Bureau of Reclamation Seeks Comments On Plan To Restore Native Fishes in Bonita Creek, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

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

For Release: February 21, 2007

Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have issued a draft Environmental Assessment on a proposal to construct a fish barrier in Bonita Creek on the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area in Graham County, Arizona. The proposed barrier would facilitate the Arizona Game and Fish Department's plans to chemically treat the lower segment of Bonita Creek to remove nonnative fishes, and to restore imperiled native fishes in the stream, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The action is being carried out by Reclamation as partial fulfillment of the requirements included in a 2001 Biological Opinion issued by the FWS on operation of the Central Arizona Project (CAP). The FWS, in its 2001 Biological Opinion, concluded that interbasin water transfer through the CAP seriously and adversely affects the endangered Gila topminnow and razorback sucker and the threatened spikedace, loach minnow, and bald eagle.

Bonita Creek is home to 5 species of native fish including the endangered Gila chub. The lower 15-mile segment of Bonita Creek is located in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area administered by the Safford Field Office of BLM.

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 Mr John McGlothlen 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 March 23, 2007. Questions may be directed to Mr. 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.