Commissioner's Offce News Releases News Releases from Reclamation's Commissioner's Office Five Projects will Receive Funding Through the Western Watershed Enhancement Program From Reclamation
WASHINGTON – Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López says five projects will receive a total of $482,967 in funding to promote watershed health and wildfire resiliency, protect municipal and agricultural water supplies, and improve infrastructure through the Western Watershed Enhancement Program across five western states. The funding awarded will support projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho and Washington. <P> "Reclamation is collaborating with others to ensure a sustainable water supply for our future generations," Commissioner Estevan López said. "Through the Western Watershed Enhancement Program, more landscapes in western watersheds and forests will remain healthy and resilient to risks associated with drought and climate changes, such as wildfires." <P> These projects will help improve watershed health, reduce wildfire risk and post-wildfire erosion and sedimentation through rehabilitation of fire-damaged areas; restore wildlife habitat; and investigate watershed enhancement methods. <P> Below are overviews of the funded projects: <P> <strong>Cragin Watershed Protection Project (Arizona)</strong>: Reclamation is providing $76,739 toward this project to remove hazardous fuels from overstocked forest stands, which will reduce fire threats. It includes mechanical and hand treatments on 39,000 acres and prescribed fires on 64,000 acres to reduce risks within and adjacent to the three sub-watersheds that drain into Cragin Reservoir. The project will also advance field work to address environmental impacts. This project is a collaborative effort among the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, Salt River Project and National Forest Foundation. <P> <strong>Hemlock Project (California)</strong>: Reclamation is providing $96,084 toward this project to support a 12,000-acre watershed enhancement study on the Stanislaus National Forest at the headwaters of the Mokelumne River. The Project partners Reclamation with the Forest Service and the University of California and is part of the larger Sierra Watershed Ecosystem Enhancement Project (SWEEP). Its goal is to produce a quantitative assessment of the impacts of watershed enhancement approaches that is scalable across the Sierra Nevada and potentially other forests. <P> <strong>Glacier Creek to Mill Creek Fuel Reduction Project (Colorado)</strong>: Reclamation is providing $84,500 toward the reduction of fuel loads to help prevent wildfires from spreading and improve watershed health by focusing on enhancing existing fire barriers such as roads, trails and rivers on 210 acres in Rocky Mountain National Park in the headwaters of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. This is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Headwaters Partnership, a collaborative effort among the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, the State of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Western Area Power Administration and Northern Water Conservancy District. <P> <strong>Boise River Pilot Project (Idaho)</strong>: Reclamation is providing $70,000 toward two distinct projects in the Boise River watershed to minimize post-fire erosion and sediment loads, stabilize soils and establish more fire-resilient forests and habitats. Funding will go toward planting 17,000 seedlings, which amount to about 200 trees per acre over 85 acres; removing non-native invasive species on 200 to 400 acres of land, which are flourishing in post-fire conditions; and restoring native, fire-resistant vegetation. These are two components of a broader watershed improvement partnership between the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service in the Boise River Basin. <P> <strong>Yakima Watershed Enhancement Project (Washington)</strong>: Reclamation is providing $150,644 toward this project to reduce wildfire risk on 730 acres of land within the catchment basin that flows into Rimrock Reservoir in Washington state. These treatments help reduce the potential for large-scale wildfires and associated post-fire impacts such as entry of sediment, debris and contamination into water supplies and facilities. Additional support for this project is also being provided by the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Yakima Nation. <P> The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership was formally established in July 2013, by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. It is a part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, outlining a comprehensive approach to prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, including increased risk of wildfires and drought. <P> <P> James Hess Named Reclamation's Chief of Staff
