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Lower Colorado Region
Boulder City, Nev.
Media Contact:
Patricia Cox
(623) 773-6214
Sandy Eto
(623) 773-6254

Released On: April 02, 2010

Reclamation issues Finding of No Significant Impact on Maricopa County's plan for managing Agua Fria Conservation Area
The Bureau of Reclamation is issuing a Finding of No Significant Impact on an amendment to Maricopa County's Lake Pleasant Master Plan (LPMP). Lake Pleasant is a storage reservoir component of the Central Arizona Project and is located 35 miles northwest of Phoenix, Ariz. on the Agua Fria River.

The Agua Fria Conservation Area consists of 2,405 acres in the northeast portion of the park. It is a natural, environmentally sensitive area intended to remain relatively undisturbed to preserve the native environment. In recent years, activities such as shooting, trash dumping, off-road vehicle travel, vandalism, and criminal activities degraded cultural and natural resources of the AFCA and created a public hazard.

The AFCA Management Plan includes formal designation and use of Table Mesa Road within the AFCA as a low-maintenance park road. Access within the AFCA on Table Mesa Road will be allowed for day-use only on a seasonal basis (generally December through June) with the presence of park hosts. Boat ramp(s), parking, and rest rooms will be provided. Additional facilities to support these activities will be provided. In addition, "pack-it in; pack-it out" permit-only camping will be allowed on the south/east banks of the Agua Fria River. Implementation of the Management Plan is anticipated to occur in three phases, over the course of several years, as funding permits.

Reclamation prepared an environmental assessment (EA) and draft FONSI and issued them for public review and comment on February 1, 2010. The EA described the existing affected environment and anticipated environmental impacts of the proposed AFCA Management Plan. Eighteen letters were received, only one of which required a response.

Having no additional issues to consider, Reclamation has made a final determination that a FONSI is appropriate for the proposed action, and an environmental impact statement does not have to be prepared. The draft FONSI has been revised to add clarifications where appropriate, in response to concerns raised in public comments. Reclamation will approve amendment of the Lake Pleasant Master Plan to include the AFCA Management Plan. The EA and the final FONSI are available on Reclamation's Phoenix Area Office Web site, www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Sandy Eto, Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Resource Management Division, Phoenix Area Office, at (623) 773-6254.

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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.