Commissioner's Offce News Releases News Releases from Reclamation's Commissioner's Office Five Things to Do for Fourth of July Weekend
There are many places to go celebrate Fourth of July this weekend, but here is a list of five events happening at or near a Bureau of Reclamation facility: <P> 1. Boulder City, Nev.—The 2015 Boulder City Damboree parade and fireworks show takes place on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. Festival goers should get into position by 8:30 a.m. Along the parade route, there is a “wet zone” where the exchange of cooling streams of water is allowed. Dress in red, white and blue and plan to get wet! Also, be sure to look up and take notice of the flyover featuring pilots from the Boulder City Veteran's Flying Group. And then at 6 p.m., head over to Veteran’s Memorial Park for food, music, and fireworks! For more information, contact Wittig at (702) 293-8088, Lisa Cronister at (702) 293-8492, or Marc Maynard at (702) 293-8344. <P> 2. Grand Coulee, Wash.—Free Admission to the Festival of America happening July 3-4, 2015 in the park below the Grand Coulee Visitor Center. This fireworks display off the top of the Grand Coulee Dam is voted "Best of Show" for Washington State. Friday and Saturday features arts and crafts, food, and live music nightly. On the evening of July 4th, immediately following the nightly laser light show, the fireworks display will be launched off the top of the Dam. For more information, visit <a href="<a href=""></a>. <P> 3. Sonora, Calif.—Visit New Melones Lake over the Fourth of July weekend and enjoy its many recreational opportunities. The Glory Hole Recreation Area (4 a.m. to 11 p.m.) offers many hiking and biking trails to explore. The Ironhorse and Big Oak Campgrounds, along with the Osprey Point and Black Bart Day Use Areas, are open for camping, picnicking and shore fishing. Unimproved lake access for car-top or small boats is available at Glory Hole Point (four-wheel drive is recommended for boat launching). <P> On Saturday, July 4th, at 7:30 p.m., visitors are invited to the Glory Hole Amphitheater to join in the fun playing Reclamation's version of JEOPARDY! Park Rangers will divide participants into teams and test their knowledge of the lake’s history and wildlife. This activity is free and does not require reservations. Participants will be issued a parking pass for the duration of the event. In the Tuttletown Recreation Area (4 a.m. to 11 p.m.) the Manzanita Campground and the Heron Point, Eagle Point and Lupine Day Use Areas are open. Tuttletown offers eight miles of hiking and biking trails through oak woodlands. An RV dump station is available for a fee. The Acorn and Chamise Campgrounds and the Tuttletown Launch Ramp are closed. The New Melones Lake Marina, located in the Glory Hole Recreation Area, offers boat rentals, boat slips, marine fuel, a retail store and other services. For updated marina service information, please visit the marina's website at The Mark Twain Day Use Area (6:30 a.m. to sunset on weekdays and holiday weekends; 7:30 a.m. to sunset on non-holiday weekends) is great for fishing, hiking and picnicking. Campsites are available by reservation and on a first-come, first served basis. To make a reservation, visit, or call (877) 444-6777. For a listing of New Melones fees, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> 4. Estes Park, Colo.—The Independence Day Weekend Celebration kicks off on Friday, July 3, with the Estes Park Board of REALTORS and the PBR hosting the evening. Walker Williams will entertain the crowd with music. Kids can enjoy activities such as human bowling, face painting and a photo booth. There will also be a pig roast and bull riding. On Saturday, July 4, check out the car show featuring 100 "Steam-to-Electric" on display at the new Estes Park Events Complex, at the Stanley Park Fairgrounds. Along with steam and electric cars, other street rods, stock cars, muscle cars, sports cars, vintage and classic cars will be on display. At 7 p.m., the Estes Village Band tunes up for its annual patriotic concert featuring the works of John Philip Sousa and others. The concert is free to attend and will be held at the Performance Park Amphitheater, at the west end of downtown. <P> The Fireworks Show starts at 9:30 p.m. over Lake Estes. Find a grassy spot at Stanley Park, along the Lake Estes Trail, or on the mountainside. For more information, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> 5. City of Boise, Idaho—The city of Boise and media sponsors Idaho Statesman, 6 on Your Side, and 107.1 K-HITS are putting on the 9th annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration, Saturday, July 4, in Ann Morrison Park. There will be live music and entertainment, a chalk art festival that highlights featured local artists who donate their time to create wonderful works of art, children’s bike rodeo and parade, and a day of family fun. For more information, visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> Minidoka Dam Spillway Completion Ceremony
The Minidoka Dam Spillway Completion Ceremony was held Wednesday May 27, 2015. Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López, visiting from Washington D.C., was the keynote speaker. The event marked completion of a four-year construction effort to modernize and straighten the spillway, and replace two irrigation headworks. <P> Other speakers at the event included Pacific Northwest Regional Director Lorri Lee, President of the Idaho Water Users Association Dan Darrington (representing both the Burley and Minidoka Irrigation Districts), USDA Rural Development State Director Wally Hedrick, and Ms. Samantha Marshall (representing Idaho’s congressional delegation of Senator’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and Representative Mike Simpson). The event was open to the public and approximately 200 people attended. <P> With the completion of the spillway, many traditional fishing and wading areas that were closed to the public during construction are now open. Recreation zones are clearly marked. Please follow all safety guidelines for a safe and enjoyable visit. <P> Bureau of Reclamation Provides $1.5 Million for River Basin Studies about How to Meet Future Water Demands