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López has announced that he has selected James Hess as the Chief of Staff for the Bureau of Reclamation. In this position he will oversee the management of the Commissioner’s office and serve as a liaison with the Department of the Interior and other bureaus to ensure priority tasks are addressed. He will also work with Reclamation customers, stakeholders and the public on a variety of issues. <P> "James has a long history with Reclamation, having served in a variety of positions which has provided him valuable experience about our mission and the Commissioner's Office," López said. "I am thrilled to have him in this vital role for Reclamation." <P> Hess joined Reclamation in 1995. Since then he has held a number of positions in the Commissioner’s office including serving as the acting Chief of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Associate Deputy Commissioner for Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff. While in these positions he has worked on important programs, such as title transfer and the rural water program. <P> He has a Masters Degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and graduated Cum Laude with Distinction from Connecticut College. Hess is from the District of Columbia, and currently resides in Virginia, with his wife, his son, Nate, a high school senior and daughter, Rachel, a high school junior. <P> Take Your Child To Work Events Around Reclamation
Today, Reclamation hosted children of Reclamation employees throughout the Western United States at its annual Take Your Kids to Work day event. Children participated in a variety of events, including events to support the Let's Move Outside initiative. <P> In Denver, students learned about different aspects of Reclamation's research and laboratory. Stations included learning about protecting pipes in the ground, how to sample for invasive mussels, geology, and how magnets work. Following the different stations, all of the children gathered around the 5 million pound press for a demonstration on how Reclamation uses it to test the strength of concrete. <P> In Boise, children were able to try on equipment the Reclamation divers use at facilities, run some experiments, and just get some exercise in. <P> Here are some photos of the day as kids toured around the various events in the West. <P> <div class="Carousel"> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Learning how Reclamation protects pipes in the ground from corrosion."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Learning how Reclamation protects pipes in the ground from corrosion.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Looking at fish in an aquarium at Reclamation's fish lab in Denver."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Looking at fish in an aquarium at Reclamation's fish lab in Denver.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Learning how Reclamation tests water samples to see if invasive mussels may be in a body of water at Reclamation's Invasive Species Laboratory."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Learning how Reclamation tests water samples to see if invasive mussels may be in a body of water at Reclamation's Invasive Species Laboratory.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Experiencing what it is like to have dive equipment on."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Experiencing what it is like to have dive equipment on.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Trying some experiments with the same equipment that Reclamation employees use."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Trying some experiments with the same equipment that Reclamation employees use.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Getting their hands wet in a sand table."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Getting their hands wet in a sand table.</p> </div> </div> <div class="Carousel-item"> <img src="" alt="Moving outside, enjoying the beautiful day in Boise while getting some exercise in."> <div class="Carousel-caption"> <p>Moving outside, enjoying the beautiful day in Boise while getting some exercise in.</p> </div> </div> </div> <small>Click on dot to advance photos.</small> <P> <P> <P> Boy Scout Project at Lake Berryessa
On Saturday, April 9, 2016, three Boy Scouts and their four adult leaders from the Herms District, Mount Diablo-Silverado Council, joined Lake Berryessa Park Ranger Victoria Payan on a service project at the lake’s Smittle Creek Day Use Area. <P> Although the group of Scouts was small in number, they were huge in determination and effort, building an entire retaining wall from start to finish in just one day. The undertaking was a complement to a larger refurbishment project of the Smittle Creek Day Use Area begun in fall 2015 that included cleaning up the picnic areas and replacing barbeque grills and picnic tables to improve visitor services. <P> The retaining wall built by the Scouts and their leaders replaced an old, crumbling wall that had been removed, making for a rather steep hill that people had to walk over to get to the water. The new retaining wall improves access to the lake by directing people toward a safer trail, making the day use area not only more attractive but also easier to navigate. <P> A steady rain provided the energetic group with not only soggy and cool working conditions but also muddy boots and gloves to show for their hard work! <P> The Bureau of Reclamation and the Park Rangers at Lake Berryessa thank the Boy Scouts for their enthusiastic efforts and for their dedication to improving recreation access at the lake. <img src="" alt="Boy Scout group at Lake Berryessa." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <P> Technical Manual to Help Inform River and Stream Professionals in Management of Wood Projects Throughout the United States Now Available from Bureau of Reclamation
