Commissioner's Offce News Releases News Releases from Reclamation's Commissioner's Office Reclamation Employees Receive the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award for Sedimentation Work on Elwha River Restoration Project
Reclamation employees Tim Randle, Ph.D., Jennifer Bountry and Robert J. Hamilton have received the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award, recognizing their work and support toward the National Park Service’s Elwha River Restoration project. <P> A result of nearly three decades of concentrated and diligent efforts, the Elwha River Restoration project included the largest dam removal in United States history. Led by the National Park Service, key partners included the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, City of Port Angeles, Clallam County, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several Washington State agencies. Removal of the two Elwha dams freed the Elwha River and restored access for Pacific and steelhead salmon to over 70 miles of unspoiled habitat. This project has also restored the natural sediment flow of the river and uncovered cultural sites of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. <P> "Tim, Jennifer, and Robert's work on this project has helped restore important salmon and steelhead habitat on the Olympic Peninsula," Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. "Reclamation appreciates these three dedicated employees and their contributions toward habitat restoration." <P> Hamilton began work on the project in 1992 and coordinated all of Reclamation's activities on the Elwha River Restoration Project. He translated the project’s complex scientific engineering language for a variety of clients including managers, biologists, planners and educators. <P> Randle began working on the project in the mid-1990s and served on the interagency and interdisciplinary team that planned the Elwha Dam removal and reservoir sediment management through a programmatic environmental impact statement and project implementation environmental impact statement. <P> Bountry joined the team in 2001 to develop the sediment monitoring and adaptive management plan. She also led the Elwha sediment team that monitored conditions before, during and after the Elwha Dam removal; updated sediment response predictions during dam removal; and made adaptive management recommendations to the National Park Service. <P> Randle and Bountry have contributed to public education efforts and scientific journals that highlight reservoir and river evolution following the historic Elwha Dam removal. Randle and Bountry are also developing a sediment analysis guideline for dam removal, which will include lessons learned from the Elwha Dam removal. <P> The removal of Elwha Dam was completed in April 2012, and the removal of Glines Canyon Dam was completed in August 2014. As expected, reservoir sediment erosion rates were highest during Glines Canyon dam removal, but those rates decreased dramatically over time. By January 2016, 70 percent of the sediment had been eroded from the two reservoirs behind Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. Much of the remaining sediment is expected to stabilize over the long-term and only erode in significant amounts during future large floods. <P> The total volume of sedimentation in both reservoirs in 2010 was estimated to be 27 million cubic yards, prior to removal. Concurrent removal of both dams began in September 2011. The dams were removed in a controlled manner and the river was allowed to erode the reservoir sediments for transport through the river to the sea. New water treatment plants and wells were constructed to protect existing water users. <P> The construction of two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River in the early 1900s provided the first electrical power to the City of Port Angeles and contributed to the economic development. However, the dams blocked the migration path for several species of salmon and trout, severely limited downstream water temperatures in late summer and early fall. The reservoirs also inundated important cultural sites of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, impacted their culture and economy, and had a large impact on the fisheries. <P> The Elwha River flows northward 45 miles from Mount Olympus to the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles, Washington. The river basin is the fourth largest on the Olympic Peninsula with a drainage area of 325 square miles and produces an average annual flow of about 1,500 cubic-feet-per-second. The river is home to more than ten species of fish, which contribute an enormous amount of nutrients for the animals and forests within the watershed. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s culture and way of life is centered on the river and the fish. <P> To learn more about the dam removal, please visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <P> Groundwater Recharge in Upper Colorado River Basin May Hold Steady Under Climate Change
WASHINGTON - Future increases in precipitation in the Upper Colorado River Basin may increase groundwater recharge, offsetting reductions that would result from increased temperatures, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation. <P> The Colorado River provides water for more than 35 million people in the United States and 3 million people in Mexico. A recent USGS <a href="" target="_blank">publication</a> suggests that as much as half of the water flowing in rivers and streams in the Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater. Understanding how much groundwater is available and how it’s replenished is important to sustainably manage both groundwater and surface water supplies in the Colorado River basin now and in the future. <P> USGS and Reclamation scientists estimated projected changes in groundwater recharge for the Upper Colorado River Basin from recent historical (1950–2015) through future (2016–2099) time periods using climate projections and a groundwater-recharge model. Simulated future groundwater recharge through 2099 is generally expected to be somewhat greater