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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
Diana Cross
(208) 378-5020

Released On: August 27, 2003

Reclamation to Complete Biological Assessment on Rogue River Operations
The Bureau of Reclamation will send a Biological Assessment on the operation of the Rogue River Basin Project-Talent Division to the NOAA Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service by August 29.

The Biological Assessment, developed in compliance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, describes and evaluates the potential effects of Rogue River Basin Project operations on threatened and endangered species.

The Rogue River Basin Project - Talent Division was first authorized by Congress on August 20, 1954. The purpose of the Project is to supply irrigation water to agricultural lands in the Rogue River basin near Medford, Oregon. Features include instream and offstream storage facilities, transbasin diversions, instream diversion structures, and irrigation canals.

Because most of Reclamation's projects in the Pacific Northwest were constructed prior to passage of the Endangered Species Act, Reclamation is in the process of evaluating the impacts of operating each of its projects on endangered species. Earlier this year, several parties sent Reclamation a "Notice of Intent to Sue" for failure to complete formal consultation on the Rogue River Basin Project. As part of a settlement agreement, Reclamation agreed to complete the Biological Assessment by August 31. With completion of this document, the consultation process can move forward.

After it is submitted to the ESA regulatory agencies, the document will be posted on Reclamation's website at www.usbr.gov/pn or, to obtain a hard copy, contact Sue Tholen at (208) 378-5276 or stholen@pn.usbr.gov.

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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.