Reclamation Awards $2.3 Million Contract for Minnow Sanctuary

Media Contact: Mary Perea Carlson, (505) 462-3576

For Release: December 07, 2007

The Bureau of Reclamation today awarded a $2.3 million contract for construction of the final phase of a unique facility to provide habitat for the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

Under the contract, Smithco Construction Inc. will complete the pump station, install fish screens and piping, and complete mechanical, electrical and utility work on the Minnow Sanctuary.

The channels for the Minnow Sanctuary are nestled under the cottonwoods of the Rio Grande bosque in southwest Albuquerque. Like the facility already in operation at the Rio Grande Biological Park, the sanctuary will mimic river conditions. However, this sanctuary is designed a step closer to natural conditions. The gates and fish screens will allow fish and eggs to be held in the channel away from predator fish and eventually released directly back into the river.

"This project is considered an essential component for successful protection of the Rio Grande silvery minnow," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson. "Once the sanctuary is completed, the habitat it will provide will greatly enhance the propagation of the captive silvery minnow."

Reclamation has partnered with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Fish and Wildlife Service and the city of Albuquerque's Open Space Division to construct the facility. The idea for the Minnow Sanctuary was brought to the group by Senator Pete Domenici in 2003 as all parties looked for ways to sustain the habitat for the endangered silvery minnow.

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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.