than the historical average in most decades due to an anticipated wetter future climate in the basin under the most advanced climate modeling projections. Groundwater resources are replenished through increases in precipitation, which may offset reductions from increased temperatures. The full report is available online in the <a href="" class="tooltip-ng"> journal Geophysical Research Letters</a>. <P> While recharge simulations from a majority of the projected climate data sets result in increased recharge in the Upper Colorado River Basin during most future decades, there were some that resulted in decreased future recharge relative to the historical climate period. <P> “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Fred Tillman, lead author and USGS scientist. “These results are the first step in understanding the quantity of groundwater we can expect in the Upper Colorado River Basin; however, further studies are needed to help more accurately forecast future groundwater availability.” <P> "Future estimates of groundwater recharge are compounded by the large-scale of the Upper Colorado River Basin and the uncertainties of future climate projections," said Reclamation co-author Subhrendu Gangopadhyay. <P> "Given these uncertainties, multiple-future water supplies scenarios are used to inform Reclamation’s water management and planning within the Upper Colorado River Basin," Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region Water Resources Manager Malcolm Wilson added. <P> This study was completed with support from Reclamation’s Science and Technology Program to help meet objectives of the <a href="">SECURE Water Act</a>, which was created by Congress in 2009 as a framework for a programmatic approach to understand climate change impacts, and to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies. This act contains substantive mandates for both the USGS and Reclamation to help provide a more accurate assessment of the status of the water resources of the United States and assess the potential impacts of climate change on water management. <P> <P> Reclamation Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Deferred Maintenance Manual
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comment on a deferred maintenance and repairs directive and standard. It aims to improve transparency and implement standardization and consistency across Reclamation on how deferred maintenance and repairs are tracked and reported. <P> This directive and standard applies to facilities Reclamation owns, operates, and maintains. Deferred maintenance and repairs are defined as maintenance and repairs that were not performed when they should have been or were scheduled to be and which are put off or delayed for a future period. The requirements set forth in this directive and standard will help Reclamation communicate with operating partners on the type of information that would be useful in managing Reclamation assets. <P> The Reclamation Manual is used to establish Reclamation requirements, assign program responsibility, and establish and document Reclamation methods of doing business. <P> This Reclamation Manual update is available for review at: <a href=""></a>. <P> Comments or questions may be directed to Sita Egan at Comments must be received by Reclamation by September 1, 2016. <P> Presidential Management Fellows Program Fulfills Bureau of Reclamation Employee’s Dream to Work in Public Service
Inspired by many, Daniel Drucker of Coral Springs, Florida, says he knew as a teenager that he would one day work as a public servant. But what he didn’t know way back then was that a prestigious program created three decades ago by an Executive Order would fulfill his passion. That program is the <a href=" ">Presidential Management Fellows </a>(PMF), administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. <P> Drucker is a 2015 PMF Finalist. To become a Finalist the applicant must participate in an arduous, multi-phase process. He or she must earn their place in the program by demonstrating their leadership ability and potential. Each year, candidates apply for the prestigious title of PMF Finalists, but only selected finalists are eligible for appointment as Fellows. <P> Drucker launched his public service career in May 2016, as an Appropriations Analyst with the Commissioner’s Office at the Bureau of Reclamation, Washington, District of Columbia. He is supervised by Bureau of Reclamation Program Analyst Randyl Gessel and is mentored by Bureau of Reclamation Chief of Congressional Affairs Ann Adler. <P> "Daniel has launched into his new post with tremendous enthusiasm,” Adler said. “Reclamation is benefiting from his apparent thirst to learn and desire to take on new challenges that are welcome and valuable qualities for anyone interested in public service work." <P> “I believe Daniel is a representative of the caliber and sheer exuberance of PMF hires,” Gressel said. “He is eager to learn everything he can about Reclamation and our relationship with Congress. His skills mesh perfectly with the goals and mission of Reclamation, and his personality is such that he is genuinely fun to be around.” <P> Drucker first became interested in government service during his senior year at Northeast High School, Oakland Park, Florida, while interning with Broward County’s Homeless Initiative Partnership. His mentor, Michael Wright, inspired him to pursue a career in government service. <P> After high school, Drucker studied political science and economics at the University of Miami (UM), Florida, focusing on international issues. It was at UM where he met Professor Bradford McGuinn, who has a doctorate in Middle Eastern and Security Studies, and became inspired by the professor to pursue a <a href="">Fulbright U.S. Student Program </a>grant and travel to the Republic of Turkey. <P> The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, named after Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, is the largest international exchange program affiliated with the U.S. government. It operates in more than 140 countries and awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study. Through