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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
Media Contact:
Jeffrey McCracken
916-978-5100

Released On: March 17, 2008

Reclamation Extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Fee Changes at New Melones Lake

The Bureau of Reclamation is extending the public review and comment period on proposed changes to New Melones Lake’s fee program.  New Melones is in the process of implementing the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), Public Law 108-447, Title VIII, which authorizes Reclamation to issue special recreation use permits and participate in both a fee collection/retention program and the nationwide Federal Interagency Pass Program.  Implementing REA marks the first time a Reclamation-managed recreation area may retain revenues collected on-site and use them to enhance recreation facilities and services.  Prior to REA, all revenues collected at New Melones went to the Federal Treasury.

New Melones is implementing REA in two phases, Phase I and Phase II.  On February 15, 2008, Reclamation announced a public review and comment period on the proposed Phase I fees, with comments due by March 17, 2008.  At the request of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties, Reclamation is extending the comment period to Friday, April 4, 2008. 

Phase I had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 1, 2008; implementation is now delayed until Thursday, May 1, 2008.  From April 7 to June 6, 2008, a public review and comment period will be held on the proposed Phase II fees.  At that time, the public will also be asked for their suggestions on how Reclamation should use the revenues generated at New Melones under REA.  Phase II is scheduled to be implemented at New Melones on Wednesday, October 1, 2008.

After the Phase I comment period closes on April 4, 2008, the public comments received will be consolidated, responses to the comments will be developed, and a decision will be made and announced on the new Phase I fees.  This information will also be posted on http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/field_offices/new_melones/index.html

The Initial Plan for Phased Implementation of the 2005 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (Draft) is available at  http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/field_offices/new_melones/REA/docs/REA_Draft_Plan_Public_2-14-08.pdf.  If you have problems accessing the document, please contact Ms. Lynnette Wirth at 916-978-5102 or lwirth@mp.usbr.gov

Written comments on the proposed Phase I fees should be sent by Friday, April 4, 2008, to Mr. Jeff Laird, Bureau of Reclamation, 6850 Studhorse Flat Rd, Sonora, CA  95370, or e-mail jlaird@mp.usbr.gov, or fax 209-536-9652.  For additional information, please contact Mr. Laird at 209-536-9094 x229.

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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.