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López announced today that Reclamation will use $1.5 million to partner with water managers in Arizona, California and New Mexico to conduct comprehensive water studies. This funding will help complete two basin studies and develop plans of study for two more. <P> "Reclamation and its partners are confronting widening imbalances between demand and supply in basins throughout the West," said López. "Working collaboratively with stakeholders within each respective basin, we can use the latest science and data to develop options that will achieve a sustainable water supply." <P> Reclamation selected the Salinas and Carmel River Basins in California and Lower Santa Cruz River Basin in Arizona as subjects for basin studies. A basin study is a comprehensive study that defines options for meeting future water demands in river basins in the western United States where imbalances in water supply and demand exist or are projected to exist in the future. <P> Reclamation will make $950,000 available for the Salinas and Carmel River Basins that will be matched with $1.16 million from the study partners. These California basins encompass 4,500 square miles with a population of 370,000 people and include the protected Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The two basins also include 250,000 acres of agricultural land and have a combined economic output estimated to be $11 billion annually. Through the basin study an integrated hydrologic model will be developed that identifies the risks and potential impacts of climate change on future water resources. It will then highlight options and adaptation strategies for helping to achieve a sustainable water supply. <P> In the Lower Santa Cruz River Basin, Reclamation will provide $392,750, which will be matched by the study partner, the Southern Arizona Water Users Association. The Lower Santa Cruz River Basin encompasses 3,869 square miles in southeast Arizona and has a population of approximately 980,000 people, most of whom reside in the Tucson metropolitan area. The region heavily relies on water from the Central Arizona Project and, due to the ongoing drought, is seeing declines in the groundwater supply. An annual deficit of 250,000 acre-feet is projected by 2025. The basin study will identify the water resources needed to mitigate climate change impacts and improve water reliability for municipal, agricultural and environmental demands. <P> Two basins were selected to develop a plan of study. A plan of study helps a cost-share partner - such as a local water district - define the outcomes and set the scope and focus for a potential future basin study. Reclamation will develop the plans of study with each cost-share partner. <P> The two plans of study are: <P> <ul> <li>Middle Rio Grande - federal funding: $84,000; non-federal funding $89,000</li> <li>Mojave River Basin - federal funding: $75,000; non-federal funding: $75,000</li> </ul> <P> Reclamation's share of the study costs may be used only to support work done by Reclamation or its contractors. The non-federal partners in a basin study must contribute at least 50 percent of the total study cost in non-federal funding or in-kind services. Non-federal partners typically include state and city agencies, municipal water districts and flood control and irrigation districts. Since 2009, total federal funding for the Basin Study Program is $17.5 million. <P> The Basin Study Program is part of the WaterSMART Program. WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior?s sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. To learn more about WaterSMART, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> To learn more about the Basin Study Program or the projects announced today, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Selects New Mexico State University for Unmanned Aircraft System Inspection of Elephant Butte Dam
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has selected New Mexico State University to be the lead subject matter expert to perform the first Reclamation dam inspection using an unmanned aircraft system. This aeronautical research project will occur at Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico. Reclamation is providing New Mexico State $35,000 to assist in the project. <P> New Mexico State University will work with Reclamation staff to develop the concept of operations, address safety requirements, select the unmanned aircraft system and appropriate sensors, validate flight procedures and perform the inspection. <P> The research project will determine the applicability of unmanned aircraft systems as a tool for infrastructure inspection using light detection and ranging (LIDAR), infrared (IR), photogrammetry and HD video. It will help Reclamation determine potential issues with the dams' infrastructure including concrete cracks, spalls and other subsurface defects including moisture where it should not be, and any erosion or other topographical changes to the dam and spillway. <P> The flight will take place in the next couple of months. <P> Reclamation's Research and Development Program are funding this project. It focuses on researching innovative, workable solutions to challenging water and power management issues in the western United States. It provides solutions for Reclamation water and facility managers and the stakeholders they serve. To learn more, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> <P> <P> Basin Studies Provide Options for Communities to Meet Future Water Needs in the Western United States