this program, recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals can conduct international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. <P> After completing his Bachelor of Business Administration at UM, Drucker accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to Nevsehir University in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. During his time overseas he also served as a speechwriter for <a href="">G20 Turkey</a>, primarily writing about business and economic issues for the Head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Rifat Hisarciklioglu. Drucker also wrote for former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and businessman Ali Yildirim Koç. <P> After completing the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Drucker traveled to the United Kingdom to pursue a Master of Business Administration at Merton College, Oxford. Drucker was presented in 2014 with two <a href="">BNY Mellon Achievement Awards</a> by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, for his contributions to the academic community. After graduating from Oxford, Drucker heard about the PMF program through a former classmate and applied thereafter. After a months-long application process, he was named a 2015 Finalist for the PMF program. <P> Drucker received multiple PMF offers but decided on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. “I chose Interior because there were a lot more responsibilities,” Drucker says. “This was one of the most substantive PMF positions available. I liked the fact that there’s an infrastructure component and a congressional component to the position.” <P> So far he has learned a lot at Reclamation. “I’ve learned about what Reclamation does in the western U.S. I had somewhat of an idea what Reclamation’s purpose was, but in being here, I have really come to understand the pivotal role it plays,” Drucker said. “I am learning about the Bureau’s mission and its projects — how the system of dams work and how they generate power —and how the Bureau tries to balance the needs of the environment with the needs of the local populations.” <P> For a kid who was always interested in the government, it is no surprise to find out that Drucker is overjoyed with his new life and career here in the District of Columbia. He says he looks forward to learning more with Reclamation, undertaking more professional courses, and eventually doing a job rotation, perhaps on Capitol Hill. <P> “I’ve already been around several congressional hearings and meetings, and I have become very familiar with Capitol Hill,” Drucker said. “My number one goal is to continue to learn about Congress and to continue to get a better understanding of how it works—what motivates people—and how to most effectively do policymaking through the legislative branch in connection with the executive branch. Beyond that, I also hope to continue to learn more about infrastructure and its budgeting, as I think that is incredibly useful knowledge.” <P> “I feel a lot more knowledgeable about government today than I did just a few months ago,” Drucker said. Furthermore, “I also genuinely, thoroughly enjoy working with the people here at Reclamation. We have an intensely intelligent and dedicated staff,” he added. <P> His supervisors and peers say the feelings are mutual. “Often in the morning, Daniel comes in with a ready statement for the day such as, “I’m going to have a very productive day today!” or something similar,” Gressel said. “Then Daniel takes every step necessary to ensure that is precisely the kind of day he will have!” <P> “Daniel's enthusiasm and positive attitude is a real asset to Reclamation and is contagious, it emanates down the hallways and provides us all with inspiration to become better workers,” Mid-Pacific Regional Liaison Harry Horner said. <P> “I want to continue to take on new roles and responsibilities that will enable me to help people in a direct and substantive way," Drucker said. "That’s why I pursued a career in public service in the first place.” <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Employees and Customer Service Teams Received 2016 Federal Customer Service Awards from Interior
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López recognized two Bureau of Reclamation employees and two customer service teams on July 4, 2016, during the Federal Customer Service Awards ceremony at the Main Interior Building, Washington, District of Columbia. <P> Jesus Reynoso and Rain Emerson, both from Reclamation offices in the Mid-Pacific Region, had received individual awards. Water Project Coordinators, a group of 18 employees within the Provo Area Office, Utah, and the Acquisition and Assistance Leadership Team, a group of 10 employees from various Reclamation offices, had received Customer Service Initiative Awards. <P> “Customer service positions are not easy because they require patience, empathy, knowledge of the organization, and consistency,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. “Our customer service employees and teams have direct interactions with our customers and our own people, so they are the ones whom people will think about when they think about Reclamation. They are the voices and the faces of this government agency.” <P> “That said, I am very proud of our customer service employees,” López said. “They care about the public and our people and receiving this award is a direct reflection of their commitment to excellence.” <P> Federal Customer Service Awards are non-monetary awards that highlight the efforts of individuals and initiatives that have direct engagement with the agency's customers or demonstrate a direct beneficial impact on customers as a result of their work. Recipients must demonstrate a strong commitment to public service through their work, be well regarded in terms of their general integrity, and display values appropriate as a role model. <P> Every year the Department of the Interior awards up to 50 individuals with this distinction and then nominates two winners for the President’s Customer Service Award. <P> The 2016 Customer Service Awards Individual Award winners from Reclamation: <P> <ul><li>Jesus Reynoso was honored and recognized for working closely with project stakeholders to improve the process for setting water rates for the Central Valley Project (CVP), California. The CVP is the largest water project within the United States—delivering water to more than 250 project contractors and water districts. Reynoso has extensive knowledge of the CVP and has used his knowledge and cost accounting skills to develop and continually refine a process for setting water rates to recover the federal investment by 2030.