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Mid-Pacific Region
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Pete Lucero, MP Region Public Affairs Officer
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Released On: September 21, 2011

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Selects the San Joaquin River Restoration Program for Partners in Conservation Award

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has selected the San Joaquin River Restoration Program as one of 17 recipients for the 2011 Partners in Conservation Awards for its outstanding conservation, collaboration, cooperation, and communication achievements. The award recognizes efforts towards the Department's priorities of widespread engagement of youth, tribes, local communities and states, other federal agencies, business and industry, private for-profit and non-profit institutions, and private landowners. 

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) is a collaborative and cooperative effort among individual land owners, nongovernmental environmental organizations, water users, and state and federal agencies to restore 153 miles of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. Though the SJRRP partners have diverse and competing interests, they are able to work collaboratively to ensure sustainable management of the nation's water and natural resources through diverse technical working groups and a comprehensive public involvement program.

Secretary Salazar said today in his announcement congratulating awardees, "The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our nation's greatest conservation legacies often emerge when agencies and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges. I am pleased to recognize the efforts of dedicated people from across our nation to conserve and restore our treasured landscapes, address water issues and forge solutions to complex natural resource issues through good government and strong partnerships."

"We are honored by this distinguished recognition by Secretary Salazar," said Don Glaser, Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director. "We recognize the challenges we face with resolving issues as we work to restore the San Joaquin River, and all of the parties involved are putting their best efforts into collaboratively seeking equitable solutions to move the restoration forward."

The SJRRP was one of 17 programs selected for the 2011 national awards to individuals and organizations that were presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 21, to honor "those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others."

Participants who attended the ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the SJRRP included: Alicia Forsythe, Reclamation SJRRP Program Manager; Robert Clarke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest Region Fisheries Program Manager; Doug Obegi, Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Attorney; and Rhonda Reed, National Marine Fisheries Service San Joaquin River Basin Acting Branch Chief.

Authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2009, the SJRRP enabled the release, recapture and recirculation of interim flows to begin in October 2009, and is developing plans to reintroduce fish and improve ecosystem and flood conditions while addressing water user and landowner concerns. Although the program partners have diverse interests, they are able to work collaboratively and cooperatively to implement the program ensuring sustainable management of the nation's water and natural resources. 

A full list of the Partners in Conservation Award winners is available here.
For more information about the SJRRP, visit www.restoresjr.net.

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