Kris Polly and Karl Wirkus Selected Deputy Commissioners of the Bureau of Reclamation

Media Contact: Kip White, (202) 513-0684

For Release: December 07, 2007

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson has named two Deputy Commissioners. Kris Polly was selected as Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs and Karl Wirkus was selected as Deputy Commissioner for Operations.

"The experience and knowledge that Kris and Karl bring to Reclamation will be a vital asset as we work to meet the water and power demands of the future," said Johnson. "I am delighted that they have accepted these positions to be part of our leadership team."

Polly will oversee Reclamation's Congressional and Legislative Affairs and Public Affairs activities. He is also the executive responsible for Reclamation's national relationships with federal, state and local governments, as well as citizen and other nongovernmental groups. Polly joins Reclamation after working 15 years for the National Water Resources Association where he was the Vice President for Government Relations. He joined NWRA in 1992 as a Legislative Assistant. Polly resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Laura and two children, Caroline and William. He graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and is a native of Wauneta, Nebraska, where his family has farmed for five generations. Polly will join Reclamation on January 2, 2007.

Wirkus will oversee operations in Reclamation's five regions, the Technical Service Center, Research and Development Office, the Native American and International Affairs Office, Power Liaison, and Dam Safety Officer/Design, Estimating, Construction. He joins the Commissioner's Office after serving as the Deputy Regional Director of Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Region in Boise, Idaho. Since 2005, he represented Reclamation in complex negotiations on endangered species act issues and supported the Regional Director in all other regional programs. He joined Reclamation in 1981 where he worked on a variety of projects and has worked in three of five regions. Wirkus graduated from Boise State University in 1984 with a Bachelors Degree in geology.

"These two new executives will help Reclamation build and maintain our relationships with our customers, stakeholders, Congress, and the public while being more effective in carrying out our mission," added Johnson.

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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