</li> <P> <li>Rain Emerson was honored and recognized for her part in finding solutions to customers’ project needs. She improved collaboration during the environmental review process, especially when faced with high-priority drought projects and expedited timelines. Emerson expedited projects that transferred and exchanged the limited amounts of water that were available in 2015 for the San Joaquin River Basin, California. She also collaborated with project proponents to complete multiple projects—often using her knowledge of environmental law, regulation, policy, and guidance to South Central California Area Office. She consistently listens to customer concerns and has improved internal coordination between regional offices and their personnel.</li></ul> <P> Customer Service Award initiatives are often the result of the contributions of many, but are driven by a limited number of dedicated individuals. As such, an Initiative Award is presented to a limited number of named recipients whose individual contributions are recognized as the most significant to the initiative's success. <P> The Initiative Award can also recognize the contributions of a broader set of teams and organizations that supported the initiative and contributed to its success. The named recipients should be those whose day-to-day work was most critical to the initiative, not necessarily the head of the office or organization. <P> The 2016 Customer Service Awards Initiative Award winners from Reclamation: <P> <ul><li>Water Project Coordinators were honored for serving as the single point of contact for the 18 water projects within the jurisdiction of the Provo Area Office, Utah. Their accomplishments include monitoring tasks, projects and issues, coordinating efforts among personnel; resolving project issues, and ensuring the Provo Area Office received sufficient funding and other resources to meet future needs of an assigned water project. They also networked with stakeholders, developed a vision for how an assigned project could contribute to future water, environmental, power and recreational needs, and coordinated efforts between a water entity and Provo Area Office management.</li> <P> <li>Acquisition and Assistance Leadership Team was honored for developing a process that improved service delivery. The team communicated with Reclamation customers to develop and issue an all-employee customer service survey. Once completed, the team analyzed the results to identify common areas for improvement, and then developed a three-year plan based on the analysis to improve service delivery. The plan resulted in a suite of improvements all across the regions.</li></ul> <P> The Department of the Interior uses guidance from the Federal Customer Service Awards program to recognize customer service excellence throughout the agency. This awards program supports the government-wide Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority Goal and the April 2011 Executive Order 13571 – Streamlining Service delivery and Improving Customer Service. <P> The Office of the Secretary administers Interior’s Federal Customer Service Awards, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Capital oversees the selection and review of nominations for the Secretary of the Interior's Customer Service Awards. Reclamation would like to congratulate this year’s winners. <P> For more information on Interior's Federal Customer Service Awards ceremony visit <a href=""></a>, or see more photographs on flickr at <a href=""></a> <P> <img src="" alt=" Interior Sally Jewell and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López with Jesus Reynoso" width="800"> <p><small>Interior Sally Jewell, Jesus Reynoso (middle), and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. Reynoso had received the 2016 Customer Service Awards Individual Award. </small></p> <P> <img src="" alt="Interior Sally Jewell, Rain Emerson, and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. Emerson had received the 2016 Customer Service Awards Individual Award." width="800"> <p><small>Interior Sally Jewell, Rain Emerson, and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. Emerson had received the 2016 Customer Service Awards Individual Award.</small></p> <P> <img src="" alt="Interior Sally Jewell and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López with the Water Project Coordinators, which received the 2016 Customer Service Awards Initiative Award." width="800"> <p><small>Interior Sally Jewell and Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López with 2016 Customer Service Awards Initiative Award winners the Water Project Coordinators.</small></p> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Selects Winners of Prize Competition Seeking Methods to Quantify Drift Invertebrates in River and Estuary Systems