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have developed and released a manual to establish consistent methods to assess, design and manage wood projects for river and stream restoration throughout the United States. The National Large Wood Manual provides a basic understanding of the role of wood in fluvial aquatic and riparian ecosystems and information on how wood should be maintained, reintroduced and managed by resource managers and restoration practitioners. <P> The amount of wood in rivers has declined throughout the last two centuries—leading to a degradation of riverine ecosystems and a decline of native species. Wood is not just debris in a river that is carried to the sea; it is a natural part of a river or stream and is beneficial to restoration of natural river and stream conditions. It alters channel morphology, fluvial processes, the storage of sediment and organic matter and helps the landscapes evolve. <P> The use of wood in restoration projects is a cost-effective and ecologically beneficial engineering approach to meet environmental mandates and endangered species requirements, while maintaining traditional agency missions. <P> The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are charged with protecting native and listed species, while meeting water delivery and managing flood risk, navigation and ecosystem restoration mandates. The manual is available for download at <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Continues Desalination Research Collaboration with the Middle East
WASHINGTON – It’s hard enough to deal with long-term drought and climate change issues, but imagine what it’s like to live in a region where access to clean water is a rare commodity. <P> Saied Delagah, chemical engineer at Reclamation’s Technical Service Center in Denver, has witnessed this issue first hand. He has traveled abroad to work with the <a href="" class="tooltip-ng">Middle East Desalination Research Center</a> (MEDRC), an internationally recognized research institution that specializes in desalination technologies and renewable energy integration into desalination. His most recent travel to Muscat, Oman, during December 2015, continues Reclamation’s long-standing relationship with Middle East desalination research, which dates back to the 1990s. <P> MEDRC was established under the Multilateral Middle East Peace Process Working Group on Water Resources. In the interim peace agreement, investment in cost-effective desalination, development of human resources, and collaboration among countries were seen as key to preventing water from becoming a source of instability and conflict in the region. <P> The United States government was a founding member of MEDRC and has been active with the institution since its establishment by international agreement in December 1996. MEDRC today includes Oman, United States, Qatar, Netherlands, Spain, Palestinian Territories, Israel, Jordan, Japan and South Korea. <P> Since 1998, the U.S. Department of State has been supportive of MEDRC activities that enhance the desalination capabilities in the Middle East and North Africa. The State Department requested Reclamation’s assistance to provide technical advice and to help strategize MEDRC’s future. Reclamation has an interagency agreement with the State Department to provide this technical assistance until December 2019. <P> MEDRC deals with two of the most pressing global and regional challenges: water and peace. According to the organization’s website, their region of the Middle East has the lowest renewable water resources, the most extreme water stress, and both massive population and per capita water consumption growth. <P> In fall 2013, Reclamation partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide technical assistance to the agency in Desalination and in conducting <a href="" class="tooltip-ng">The Desal Prize</a>. In April 2015, led by Delagah, Reclamation completed The Desal Prize competition with USAID. <P> “The concept is to create a novel, low cost, small-scale, standalone Desal technology that is powered by a renewable energy system that can be deployed in rural and underdeveloped areas with minimal environmental footprint,” Delagah said, adding Reclamation had a particular interest in The Desal Prize competition due to its mission to manage water supplies in the 17 Western states. <P> “In the Southwestern U.S., we have a lot of underdeveloped and rural areas that can benefit from such a system, so we partnered with USAID on The Desal Prize,” Delagah said. “We went through the full prize competition process and final demonstration testing on six of the technologies took place at our Brackish Groundwater Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico.” <P> MEDRC members are also interested in conducting prize competitions, such as a humanitarian challenge for a desalination device that can be used during potential crises. It will also be used as a tool to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa. <P> With assistance from the State Department, Reclamation, and other international partners, MEDRC promises to enhance the desalination capabilities in the Middle East and North Africa and increase water supply through desalination technologies. <P> To stay informed about Reclamation’s International Affairs Program, please complete this <a href="">form</a>, or visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <img src="" alt="Students are seen measuring for the fouling potential of water in reverse osmosis systems, 2015. Photo courtesy of MEDRC staff." width="400px"><br /><small>Students are seen measuring for the fouling potential of water in reverse osmosis systems, 2015. Photo courtesy of MEDRC staff.</small> <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Launches Two Prize Competitions to Solve Issues About Downstream Fish Passage and Detecting Soil Movement within Earthen Dams, Canals and Levees
