Bureau of Reclamation Announces $11.8 Million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding to Remove Sediment Above Lower Colorado River Diversion Dam

Media Contact: Chris Wallis, 928-343-8215

For Release: January 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded an $11.8 million contract to CJW Construction, Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif., under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The company will use the funding to remove more than 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment from behind Imperial Diversion Dam, which is located about 20 miles north of Yuma, Ariz., on the lower Colorado River.

"This much-needed project will remove the large sand deposits that have accumulated in recent years in front of the gates that divert Colorado River water into delivery canals on both the Arizona and California sides of Imperial Dam," said Reclamation's Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "In addition to improving the amount and quality of the water being diverted at the dam, the project also will make the area safer for recreational boaters."

Sediment has been routinely removed from the area just above Imperial Diversion Dam since the 1960s, primarily by dredging. Some sediment is also removed by sluicing. But no dredging has been conducted in this area since 2006, and, because of the drought that has affected the Colorado River since 2000, sluicing operations have been reduced to conserve water. The result has been a build-up of sediment that now requires removal. Work is expected to begin in mid January, and take about 15 months to complete.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

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.