WASHINGTON – Quantifying the vital food supply for threatened and endangered fish has been complicated for scientists. But that may be changing. Through a Bureau of Reclamation prize competition, five ideas were selected that have merit and may lead to breakthroughs quantifying the drift invertebrates in river and estuary systems. <P> "Drift invertebrates are insects that drift through rivers and estuaries and are the basic building blocks in a river ecosystem," Commissioner Estevan López said. "Knowing and understanding how these food sources are impacted by habitat changes will help biologists in the recovery and management of threatened and endangered fish species." <P> The two top-ranked solutions were submitted by Edem Tsikata, Ph.D. Tsikata has a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University and is currently working as a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. His top ranked solution proposed using commercially available digital holographic imaging equipment with modifications that would enable successful identification and quantification of invertebrates in rivers and estuary environments. This was the only submission meeting all the solution technical requirements stated in the prize competition. A team of federal researchers are now considering approaches to further develop, scale-up and test this concept. <P> Tsikata's second place solution proposed using high resolution sonar. Although not readily apparent that this solution could meet all the stated technical requirements, it demonstrated sufficient merit for Reclamation to further explore how it can make this concept work. He will receive $17,500 for submitting the two ideas. The ideas will be further explored and tested by Reclamation and other federal government entities. <P> Other solutions identified to have sufficient merit to be awarded prizes include: <P> <ul> <li>Matt Vaillancourt submitted a design for an examination chamber where water could be collected and processed with the capability to electronically identify and quantify the various drift invertebrates in the water. A $5,000 prize has been awarded to secure a license that will allow the federal government to further develop, test and use this concept. Vaillancourt has a degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University with an emphasis in mechatronics and is now working on projects that integrate complimentary technologies such as microcomputers, motion control, and 3D modeling.</li> <li>Ted Ground submitted a design for a continuous sampling device that uses air bubbles to lift and concentrate invertebrates at the water surface where imaging and cataloging could occur with an array of cameras. Mr. Ground has also received a $5,000 prize to secure a license that will allow the federal government to further develop, test and use this concept. Ground has a Master of Science degree in Aquatic Biology from Texas State University and is currently an independent technical consultant working on a wide variety of aquaculture, water quality and natural resources related projects.</li> <li>Michael May, Ph.D., proposed using an array of lensless cameras to search a volume of water backlit by a commercial flat-panel display. Lensless camera technology is low cost and has an infinite depth of focus. The federal government also secured a license to further develop, test and use this concept by awarding May a $2,500 prize. May earned his Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University and is currently the president of the technology and strategy consulting firm Dana Point Analytics.</li> </ul> <P> The prize competition requested concept papers for new and improved methods and the theory behind the methods proposed. A total of 24 solutions were submitted for evaluation. A panel of federal fish biologists, ecologists and scientists from Reclamation and other collaborating agency experts evaluated the proposed solutions. <P> Reclamation collaborated with other agencies that have considerable interest in quantifying drift invertebrates including the NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. To learn more about this and other prize competitions by the Reclamation, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Employees Participate in Bike To Work Day in Denver-Boulder Metro Area
The annual, Denver-Boulder Metro Area Bike to Work Day event was again a success at Reclamation's Denver Office on June 22. The weather on event day was good, and participants enjoyed the benefits of fresh air, exercise and not being stuck behind the wheel of a car on their commute to work that day! <P> Participants rode a wide range distances on their commute, but the "King of Commuters" award for this year, far and away goes to Greg Eddy of the TSC's Geotechnical Services Division. Greg rode 137 miles round trip from his home in Fort Collins, to Building 67, with a total ride time of almost 9 hours! <P> Also a success. was the annual Bike to Work Day lunch time ride to Chipotle Restaurant on Union Avenue. The ride and the lunch were a great chance for participants to get to know each other and have some fun! <P> <img src="" alt="Reclamation employees participating in Bike to Work Day." width="100%"> <P> Reclamation is Seeking Non-Federal Partners to Help Launch Prize Competitions
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking non-federal partners to join with Reclamation and other federal agencies on prize competitions to solve critical water and water-related issues. Several prize competitions may involve solving issues related to water availability, aquatic ecosystem protection and restoration, and sustaining water and water-related infrastructure. <P> Prize competitions bring many people together from diverse backgrounds to focus on solutions for difficult problems. Large competitions, also known as grand challenges, typically use online crowd sourcing platforms for conducting initial rounds of competition, but culminate with prototype demonstrations in laboratory or field based tests. Reclamation anticipates conducting multiple partnered competitions over the next several years and is looking for a mix of partners to work with on these competitions. <P> More information is available by going to and searching solicitation number <a href="">R16PS01376</a>. To learn more about Reclamation’s Water Prize Competition Center, please visit <a href=""></a>. If you have any questions, please email <P> All federally sponsored prize competitions are posted on <a href=""></a>. Recently, celebrated its fifth anniversary. is a historic effort by the federal government to collaborate with 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 such—in more than 700 challenges, with topics ranging from accelerating the deployment of solar energy, to combating breast cancer, to increasing resilience after Hurricane Sandy. <P> <P> <P> Bureau of Reclamation Selects Twenty-one Projects to Receive $2.93 Million to Study Water Treatment Technologies