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has launched two prize competitions to seek new ideas and better methods for fish to move downstream past large dams and to detect the movement of soils within earthen dams, canals and levees. Through these prize competitions, Reclamation and its partners are seeking solutions from beyond the usual sources of experts that work in these fields. These competitions are open through May 10, 2016. <P> The Downstream Fish Passage at Tall Dams' prize competition was developed to help migrating juvenile fish over or around tall dams. Moving migrating juvenile fish past tall dams will ensure habitat connectivity that many threatened and endangered fish populations need to survive and reproduce. <P> Reclamation and its federal, state and local partners responsible for recovering threatened and endangered fish recovery will benefit from new and better methods of providing fish passage at these large dams. It will also help Reclamation meet the National Marine Fisheries Service's biological opinions, such as the 2009 biological opinion for passage of Sacramento winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon and for Central Valley steelhead upstream of Shasta, New Melones and Folsom dams. <P> Reclamation is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Water Resources on this prize competition. The winners of this prize competition will share $20,000. <P> The Detection of Movement of Soils Within Earthen Dams, Canals and Levees prize competition seeks to detect the movement of material earlier than observable by currently used visual inspection and instrumentation methods. This can help prevent the loss of life, property and interruption of the service the infrastructure provides. <P> Water storage behind earthen dams, the movement of water through canals and flood protection provided by levees support the quality of life of people around the globe. The early stages of soil moving in an earthen structure, also known as internal erosion, is largely invisible. Current methods cannot provide early detection of this damaging process. <P> Reclamation is collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Colorado Dam Safety Program on this prize competition. The winners of this prize competition will share $20,000. <P> To register and learn more about these new prize competitions, go to To learn more about Reclamation’s Water Prize Competition Center, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Recently, celebrated its fifth anniversary. is a historic effort by the federal government to collaborate with members of the public through incentive prizes to address our most pressing local, national, and global challenges. True to the spirit of President Obama's charge from his first day in office, federal agencies have collaborated with more than 200,000 citizen solvers—entrepreneurs, citizen scientists, students, and more—in more than 440 challenges, on topics ranging from accelerating the deployment of solar energy, to combating breast cancer, to increasing resilience after Hurricane Sandy. <P> <P> Interior Department Releases Report Underscoring Impacts of Climate Change on Western Water Resources
WASHINGTON – Putting the national spotlight on the importance of water sustainability, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation released a basin-by-basin report that characterizes the impacts of climate change and details adaptation strategies to better protect major river basins in the West that are fundamental to the health, economy, security and ecology of 17 Western states. <P> The <a href="">SECURE Water Act Report</a>, produced by Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and its state and local partners, was released following today’s first White House Summit on Water in observance of World Water Day. <P> “One of the greatest challenges we face is dealing with the impacts of climate change on our nation’s water, which is really the lifeblood of our economy,” said Interior’s Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor. “We need to continue to develop collaborative strategies across each river basin to ensure that our nation’s water and power supplies, agricultural activities, ecosystems, and other resources all have sustainable paths forward.” <P> The report identifies climate change as a growing risk to Western water management and cites warmer temperatures, changes to precipitation, snowpack and the timing and quality of streamflow runoff across major river basins as threats to water sustainability. Water supply, quality and operations; hydropower; groundwater resources; flood control; recreation; and fish, wildlife and other ecological resources in the Western states remain at risk. <P> The report, which responds to requirements under the SECURE Water Act of 2009, shows several increased risks to western United States water resources during the 21st century. Specific projections include: <P> <ul> <li>a temperature increase of 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century;</li> <li>A precipitation increase over the northwestern and north-central portions of the western United States and a decrease over the southwestern and south-central areas;</li> <li>A decrease for almost all of the April 1st snowpack, a standard benchmark measurement used to project river basin runoff; and</li> <li>a 7 to 27 percent decrease in April to July stream flow in several river basins, including the Colorado, the Rio Grande, and the San Joaquin.</li> </ul> <P> These projections will have specific basin-level impacts that include: <P> <ul> <li><strong>Southern California</strong>: In Southern California, warming and population growth are projected to increase water demand, reliance on imported water and the use of groundwater in the area, leading to development of alternative water supplies, such as recycled water.