Bureau of Reclamation issues Finding of No Significant Impact for Purchase of Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Habitat on Gila River

Media Contact: Patricia Cox, 602-216-3830
Sandy Eto, 602-216-3857

For Release: July 28, 2005

Reclamation has completed a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the proposed purchase of about 700 acres located within the Gila River floodplain in Graham County, Arizona.

The property is located about 3 miles southeast of Fort Thomas, just north of U. S. Highway 70. It contains riparian vegetation that is suitable habitat for the federally endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (flycatcher). Purchase of the property, to be managed by the Salt River Project (SRP) for the benefit of the flycatcher, would partially fulfill requirements of the Endangered Species Act related to Reclamation's modifications to, and the SRP's operation of, Theodore Roosevelt Dam.

The subject EA was prepared consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. A draft of the EA was distributed on May 26, 2005, to approximately 100 entities, including public agencies, tribal governments, and interested organizations and individuals, for a 36-day public review and comment period. Six letters of comment were received.

Reclamation has determined that implementation of the proposed purchase and management of the property to benefit the willow flycatcher in perpetuity will not significantly impact the environment, and a FONSI is appropriate. A copy of the FONSI and final EA are available on the Phoenix Area Office website at http://www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix/ . The final EA includes revisions that have been made to the draft EA to address comments received and includes copies of the comment letters received and Reclamation's responses.

Questions may be directed to Ms. Sandra Eto of the Environmental Resource Management Division, at (602) 216-3857.

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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.