WASHINGTON, D.C - The Bureau of Reclamation today announced the latest in a series of river basin studies that examine the growing imbalance between available supply, increasing needs and projected demand due to climate change in the western United States. <P> Studies have been completed in the Colorado River Basin, Lower Rio Grande, Milk-St. Mary Rivers, Santa Ana Watershed, Yakima River and the most recently completed Henrys Fork Basin in southeastern Idaho. <P> "Basin Studies are an important tool for Reclamation and its partners to have a clear understanding of the projected demands and supplies in local basins in the West," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "Through collaboration, proposed solutions are developed to close the gap between supply and demand, especially in the light of climate change." <P> The Henrys Fork of the Snake River, located in eastern Idaho, provides irrigation water for more than 280,000 acres, sustains a world-class trout fishery and is home for native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. <P> The purpose of this basin study is to assist state and local planning efforts by exploring options for meeting the complex water supply and management challenges in the basin, meeting the goals of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan and Idaho State Water Plan, as well as identifying risks posed to water supply by climate change and opportunities to mitigate those risks. <P> Reclamation and the Idaho Water Resource Board prepared the Henrys Fork Basin Study while working with the Henrys Fork Watershed Council. The Henrys Fork Basin Study final report includes alternatives, which provide the Idaho Water Resource Board, and other interested stakeholders including conservation groups, irrigators, and other agencies options to meet the water demands in the future. <P> This basin study was conducted as part of WaterSMART. WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior?s sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. <P> Basin studies are comprehensive water studies that define options for meeting future water demands in river basins in the western United States where imbalances in water supply and demand exist or are projected to exist. Through these studies, Reclamation collaborates with non-federal cost-share partners to help ensure sustainable water supplies in the West. <P> For more information see <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Renews Agreement with C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López announced today that Reclamation and the Catch a Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) for Kids Foundation have signed a five-year cooperative agreement continuing to make outdoor recreational fishing opportunities accessible at Reclamation reservoirs for children with disabilities and children who experience disadvantages in their lives. <P> "C.A.S.T. is a wonderful program that provides opportunities for children that they may never get otherwise," Commissioner López said. "Reclamation supports activities that brings families into America's Great Outdoors and provides unique water-related recreational opportunities for the youth of America." <P> Reclamation's work with C.A.S.T. also supports the Department of the Interior's Youth Initiative that seeks to bridge the growing disconnect between young people and the outdoors. C.A.S.T. events allow participants to leave their cares on the shore and enjoy a fun, on-the-water outdoor fishing experience. <P> The first C.A.S.T event was held in 1992 at Banks Lake in eastern Washington. Since 2010, Reclamation has hosted 3,392 children, their families and caregivers attending events. These events were supported by nearly 8,000 volunteers including boat captains who took the children out on the reservoirs. Reclamation will be hosting approximately 15 events in 2015. <P> In 2012, Reclamation and other federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a general framework for cooperation among the agencies and C.A.S.T. for increased opportunities for individuals served by C.A.S.T. to use and enjoy outdoor recreation on federal lands and waters. <P> To learn more about C.A.S.T. and events at Reclamation reservoirs and around the country, please visit and <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Hosts Webinar for Drought Response Program Funding Opportunities
Please join the Bureau of Reclamation for a webinar discussing the application process for funding opportunities with the new Drought Response Program. The two available funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) will help water users develop drought contingency plans and build long-term drought resiliency. Applications are due for both opportunities by June 25. <P> Who: Avra Morgan, Drought Response Program Coordinator <P> What: A webinar to walk through the application requirements for the <a href="">Drought Contingency Planning Funding Opportunity Announcement</a> and the <a href="">Drought Resiliency Project Funding Opportunity Announcement</a> and to discuss the new Drought Response Program. <P> When: Thursday, June 11, 2:00 p.m. MDT <P> RSVP: Please RSVP to Susan Gutierrez at <P> Why: Reclamation's new Drought Response Program supports a proactive approach to drought management. It also provides cost-shared financial assistance to water users for drought contingency planning, including consideration of climate change information, and encourages others to take actions that will build long-term resiliency to drought. <P> To view the funding opportunity announcements, visit and search for funding opportunity numbers R15AS00046 (Drought Contingency Planning FOA) and R15AS00047 (Drought Resiliency Projects FOA). <P> For further information, see the Drought Response Program’s <a href="">fact sheet</a> and <a href="">frequently asked questions</a>. <P> Phoebe Percell Named Bureau of Reclamation’s Deputy Director for Security, Safety and Law Enforcement
