Recovery Act Funding Awarded to Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's WCA to Construct Lake Nighthorse Boundary Fencing

Media Contact: Lisa Iams, (801) 524-3673

For Release: June 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior announced it has awarded $441,961 to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's Weeminuche Construction Authority of Towaoc, Colo., under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), for construction of a boundary fence that will delineate Reclamation property and assist with land management on the Animas-La Plata Project.

The fencing consists of a total of twelve miles upstream and downstream of Ridges Basin Dam. Upstream of the dam, approximately ten miles of fencing will partially surround Lake Nighthorse with installations along Reclamation's west boundary from approximately the Southern Ute Line to County Road 141; along County Road 141 to the Colorado Division of Wildlife boundary; and along both sides of newly relocated County Road 211.

Upstream fencing consists of three-strand, smooth-wire, high-tensile fence, allowing unimpeded passage by local wildlife. Ridges Basin is home to significant populations of deer and elk, thus every effort was made to identify wildlife friendly fencing.

"Reclamation worked collaboratively with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Fish and Wildlife Service to identify the type and location of fencing that will protect the project and sustain wildlife access," said Reclamation's Commissioner Mike Connor said.

Downstream of Ridges Basin Dam, approximately two miles of fencing will be installed pursuant to land acquisition agreements with adjacent property owners. Installations will run along the eastern boundary near Basin Creek from the Southern Ute property, north to the existing fence line near the Animas Air Park. Fencing will consist of four-strand barbed wire conforming to the livestock fence currently in place west of Basin Creek.

When completed, the fencing project will provide Reclamation and the future recreation area and land manager with a necessary tool for identifying property boundaries, protecting the water supply in Lake Nighthorse, and controlling access to the Animas-La Plata Project lands.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 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 and on 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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.