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Peter Soeth
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Released On: November 04, 2011

Reclamation Seeks Comments on Draft WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program Funding Opportunity Announcement
Program will provide funding to establish or expand watershed groups
The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking comments on the draft WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program Funding Opportunity Announcement. The draft Funding Opportunity Announcement was published in the Federal Register and may be read here.

The Cooperative Watershed Management Program contributes to the WaterSMART program by providing funding for watershed groups to encourage diverse stakeholders to form local solutions in addressing their water management needs. It will be implemented in three phases.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement will implement phase one by providing funding to establish or expand a watershed group. Comments on the Funding Opportunity Announcement are encouraged and may be submitted per the announcement in the Federal Register.

The purpose of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is to improve water quality and ecological resilience, and to reduce conflicts over water through collaborative conservation efforts in the management of local watersheds. Its primary goal is to address two major concerns synonymous with watershed groups—1) the need for funding to pay the salary of a full-time coordinator and 2) the limited funding available for project management. The Cooperative Watershed Management Program provides financial incentives to mitigate these concerns and to encourage diverse stakeholders to continue to work together.

The Cooperative Watershed Management Program will provide financial assistance to form new watershed groups, to enlarge existing watershed groups, and/or to conduct one or more projects in accordance with the goals of watershed groups. Priority may be given to watershed groups that represent maximum diversity of interests and serve sub-basin-sized watersheds with an 8-digit hydrological unit code, as defined by USGS.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established the WaterSMART program in February 2010 – the SMART in WaterSMART stands for "Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow" – in cooperation with Commissioner Connor, Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes and Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. WaterSMART grants are given for water and energy efficiency projects, system optimization reviews, advanced water treatment pilot and demonstration projects and for the development of climate analysis tools.

To learn more about the Cooperative Watershed Management Program or WaterSMART, please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

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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.