DENVER - The Bureau of Reclamation's Security, Safety and Law Enforcement Director Bruce Muller named Phoebe Percell as Reclamation's new deputy director for Security, Safety and Law Enforcement (SSLE). Percell is responsible for internal planning and operations of SSLE programs. <P> "Ensuring that Reclamation's infrastructure, employees and the public are safe is our number one priority in supporting the delivery of water and generation of power," Muller said. "The technical and management experience that Phoebe brings to the position will make SSLE a better organization." <P> SSLE is responsible for facility, personnel, and information security, safety of dams, continuity of operations, law enforcement, employee safety and health, and emergency planning programs, all administered by five sub-organizations within the SSLE Office: Security Office, Information Sharing and Law Enforcement Support Office, Special Agent in Charge, Dam Safety Office, and Safety and Health Services. <P> Percell joined Reclamation's Technical Service Center in 2001 as a structural analysis specialist. Her experience overseeing design and working with risk analysis led her to serve roles in teams dedicated to risk analysis and dam safety at Reclamation. In addition to her work at Reclamation, she served as a consultant to other agencies such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Seattle City Light and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. <P> Percell graduated with her Master of Science in Structural Engineering in 2009 from the Colorado School of Mines after earning her Bachelors of Science degrees in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. She is a Registered Professional Engineer in Colorado and a member of the U.S. Society on Dams, where she serves as a committee member for USSD Committees (Earthquakes, Conference Planning and Newsletter). <P> <P> Secretary Jewell Announces $50 Million to Help Conserve Water in Drought-Stricken West
<strong>LOS ANGELES, CA</strong> -- As part of the Obama Administration's continued effort to bring relief to western communities suffering from the historic drought, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that Interior's Bureau of Reclamation will invest nearly $50 million to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states. <P> "In a time of exceptional drought, it is absolutely critical that states and the federal government leverage our funding resources so that we can make each drop count," said Secretary Jewell. "Being 'water smart' means working together to fund sustainable water initiatives that use the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand." <P> Joined by Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the funding announcement was made today at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, CA, where millions of gallons of wastewater are purified each day. Secretary Jewell, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López and Sutley emphasized the importance of federal-state partnerships to help work toward a more sustainable and resilient water future. <P> "Through the WaterSMART Program, Reclamation is providing funding for water conservation improvements and water reuse projects across the West," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "We commend the state of California for all the steps they have already taken to alleviate the impacts of the drought. We hope this federal funding for water reuse and efficiency will help us leverage scarce resources between the state and federal governments to bring much-needed relief for the people and environment of California." <P> "The federal government's support for critical water efficiency and reuse projects is most valuable especially during this historic drought in California," said Sutley. "The investments will help cities like Los Angeles carry out our sustainability objectives, further build our local water supply and reduce our reliance on imported water. We look forward to all these important opportunities ahead of us." <P> "We are honored to host Secretary Jewell at our Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden today," said LA Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E. "We look forward to learning more about the environmental partnership opportunities she will announce during her visit." <P> Reclamation is investing more than $24 million in grants for 50 water and energy efficiency projects in 12 western states, more than $23 million for seven water reclamation and reuse projects in California, and nearly $2 million for seven water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies in California and Texas. <P> WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior's sustainable water initiative. Since it was established in 2010, WaterSMART has provided about $250 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities and universities. These investments have conserved enough water to meet the needs of more than 3.8 million people. Every acre-foot of conserved water delivered means that an equivalent amount of existing supplies is available for other uses. <P> WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants can be used for projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, benefit endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, carry out activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict. The 50 projects announced today will be leveraged with at least 50 percent non-federal funding for a total of $133 million in improvements over the next two to three years. For a complete description of the 50 projects, please visit the <a href="" target="_blank">WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant website</a>. <P> Through Title XVI of the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act, Reclamation provides funding for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Title XVI provides up to 25 percent of project costs. Project sponsors provide the remaining 75 percent of the funding necessary to carry out projects, thereby leveraging limited federal funding to implement as many water reuse projects as possible. Seven projects in California will receive $23.2 million. For a complete description of these seven water reuse projects, please visit the <a href="" target="_blank">WaterSMART Title XVI website</a>. <P> Also under the Title XVI Act, Reclamation is providing $1.6 million for communities to study whether water reuse projects would help them to meet their future water needs. Four feasibility studies in California and three studies in Texas were selected this year. Feasibility studies are funded jointly by Reclamation and project sponsors. A cost-share of at least 50 percent of study is required. For a complete description of the seven new studies selected for funding, please visit the <a href="" target="_blank">WaterSMART Title XVI website</a>. <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Releases Two Funding Opportunity Announcements to Promote Drought Contingency Planning and Resiliency Projects
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation released two funding opportunity announcements today under its new Drought Response Program, to help water users develop drought contingency plans and build long-term drought resiliency. Funding opportunities are allocated through a competitive process. <P> "Drought contingency plans help communities prepare for a drought before its onset and help mitigate drought risks," Commissioner Estevan López said. "This is why Reclamation provides assistance to water users. We want water users to consider drought contingency planning before an actual drought takes place. It is better to take a proactive approach to managing drought risk, instead of a reactive one." <P> Drought contingency plans help communities recognize drought in its early stages, identify the effects of drought and protect themselves in the future. Reclamation provides financial assistance to develop or update drought contingency plans through cooperative agreements on a 50/50 cost-share basis. Applicants may also request technical assistance from Reclamation to help develop this plan. Plans must include the input and participation of multiple stakeholders, consider climate change impacts to drought conditions and identify potential drought mitigation and response actions to build resilience to drought as exacerbated by climate change. To view this Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit and search for funding opportunity number R15AS00047. Applications are due on June 25, 2015. <P> Drought resiliency projects, also referred to as "mitigation actions," help communities prepare for and respond to drought. To be eligible, projects must be supported by an existing drought contingency plan. Reclamation will provide funding on a 50/50 cost-share basis. Projects identified must result in long-term benefits that will build resiliency in the future and meet one of the following goals: increase the reliability of water supply and sustainability; improve water management; implement systems to facilitate voluntary sale, transfer or exchange water; and provide benefits for fish, wildlife and the environment. To view this Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit and search for funding opportunity number R15AS00046. Applications are due on June 25, 2015. <P> For more than 100 years, Reclamation and its partners have worked to develop a sustainable water and power future for the West. This program is part of the Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Program, which focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability, while helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. <P> To find out more information about Reclamation's WaterSMART program, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, or visit the Drought Response Program at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <P> <P> <P> Mid-Pacific Regional Director Receives Highest Honor during Public Service Recognition Week
<div class="floatRight"><img src="" width="200px" align="right" alt="David Murillo with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell"><br /><span class="caption">David Murillo with Secretary Sally Jewell</span></div>WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today awarded Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor of the Department of the Interior, for his leadership on water, power and environmental issues. <P> Murillo oversees the Mid-Pacific Region's 11 water projects, including the Central Valley Project, in an area encompassing the northern two-thirds of California, most of western Nevada and part of southern Oregon. <P> "David's role managing water in Reclamation's drought-stricken Mid-Pacific Region has made him a key figure in California's economy and the nation's food production," Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "It is our honor to recognize him for his leadership and dedication to public service." <P> In 2013, Murillo worked with key stakeholders to organize outreach meetings that would explore options for