</li> <li><strong>Colorado River Basin</strong>: Reductions in spring and early summer runoff could translate into a drop in water supply for meeting irrigation demands and adversely impact hydropower operations at reservoirs.</li> <li><strong>Klamath and Truckee River Basins</strong>: Warmer conditions may result in increased stress on fisheries, reduced salmon habitat, increased electricity demand, increased water demands for in-stream ecosystems and increased likelihood of invasive species’ infestations.</li> <li><strong>Columbia and Missouri River Basins</strong>: Moisture falling as rain instead of snow at lower elevations will increase the runoff during the wintertime rather than the summer, translating to reductions for meeting irrigation demands, adversely impacting hydropower operations, and increasing wintertime flood-control challenges.</li> <li><strong>Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins</strong>: Earlier season runoff combined with a potential for increasing upper watershed evapotranspiration may reduce the capacity to store runoff in Reclamation’s Central Valley Project and state water resources reservoirs.</li> <li><strong>Rio Grande Basin</strong>: Reduced snowpack and decreased runoff likely will result in less natural groundwater recharge. Additional decreases in groundwater levels are projected due to increased reliance on groundwater pumping.</li> </ul> <P> "Reclamation, its customers and stakeholders have adapted to various climate conditions for more than 100 years," the Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said.  "Now changing climate is creating a greater challenge; but through collaboration and cooperation, we will work to ensure a sustainable and secure water supply now and into the future." <P> While climate change poses significant risks to Western water resources management, Reclamation is already addressing vulnerabilities through adaptation strategies being developed with water managers across the West. For example, under the WaterSMART Program, collaborative basin studies evaluate the impacts of climate change and identify a broad range of potential options to resolve current and future water supply and demand imbalances. <P> Reclamation has forged collaborative relationships in 15 of the 17 Western states with a diverse group of non-Federal partners, including state water resource agencies, tribal governments, regional water authorities, local planning agencies, water districts, agricultural associations, environmental interests, cities and counties. These partnerships focus on identifying and developing adaptation strategies to address the vulnerabilities related to drought and climate change. <P> In addition to the new Report, the Interior Department launched an online tool enabling the public to visualize the regional impacts and potential adaptation options. The tool allows users to check, by basin, how temperature, precipitation and snowpack are projected to be affected by climate change and how climate change may affect runoff and water supplies. The viewer can also check the projected flow of a river at specific points and times of the year and display adaptation options. <P> The Report and visualization tool provides a five-year update on the river basins listed in the SECURE Water Act—the Colorado, Columbia, Klamath, Missouri, Rio Grande, Sacramento-San Joaquin and Truckee river basins— as well as other Western river basins. <P> During the White House Summit, the Administration announced new efforts and commitments from the federal government and more than 100 external institutions to enhance the sustainability of water in the United States. For more information, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>. <P> The SECURE Water Act Report, fact sheets on projected climate change impacts on the eight western river basins, and the visualization tool are available at <a href=""></a>. <P> The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the Nation. It provides more than 10 trillion gallons of water each year for municipal use and provides water to approximately 10 million acres of irrigated farmland that collectively produce 60 percent of the Nation’s vegetables and 25 percent of the Nation’s fruits and nut corps. Additionally, Reclamation is the largest supplier of hydroelectric power in the Western United States, operating 53 power plants that serve 3.5 million households. <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Publishes Columbia River Basin Climate Impact Assessment
The Bureau of Reclamation released the Columbia Basin Climate Impact Assessment today, which projected climate change impacts on water resources in the Pacific Northwest, including Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Washington. <P> The study found that warming temperatures will continue across the basin, and although there will not be significant changes in the mean annual precipitation, precipitation timing will change significantly, with more precipitation during the winter and less during the summer. This assessment supports earlier findings on Columbia River Basin projections for the 21st century. <P> "This climate impact assessment for the Columbia River Basin will give water managers new information to plan for sustainable water supplies now and into the future," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "This impact assessment is only the starting point – an initial analysis of conditions. This serves to establish a foundation for in-depth studies that will include more detailed