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López today announced $2.93 million in funding for water treatment technologies research. This funding is being provided through the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program for the development of new water treatment technologies and Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for research into the deployment of new technologies that supports the expansion of water technologies in new locations. <P> "In a number of Western river basins, Reclamation and its partners are seeing demands for water exceed traditional supplies," Commissioner López said. "Funding research into new water treatment technologies will expand the number of water supply resource options." <P> The Desalination and Water Purification Research Program will provide $1.78 million for nine lab-scale and three pilot-scale projects. This program supports the development of new advanced water treatment technologies. Up to $150,000 will be provided for research and laboratory studies that must be completed within a year and up to $200,000 per year for pilot-scale projects that must be completed within two years. <P> For example, the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, will receive $143,869 to study approaches to increase technical feasibility of using membrane distillation for desalinating high-concentration brines, brackish waters, produced waters and seawater. <P> The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program will provide $1.15 million to help fund nine projects in the Western United States. This program helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities. <P> For example, the City of San Angelo, Texas, will use $300,000 of federal funding and $1,094,849 of non-federal funding to perform pilot-scale testing to assess existing water treatment technologies for a direct potable reuse project. The proposed research will evaluate approaches to maximize water recovery, verify the performance of advanced water treatment processes, and assess the viability of reverse osmosis concentrate disposal using deep injection wells at an inland location. <P> A complete list of the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program projects can be found at <a href=""></a>. A complete list of Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program projects can be found at <a href=""></a>. <P> The funding provided today supports the <a href="">White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation</a>. The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program also supports the Department of the Interior's <a href="">WaterSMART Program</a>. <P> Eleven Organizations to Establish or Further Develop Cooperative Watershed Management Groups in the West
WASHINGTON – Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López announced $876,565 in funding through the WaterSMART Program for eleven projects that will establish or further develop watershed management groups. Those groups are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon. <P> “Reclamation supports the efforts of cooperative watershed management groups as a means to reduce conflict in the management of the West’s water and power resources,” Commissioner López said. “Collaboration is the key to improved health and resilience in these watersheds.” <P> Through WaterSMART’s Cooperative Watershed Management Program (CWMP), Reclamation provides financial assistance to locally-led watershed groups to encourage diverse stakeholders to form local solutions to water management needs. By providing this funding, Reclamation aims to promote the sustainable use of water resources and improve the condition of rivers and streams through water conservation, improved water quality and ecological resilience, and with support of collaborative conservation efforts that aim to reduce conflicts over water management. <P> Four entities will receive $303,921 to establish a cooperative watershed management group: <ul> <li>Shadowcliff, a non-profit organization, will receive $100,000 to establish the Upper Colorado River Watershed Group (Colorado)</li> <li>Upper Rio Grande Watershed District will receive $50,000 to establish a cooperative watershed management group (New Mexico)</li> <li>Chickasaw Nation will receive $53,921 to establish the Lake of the Arbuckles Watershed Group (Oklahoma)</li> <li>Walla Walla Watershed Council will receive $100,000 to establish the Walla Walla Basin Watershed Management Group (Oregon)</li> </ul> <P> Seven entities will receive $572,644 to further develop a cooperative watershed management group: <ul> <li>Clean Colorado River Sustainability Coalition will receive $80,700 for the Watershed Expansion & Management Project (Arizona)</li> <li>Tse Si Ani Chapter will receive $100,000 for Working Across Tribal Borders: Restoring the Black Mesa Watersheds Together (Arizona)</li> <li>Sierra Streams Institute will receive $99,933 for Further Development of Bear River Watershed Group (California)</li> <li>Trinity County Resource Conservation District will receive $100,000 for Trinity River Watershed Council Expansion (California)</li> <li>Beaverhead Conservation District will receive $100,000 for Further Development of the Beaverhead Watershed Committee (Montana)</li> <li>Petroleum County Conservation District will receive $61,011 for Expanding Efforts to Coordinate Watershed Planning in the Musselshell River Watershed (Montana)</li> <li>Sun River Watershed Group will receive $31,000 for Revise Work Plan to Build Long-Term Resiliency of the Sun River Watershed (Montana)</li> </ul> <P> Learn more about the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program and see descriptions on how the selected groups will use the funding, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> 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> Interior, USDA Announce More Than $47 Million in Investments for Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Drought Response & Agriculture Operations Across the West
