Bureau of Reclamation Announces Recovery Act Service Contract Award for Land Appraisals for the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project in California

Media Contact: Pete Lucero, 916-978-5100

For Release: January 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded an $85,500 service contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the new permanent pumping plant and fish screen (plant) Land Appraisals for the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project.  The plant will be constructed upstream of  the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, north of Red Bank Creek, on the Sacramento River, near the city of Red Bluff, in Tehama County, California.

The contract was awarded to Jones, Roach and Caringella, Inc., of San Diego. The ARRA funds will be used to appraise the land for the future plant and fish screen.  The lands Reclamation intends to acquire are a 3-acre parcel, of 103.25 acres belonging to the Packaging Corp of America (PACTIV); and about 12 acres, of 167 acres belonging to GEN III LLC.  The parcels are located along the south bank of the Sacramento River.  While the appraisal work is being completed, Reclamation is negotiating with the land owners for construction easements that will allow preliminary site work to begin.   

The Red Bluff Diversion Dam's gates are lowered to form Lake Red Bluff, which enables the gravity diversion of water from the Sacramento River into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning Canals to irrigate 150,000 acres of high-value cropland. However, when lowered to provide irrigation water, the gates block threatened and endangered salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon, as well as other fish species, from reaching their spawning grounds.

Reclamation's managing partner, the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority (TCCA), has previously received ARRA funding toward the construction of a temporary pumping plant to deliver irrigation water while the gates are raised, to provide unimpeded fish passage, while the permanent plant is under construction. 

 "The land appraisals are the step toward construction of the Red Bluff Pumping Plant that will provide safe passage for fish while protecting the region's farming economy and jobs of California," Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said.  "This ARRA award by the Department of the Interior through President Obama's economic recovery plan is another win-win project for people and the environment." 

The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century.  Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage - while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery.

Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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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.