climate adaptation strategies." <P> The assessment used five climate scenarios to simulate temperature, precipitation and runoff. They were separated into four future periods and were centered on the 2020s, 2040s, 2060s and 2080s. The five climate scenarios were less warming wetter, less warming drier, median, more warming wetter and more warming drier. <P> Future climate change inflow data was calculated at 157 locations across the Columbia River Basin. With the warming temperatures and increased precipitation in the winter, runoff is expected to increase in the winter and decline in the summer. Three areas were specifically studied, the Columbia River above The Dalles, Snake River at Brownlee Dam and the Yakima River at Parker. At these three points the mean snow water equivalent is projected to decline at all locations. The assessment projected a trend that indicated there would be an increase in runoff from December to March and a decrease in runoff (in most projections) from April to July. <P> This assessment is part of the West-wide Climate Risk Assessments, which is included in WaterSMART. The WaterSMART program focuses on improving water conservation, sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water supply and demand. <P> This report is being released in conjunction with the first White House Summit on Water in observance of World Water Day. During the White House Summit, the Administration announced new efforts and commitments from the federal government and more than 100 external institutions to enhance the sustainability of water in the United States. For more information, click <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <P> The Columbia Basin Climate Impact Assessment is available online at <a href=""></a>. Information about the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART program is available at <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> Republican River Basin Study Informs Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska about Future Water Management
The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Republican River Basin Study, which identifies adaptation strategies that address water management challenges in the basin. This study, which includes a study area of 2.7 million acres of irrigated agriculture served primarily by groundwater supplies, represents an extensive collaborative effort among Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. <P> "The Republican River Basin is a complex and important basin for these states," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "Because of its importance, new ground and surface water modeling tools were developed to evaluate future hydrology and operations within the basin. These tools will assist water managers as they make decisions to build resiliency against future climate change, while also maintaining compliance with the Republican River Compact." <P> The Republican River basin covers approximately 16 million acres and lies primarily within the Ogallala Aquifer. It originates in the high plains of eastern Colorado and flows east into Nebraska and Kansas. <P> The basin study found that climate change may impact future supplies and demands across the basin. Nebraska focused on augmenting the supply of Swanson Lake and creating new surface water storage on Thompson Creek, a tributary of the Republican River, while Kansas evaluated alternatives that increase the storage volume at Lovewell Reservoir. The modeling tools that were developed for the study evaluated alternatives to improve the supply reliability at the Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District in Nebraska, as well as the Bostwick-Irrigation District of Nebraska and Kansas. <P> Surface water supplies include a system of seven Reclamation reservoirs and one U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir. These projects provide flood control benefits, as well as supplies to six irrigation districts that serve approximately 140,000 acres. The Republican River is subject to an interstate compact between Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas that was ratified in 1943. <P> The Republican River Basin Study is a part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program. The report is available online at <a href=""></a>. <P> WaterSMART is the 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. For more information on the WaterSMART program, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation’s Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Basin Study Predicts How Climate Change Will Impact the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Basin Study, which found climate change will cause earlier runoff and refill reservoirs earlier in the year, potentially affecting reservoir operations and water storage. <P> This study, collaboratively developed by Reclamation, the State of California Department of Water Resources, El Dorado County Water Agency, Stockton East Water District, California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and Madera County Resource Management Agency, examines climate change impacts and adaptation actions for the Sacramento River Basin, San Joaquin River Basin and the Tulare Lake Basin. <P> Water from the Tulare Lake Basin reaches the San Joaquin River Basin only in wetter years. Because of the connection with the Central Valley Project, the upper Trinity River Basin was also included in this study. The basins flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the largest estuary on the west coast of the United States. <P> "These basins are at the center of discussions about the