Final Report from September 2011 River Restoration Conference Available
Media Contact: Dan DuBray, 202-513-0574
For Release: March 08, 2012
The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a conference report summarizing Reclamation's river restoration activities in support of its goal of securing the nation's energy resources and sustainably managing water for future generations. The comprehensive report is the outcome of the first Reclamation-wide conference held on river restoration entitled, "River Restoration: Exploring Institutional Challenges and Opportunities." The report is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/river/.
"Over the coming decade it is my goal that the Bureau of Reclamation becomes as well known for its expertise in river restoration as it is for building and maintaining dams and taking care of water supply infrastructure," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "There is no doubt that river restoration is essential to Reclamation's core mission. If we are going to continue to deliver water and generate power in the way we have done in the past, we need to address the environmental impacts of our projects. If we do this effectively we will provide long term certainty, reduce environmental conflicts and litigation, and minimize the unproductive use of resources."
Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Anne Castle, says the release of the conference report underscores the Department's commitment to river restoration activities as a central feature of the administration's national conservation agenda. That agenda was highlighted last week by key conservation leaders, who were joined by President Barack Obama at the White House Conference on Conservation, held at DOI headquarters in Washington.
"Across the West, the Department of the Interior is working to restore vital habitat for native fish and other species," Assistant Secretary Castle said today. "These efforts are designed to reduce conflict while ensuring sustainable water supplies and healthy ecosystems for future generations. As was highlighted at last week's conservation conference, much has been accomplished but there is much more work to be done. This report highlights Reclamation's successes and helps set the path for us to follow with our future river restoration efforts."
The report was prepared with the assistance of the University of New Mexico School of Law's Utton Transboundary Resources Center, which co-hosted the conference in Albuquerque, NM, on September 14-15, 2011. About 120 people attended the workshop that focused on social and institutional aspects of restoration and ways to address challenges in law, policy, finance, governance and other obstacles to effective river restoration activities. Attendees consisted of Reclamation employees from 17 western states and also included equal participation by academic experts and representatives from other key federal and state-based agencies, water users, non-governmental organizations, tribes and private interests.
The Utton Center developed recommendations from the conference report that include a recommendation to develop interagency teams to consider how restoration activities support broader goals such as ecosystem integrity, and how they can support the America's Great Outdoors initiative, recreational interests, and cultural and community values. The Utton Center also recommends that Reclamation create a team of individuals within the agency to develop training opportunities and disseminate information on significant restoration topics.
The report includes video recordings of major presentations, including a welcome from Commissioner Connor and keynote address by Assistant Secretary Castle. A summary of Reclamation's river restoration projects and resources is also available at www.usbr.gov/river/.
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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.