BRIGHTON, Colo. – The U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture today announced more than $47 million in investments to help water districts and producers on private working lands better conserve water resources. The funds include $15 million in USDA funds and $32.6 million from the Bureau of Reclamation for local projects to improve water and energy efficiency and provide a strengthened federal response to ongoing and potential drought across 13 states in the West. <P> Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding in Brighton, Colo. Reclamation funding will support 76 local projects through the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART program. Funding from USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will support on-farm water delivery system improvements through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in association with the Interior-funded projects. López and Vilsack were joined by a local water authority and landowner who spoke about the importance of the federal funding in the cost share program. <P> “By working with communities and producers to more wisely manage the water they have, we help ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, agriculture, economic activities, recreation, and ecosystem health,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “As drought continues across the west, our farmers and ranchers are stepping up to the plate to partner with communities and strengthen efficiency to better conserve our water supply.” <P> “Water and energy efficiency are intricately linked,” Commissioner López said. “When we conserve water, we also conserve the energy it takes to move it. One way we can achieve these efficiencies is to bring federal resources to the table for local projects that focus on saving water. This program represents one more way we’re focusing resources on projects to provide resiliency in the face of drought.” <P> Interior’s funding is made available through competitive grant programs, which are part of the WaterSMART sustainable water initiative. The grants and selection process are managed by Reclamation, which is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier, providing one in five western farmers with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland and potable water to more than 31 million Americans across 17 western states. <P> Of the 76 new projects announced today, Reclamation has selected 53 projects in 11 states to receive a total of $25.6 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants which, when leveraged with local and other funding sources, will complete more than $128 million in efficiency improvements. In addition to the new grants announced today, Reclamation will provide $2.1 million to support previously selected WaterSMART projects. Together, these projects are expected to enable water savings of more than 123,000 acre-feet. More details on the program and projects announced today can be found on the WaterSMART <a href="">Water and Energy Efficiency Grants website</a>. <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, carry out activities to address climate-related impacts on water, or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict. <P> Alongside the 53 Water and Energy Efficiency Grants, Reclamation also selected 23 additional cost share grants through its WaterSMART Drought Response Program totaling $4.9 million, which, when leveraged with cost-share funding, will provide a total of $23.5 million in efforts associated with the program. More detail on the program and the projects announced today can be found on the <a href="">Drought Response Program website</a>. <P> Through its EQIP program, NRCS is investing $5.2 million in on-farm assistance to complement several projects previously funded by Reclamation, and will provide an additional $10 million in 2017 to support some of the WaterSMART-funded projects announced today. NRCS complements WaterSMART investments by targeting assistance in areas where WaterSMART sponsors indicted that water delivery system improvements might facilitate future on-farm improvements. NRCS will work with producers in select WaterSMART project areas to offer financial and technical assistance for practices that increase on-farm efficiencies, such as improving irrigation systems. <P> USDA works with private landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that conserve and clean the water we drink. USDA support—leveraged with historic outside investments—boosts producer incomes and rewards them for their good work. At the same time, USDA investments have brought high quality water and waste services to rural communities, which are vital to their continued health and economic viability. For information on USDA’s drought mitigation efforts, visit <a href="">USDA Drought Programs and Assistance</a>. To learn more about how NRCS is helping private landowners adapt to changing climate conditions including drought, visit the <a href="">NRCS’ drought resources</a>.  <P> This partnership is a priority action identified in the President’s Memorandum <a href="">Building National Capabilities for Long-Term Drought Resilience</a> and accompanying the <a href="">Federal Drought Action Plan</a>. USDA, as the permanent co-chair, is working with DOI and other members of the National Drought Resilience Partnership to better coordinate drought-related programs and policies, help communities reduce the impact of current drought events and prepare for future droughts. <P> Bureau of Reclamation Seeks Innovative Water Treatment Prototypes and Pilot Scale Projects