availability of water in California, not only for agriculture, but for municipal and environmental needs as well," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "Because of the collaborative efforts put forth in this basin study, we now have more information on how climate change will impact this region and a better understanding of what will be needed to ensure a sustainable water supply for today and for the future." <P> The study found that warming conditions will cause a median sea level rise of 36 inches, which will increase the difficulty of conveying water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Also, temperatures will most likely increase by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the early 21st century to almost 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit by late in the 21st century; precipitation may increase in the areas north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, with very little change projected in the Tulare Lake Basin, where some of the greatest agricultural demands exist; evapotranspiration is expected to increase with warming temperatures; and snowpack will decline with warming temperatures, particularly in the lower elevations of the mountains surrounding California's Central Valley. <P> Reclamation, along with its partners and stakeholders, developed management actions to address these findings. The study revealed that conservation, groundwater and surface water augmentation projects and operational improvements may improve the reliability and sustainability of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project systems to meet current and future water needs. <P> The report also identified potential next steps to resolve current and future imbalances. These next steps were grouped into the following categories, Institutional Flexibility, Municipal and Industrial and Agricultural Water Use Efficiency, River Temperature Management, Forest Health, Groundwater and System Conveyance. <P> The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Basin Study is a part of WaterSMART, the 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. The report is available at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. For more information on the WaterSMART program, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <P> Reclamation Initiates 2016 WaterSMART Basin Study Selection Process
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation is initiating the 2016 basin study selection process and requests letters of interest from eligible non-federal entities interested in participating in a new basin study. A short letter of interest is due to the respective regional office by April 4, 2016. <P> Through basin studies, Reclamation works with state and local partners to conduct comprehensive water supply and demand studies of river basins in the Western United States. Reclamation anticipates funding two studies in 2016. <P> Basin studies include four main elements: <ul> <li>Projections of water supply and demand, including the risks of climate change.</li> <li>Analysis of how existing water and power infrastructure will perform in response to changing water realities.</li> <li>Development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to improve operations and infrastructure in order to supply adequate water in the future.</li> <li>Trade-off analysis of the strategies identified and findings.</li> </ul> <P> Entities must contribute at least half of the total cost as cash or in-kind services. This is not a financial assistance program and Reclamation's share of the study costs will only be used to support work done by Reclamation or its contractors. <P> Reclamation’s regional office staff will review all letters of interest. Those selected for consideration will then work with Reclamation to develop a joint study proposal for evaluation and prioritization by a Reclamation review committee. <P> WaterSMART is the 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> To learn more about WaterSMART or this basin study selection process, please visit <P> Reclamation Seeking Solutions to Suppressing Evaporative Water Loss from Reservoirs
The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking information from outside sources that may possess a method, technology or material that suppresses the evaporative water loss from reservoirs in an environmentally sound manner that does not negatively impact reservoir operations. <P> Reclamation projects losing large amounts of water from reservoirs annually to evaporation and studies show that these losses may increase significantly due to climate change. Reclamation is seeking viable solutions to help mitigate the impacts. <P> This request for information is available at, by searching for opportunity number <a href="" target="_blank">R16PS00576</a>. Interested parties must submit a response by 3 p.m. MDT, March 24, 2016. <P> Reclamation has been investigating ways to decrease such losses since 1960; however, challenges remain with achieving a low-cost application at large reservoirs, managing the effects of wind, and mitigating wildlife habitat disturbances. <P> In 2015, Reclamation released a report that examined irrigation demand and evaporation projections. Based on a projected temperature increase of approximately five degrees Fahrenheit in the region, the report estimates that annual evaporation at most of the 12 reservoirs modeled by the study could increase two to six inches by 2080. To view this report, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> This request for information supports Reclamation's Science and Technology Program, a competitive, merit-based, applied research and development program that focuses on innovative solutions for water and power challenges in the Western United States for Reclamation water and facility managers, customers and stakeholders. The program has contributed many of the tools and capabilities Reclamation and Western water managers use today. <P> Funding Opportunity Available to Establish or Further Develop Watershed Groups from Bureau of Reclamation
