Bureau of Reclamation Announces $362,223 in American Recovery Act Funds for Construction of Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Sanctuary Fence

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

For Release: July 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Albuquerque Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded a task order, totaling $362,223, under an existing contract to Stoven Construction, Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M. for construction of a security fence and vehicle access improvements at the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Sanctuary located in southwest Albuquerque.

The work being done under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, will include construction of an eight-foot tall graduated fixed-knot game fence with steel-core hex netting to protect the minnow sanctuary facility from vandalism. The main fence will enclose the filter and outlet buildings of the facility and a second fence will protect the pump building. In addition, a new access trail will be constructed to allow use adjacent to the facility while providing improved vehicle access for operation and maintenance.

"The unique protected habitat provided by the silvery minnow sanctuary is an essential component of on-going minnow recovery efforts," said Michael L. Connor, Reclamation commissioner. "It represents both a significant investment and a successful collaborative effort that must be protected."

Reclamation worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the city of Albuquerque Open Space Division to select the best type of fencing to protect the facility and complement ongoing use of the area.

Completed in 2009, the sanctuary was designed to improve the survival of the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow by mimicking natural river conditions, including sand and rock channels, to allow the fish to develop before being released back into the river. The sanctuary is owned by Reclamation but will be operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with funds from the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program.

ARRA, in 2009, provided $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.