyzed in the FEIS will be implemented and discussing the factors leading to the final decision, will be issued.
Copies of the FEIS are available from Ms. Christa Monaco, Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Regional Office, P.O. Box 61470, Boulder City, Nevada 89006; telephone (702) 293-8560; faxogram (702) 293-8418; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FEIS is also available on-line at: www.usbr.gov/lc/ .
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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.