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Released On: June 22, 2012

YRBWEP Workgroup Honored with AWRA Integrated Water Resources Management Award
YAKIMA, Wash. - The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) recognized the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP) Workgroup with its Integrated Water Resources Management Award for 2012.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) established the YRBWEP Workgroup in 2009 to develop comprehensive solutions to water resource issues in the Yakima Basin by drawing on 30-plus years of information and experiences gained under YRBWEP and various planning efforts.

AWRA Board President William Battaglin noted that the IWRM Award was the first of its kind and that the YRBWEP Workgroup, "exemplifies the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources to maximize economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and the environment."

"Nothing about water in the West is simple," said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. "It's easy to be limited by the approaches of the past. We’re delighted to be moving forward with a plan that overcomes historical hurdles to create a better future. Recognition like this validates those efforts."

Reclamation and Ecology are joined in the Workgroup by the Yakama Nation, irrigation districts, environmental organizations, and other federal and non-federal partners.

"This is a great honor for our partners and is a confirmation that diverse groups can accomplish incredible things that will benefit people, the economy, and the environment for generations," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor.

Congress authorized YRBWEP in 1979, in response to water rights negotiations which began in 1977. Since that time, YRBWEP success stories include several habitat restoration projects, infrastructure upgrades that enhance water conservation and increase instream flows for fish.

AWRA will present the award at its annual awards luncheon on Nov. 14, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.

AWRA is a non-profit association founded in 1964 to advance professionals in water resources management, research, and education. AWRA's multidisciplinary members include water resources experts such as engineers, educators, foresters, biologists, ecologists, geographers, managers, regulators, hydrologists and attorneys.

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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.