managing limited water supplies. These meetings helped formulate the 2014 Central Valley Project Water Plan, a document that served as the cornerstone for Reclamation's response to one of the worst droughts on record in California. <P> In spring 2014, Murillo made difficult decisions as the region's drought conditions worsened. He worked closely with water users, environmental interests, tribes and federal and state agencies to develop and implement a Drought Operations Plan that would make the best use of available water supplies, while balancing environmental needs and preparing for continued drought conditions. <P> Murillo joined Reclamation in 2000 as the manager of the field office in Yakima, Washington, where he was responsible for the operation and maintenance of storage reservoirs, fish facilities, diversion dams and hydropower plants. In 2006, Murillo became the power manager for the Grand Coulee Power Office, the nation's largest hydroelectric facility. There he managed the Grand Coulee and Hungry Horse dams and power plants. <P> Murillo also served as Reclamation's deputy commissioner for operations for two years, overseeing operations in five regions across the 17 western states, the Native American and International Affairs Office and Technical Resources. <P> He is originally from Yakima and graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1984. Murillo and his wife, Terri, have three adult children. <P> <P> <P> Ann Adler Named Reclamation's Chief, Congressional and Legislative Affairs
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan L&oacute;pez has appointed Ann Adler to serve as Reclamation's Chief, Congressional and Legislative Affairs. She will oversee Reclamation's congressional and legislative affairs activities and serve as Reclamation's primary liaison with Congress. <P> "Ann brings a wealth of knowledge to Reclamation, as she has worked for both the Senate and the House of Representatives," Commissioner L&oacute;pez said. "She has a real understanding of issues and how they affect the districts. Our water and energy concerns are her specialty." <P> Adler started her career working for U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. From the very beginning she knew she wanted to work for the government. She recalls how her father was always involved in local issues and how much he cared about people's needs. <P> "I watched my father work with Senators Byrd and Randolph to bring flood protection to our hometown," she said. "Through that effort, seeing how the government could improve people's lives, inspired me to get into public service." <P> In 1989, Adler started her government career working as a Press Assistant and then as a Press Secretary/Communications Director in Senator Byrd's office. It was there where she learned the "ins and outs" of the government. She says the senator acted as a mentor and educated his staff on the government. <P> In 2000, Adler became Chief of Staff at Senator's Byrd's office. She formulated legislative policy and provided counsel on the White House and Congressional agendas, collaborated with professional staff of Appropriations, Armed Services and Budget Committees, and directed daily operations of the Senator's personal office. <P> In 2004, she moved on to become the Senior Policy Advisor for the House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee, Democratic staff, where she oversaw the work of the Committee press office and coordinated policy initiatives with the six subcommittees. Then in 2011, she became the Deputy Chief of Staff for the House's Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, where she helped to direct operations of the Committee Minority. <P> "I look forward to building on my years of Congressional service and bringing the lessons I have learned to assist Reclamation and support the Administration's initiatives," she said. "I value this chance to continue learning and helping the communities Reclamation serves." <P> Adler has a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism from West Virginia University. She is originally from Weston, West Virginia. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, Ron, who works for the Department of the Navy, and her two children, Morgan and Reilly. <P> <P> Three Teams Take Top Honors in Desal Prize At the Bureau of Reclamation's Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Agency for International Development have announced the April 9 to 11 Desal Prize winners—Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Jain Irrigation Systems, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Center for Inland Desalination System, and Green Desal. <P> Five finalist innovator teams had competed for $200,000 in prize funds in head-to-head demonstrations at Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo. However, only the top three teams will receive grant funds totaling $400,000 to implement pilot projects in late summer or early fall with small-holder rural farmers in a USAID mission region. <P> “The Bureau of Reclamation was proud to host this international competition at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, which included 68 applications from 29 countries,” Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. “Providing a sustainable water supply is important for the west, the country and the world. The knowledge gained from this competition will not only assist in the goals of the prize competition, it will inform brackish groundwater treatment technologies here in the United States.” <P> The Desal Prize is a three-phase, incentivized competition that challenged worldwide innovators to create cost-effective, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable desalination technologies that can provide potable water for humans