Reclamation Announces Clearing has Begun for New County Road 211

Media Contact: Doug Hendrix, (801) 524-3837
Rick Ehat, (970) 259-1110

For Release: August 22, 2008

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's Weeminuche Construction Authority (WCA) of Towaoc, Colorado has begun clearing trees and shrubs along the future CR-211 alignment road near Lake Nighthorse. When completed, County Road 211 will pass by the north end of the future Lake Nighthorse from the existing intersection of CR-212 to CR-141 (Wildcat Canyon).

The road, a feature of the Animas-La Plata Project, was designed under a cooperative agreement with La Plata County and will be located entirely on Reclamation land. The final design of the road was selected following a public review process several years ago. The work being performed avoids impacting migratory birds and culturally sensitive sites. This area is currently closed to the public.

Reclamation anticipates work on the road to be completed in late 2009 or early in 2010. Additional details concerning the Animas-La Plata Project are available at Reclamation's web site.

Upon completion of the project, water stored in Lake Nighthorse will be released from the dam as necessary and be returned back to the Animas River for use by municipal and industrial users within Colorado and New Mexico. Other non-Federally constructed distribution systems are anticipated.

When completed, Lake Nighthorse will impound approximately 120,000 acre-feet (AF) of water and include an inactive pool of approximately 30,000 AF for recreational, fishery, and water quality purposes. Based on the current construction schedule, the Animas-La Plata Project is planned for completion in 2012. The reservoir is scheduled to start filling in 2009.

The Animas-La Plata Project fulfills the requirements of the 1988 Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act and the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendment of 2000. When completed, the project will provide the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the people of the four corners area with a reliable water supply for their future needs, without taking scarce water resources away from existing water users in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.

WCA is a minority commercial construction company owned and operated by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. WCA has extensive experience in all phases of construction and related engineering disciplines, including: oil and gas field construction, residential and commercial buildings, heavy construction, road building, canals and water systems, sand and gravel, and municipal improvements.

# # #

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.