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has released a funding opportunity for entities seeking to establish or further develop watershed management groups through the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Up to $750,000 is available under this funding opportunity. <P> The funding opportunity announcement is available at <a href=""></a> by searching for funding opportunity R16-FOA-DO-008. <P> Funding is available for states, Tribes, local and special districts like irrigation and water districts, local government entities, interstate organizations and non-profit organizations to establish a watershed group. Funding is also available for an existing watershed group to expand or further develop their watershed restoration plan, or develop project concepts. Applications are due on May 4, 2016 at 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. <P> A non-federal cost-share is not required for entities applying for this funding opportunity. Up to $100,000 may be awarded to an applicant per award with no more than $50,000 awarded in each year, not to exceed two years. <P> WaterSMART is the 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> The Cooperative Watershed Management Program provides funding for watershed groups to encourage diverse stakeholders to form local groups to address their water management needs. To learn more about the Cooperative Watershed Management Program please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> Bridges Have Fallen at the 49th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Competition
DENVER – Many wooden bridges were destroyed today at the Denver Federal Center, but it was for a good cause. High school students from throughout Colorado descended on the Bureau of Reclamation's lab to test the strength of their bridges at the 49th Annual Colorado High School Bridge Building Competition. <P> The winners of the competition took home scholarships and the ability to compete at the International Bridge Building Competition in Chicago, Illinois. <P> In Region 1, Michael Schindewolf of Front Range Christian High School took first place with a bridge that weighed 10.59 grams and supported a max load of 42.02 kilograms (92.6 pounds), giving it an efficiency value of 3,968. Dade Lindley of Lindley Home School took second with an efficiency of 3,571. In third was Gabe Fik of Front Range Christian with an efficiency of 2,825. <P> In the team competition in Region 1, Front Range Christian won with a team efficiency of 9,102. Second place went Englewood High School and third place went Denver School of Science and Technology. <P> In Region 2, Dylan Moorman of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs took first place with a bridge that weighed 25.64 grams and supported a max load of 96.71 kilograms (213.2 pounds), giving it an efficiency of 3,772. Nikolas Provost of Rampart High School took second with an efficiency of 3,720. In third was Christian Dalland of Rampart High School took third with an efficiency of 3,185. <P> In the team competition in Region 2, Cheyenne Mountain High School won with a team efficiency of 9,058. Second place went to Rampart High School and third place went to Manzanola High School. <P> Schools participating in the contest include: Buena Vista High School, Cherry Creek High School, Cheyenne Mountain High School, Denver School of Science and Technology, Englewood High School, Front Range Christian, Lindley Home School, Manzanola High School, Mills Home School, Rampart High School and Salida High School. <P> Every year, students from across the state gather at the Bureau of Reclamation's Concrete, Geotechnical, and Structural Laboratory to test out their homemade, small-scale bridges. These bridges, made of only a few, basic materials, are then tested to determine how much weight they can support. The winning models are determined by the structural efficiency ratio, or the amount of weight the bridge can hold divided by the weight of the bridge. The winning bridges have the highest structural efficiency ratios. <P> The state is split into two regions: northern (Region One) and southern (Region Two). The first and second place winners from each region are invited to compete at the International Bridge Building Contest, where prizes have included college scholarships. Winners from this year's competition were awarded college scholarships to go toward science and engineering education. <P> The High School Bridge Building Competition aims to encourage participation in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology. In addition to the competition, attendees and their families will explore Reclamation's laboratories and facilities with professional engineers, getting a chance to see research and science in action. Students can visit the humidity room, where working models of structures and dam construction materials are cured for optimum strength and will witness a 2,000-pound concrete cylinder crushed by a machine capable of 5-million pounds of compression. <P> Reclamation, the National Society of Professional Engineers of Colorado and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado sponsor the competition. <P> <P>