and water for crops in developing countries. After rigorous testing and evaluation by a panel of expert judges, the following are the Desal Prize top winners: <P> First Place: MIT and Jain Irrigation Systems designed a photovoltaic-powered electrodialysis reversal (EDR) system that desalinates water-using electricity to pull charged particles out of the water and further disinfects using ultraviolet rays. The system was designed for low energy consumption, limiting costs especially in off-grid areas. <P> Second Place: University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Center for Inland Desalination System designed a Zero Discharge Desalination (ZDD) technology that reduces water waste in the desalination of groundwater by conventional processes. Electrodialysis uses voltage to remove undesirable ions from water. <P> Honorable Mention: Green Desal, a team comprised of the Asian Institute of Technology & Management, National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension, State University of Ponta Grossa, Technion-Israel University of Technology, and University of North Texas, developed a high-percent recovery system that integrates proven technologies in reverse osmosis, ion exchange, nano-filtration, re-mineralization and disinfection. <P> The Desal Prize, launched in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, is the second “call” under the Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge for Development. The “first” call focused on innovation in later stages of the innovation lifecycle (market-driven product/business development and scaling/commercial growth). <P> To learn more about Securing Water for Food or the Desal Prize, visit and follow @SecuringWater on Twitter. <P> Interior Department Announces Plans to Partner with Crow Tribe on Yellowtail Afterbay Hydropower
<b>WASHINGTON, D.C.</b> - The Department of the Interior, in partnership with the Crow Tribe, will enter into an agreement for hydropower development on the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam, downstream of Yellowtail Dam and Powerplant, on the Bighorn River near Fort Smith, Montana. <P> The agreement is part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010. Under the settlement, the Tribe holds the exclusive right to develop and market power generation on the Yellowtail Afterbay Dam. <P> "The Crow Tribe is excited to embark on the Tribe's exclusive right under our water settlement to develop hydropower at Yellowtail Afterbay Dam and to begin the critical work to bring the benefits of hydropower to the Reservation and our tribal membership," said Crow Chairman Darrin Old Coyote. <P> "This is an excellent opportunity for development of new hydropower capacity on existing infrastructure," said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor. "Working through the Bureau of Reclamation, Interior is pleased to assist the Crow Tribe on its Yellowtail Afterbay hydro development, resulting in clean, renewable energy, and creating vital jobs in the process." <P> The Tribe is responsible for overall management of the hydropower project and for coordination of activities associated with the project. The Bureau of Reclamation will provide technical assistance in reviewing designs and making sure the new hydro coexists with the existing Yellowtail Afterbay Dam in a safe and reliable manner. <P> The next steps include completion of design data collection, followed by design and implementation of Reclamation's dam safety processes for the proposed modifications to the existing structure. <P> Brent Rhees Named Regional Director for Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Region
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López today announced the selection of Brent Rhees, P.E., as Upper Colorado Regional Director. Rhees has served as the Salt Lake City-based region’s deputy regional director since October 2007. <P> “Brent Rhees has extensive knowledge and more than three decades of experience with the complex challenges in this important region,” Commissioner López said today. "Through his strong leadership and his ability to build solid partnerships, Brent is more than prepared to lead the Upper Colorado Region into the future." <P> In his new role, Rhees will oversee all Reclamation operations in most of Utah, New Mexico and western Colorado, as well as northern Arizona, a portion of west Texas, the southeast corner of Idaho and southwestern Wyoming. The responsibility includes oversight of Reclamation programs, projects, and facilities and encompasses 62 dams with a reservoir capacity of more than 32 million acre feet, 28 hydroelectric powerplants that meet electricity needs of more than 1.3 million people, and multiple recreation opportunities for about 12 million annual visitors. <P> As deputy regional director, Rhees managed several complex and high profile issues, including the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program, dam safety modifications, implementation of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, the Colorado River Salinity Control Program and completion of the Animas La-Plata Project. Rhees has 35 years of federal service. He started in Reclamation's Denver Office in 1980 as a rotation engineer, moved to the Upper Colorado Regional Office in 1981 to serve as Engineering Services Office supervisor and construction liaison. He transferred to the Provo Area Office in March 1993 to serve in several key management positions including three division manager positions and as the deputy area manager from June 2004 to October 2007. <P> Rhees is a recipient of the DOI's Superior Service Award in recognition of his significant contributions and leadership in Western water issues. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Utah. <P>