WASHINGTON – A new funding opportunity is now available from the Bureau of Reclamation seeking innovative water treatment prototypes and pilot-scale projects that are ready to test with real water. Through this funding opportunity Reclamation is supporting President Obama’s vision for promoting and investing in breakthrough technologies for water resources, building on the White House Roundtable on Water Innovation in December 2015. <P> Through these projects, Reclamation is seeking to to reduce the costs, energy requirements, and environmental impacts of treating impaired and unusable waters, in order to build new water supplies and support the drought stricken West. <P> The screening of applications will be done in two phases. In the first phase, the review will be completed by an application review committee and the applications will be ranked. A select group of applications will be selected to move on to the second phase. Those applicants will be invited to the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to present their proposals. A panel will rank the final group of applications. <P> Those eligible to apply for this funding announcement include: individuals, institutions of higher education, commercial or industrial organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private entities, public entities (including state and local), or Indian Tribal Governments. Federal government entities are not eligible to apply. <P> Reclamation will provide up to $100,000 per project. It anticipates selecting one to three projects under this funding opportunity. No cost-share is required but it is highly recommended. <P> This funding opportunity is being funded by Reclamation's Science and Technology Program. Through this program, Reclamation is forming partnerships with private industry, universities, water utilities, and others to address a need for innovative new technologies and processes in the area of water treatment. <P> This funding opportunity is available on by searching for <a href="">funding opportunity announcement number BOR-DO-16-015</a>. Applications are due on July 27, 2016. To learn more about the science and technology program, please visit <P> <P> Interior Department Announces $30 Million for Water Reuse and Reclamation Projects in California
WASHINGTON – Today, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor announced more than $30 million in funding through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program for seven projects that will provide clean water to California communities and promote water and energy efficiency. Today’s announcement comes ahead of the Deputy Secretary’s trip to California next week where he will participate in meetings regarding Bay-Delta water issues. <P> “With California in its fifth year of drought, these investments will build resilience for local communities struggling with limited water supplies – an effort that is more important than ever as the dangers of drought escalate in the face of climate change,” Deputy Secretary Connor said. “Using the best available science and technology to improve the growing disparity between water supplies and demand, this funding will help local water managers stretch dwindling resources.” <P> The Bureau of Reclamation identifies and investigates opportunities to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and naturally impaired ground and surface water in western states and Hawaii. Title XVI funding is in place for the planning, design, and construction of water recycling and reuse projects, on a project-specific basis. <P> The selected projects are: <P> <ul> <li><strong>City of Corona Water Recycling and Reuse Project</strong>, Corona Comprehensive Reclaimed Water Conversion, Phase 1 - $4 million</li> <li><strong>San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program</strong>, Pure Water San Diego Program - $5 million</li> <li><strong>Eastern Municipal Water District Recycled Water System</strong>, Recycled Water System Pressurized and Expansion Project - $1,222,164</li> <li><strong>Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project</strong>, Chino Desalter Phase 3 Expansion Project - $7.2 million</li> <li><strong>San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program</strong>, Padre Dam Water Recycling Facilities – Phase 1 Expansion - $4.5 million</li> <li><strong>Sonoma County Water Agency</strong>, North Bay Water Reuse Program - $4,706,150</li> <li><strong>San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program</strong>, Sweetwater Authority Water Reclamation Project - $3.7 million</li> </ul> <P> To learn more about these projects, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with a new source of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. In that time, approximately $629 million in federal funding through the Title XVI program has been leveraged with nonfederal funding to implement more than $3 billion in water reuse improvements. <P> Title XVI has become an important part of the Department of the Interior's implementation of the President’s June 2013 <a href="">Climate Action Plan</a> and the Nov. 1, 2013 Executive Order, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. <P> To learn more about WaterSMART, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> <P> Reclamation Hosts Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams International Technical Seminar and Study Tour
The Bureau of Reclamation International Affairs office is hosting the 27th Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams International Technical Seminar and Study Tour. The participants will be in Denver the week of June 6 and will travel to Seattle, Washington on June 10. The tour will conclude that next week. <P> This year, 33 participants from nine countries are participating in this two week tour. Participants are coming to the United States from Brazil, Finland, Ghana, Korea, Paraguay, Sweden, India, Taiwan and Spain. <P> The first week of the seminar is in Denver, Colorado. Participants will attend classroom presentations, discussions, and a tour of Reclamation research laboratories at the Denver Federal Center. <P> The study tour will take participants to the Pacific Northwest, with site visits to Cle Elum Dam, Easton Diversion Dam, and Kachess Dam, all in the state of Washington. Participants will also visit Snoqualmie Falls. <P> The seminar is designed for managers, administrators, engineers, and geologists responsible for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and safety of dams. <P> The <a href="">International Affairs Program</a> routinely assists water resources agencies of other countries by providing reimbursable technical training and technical visitors programs for their staff. Training programs are tailored to fit each request and vary in length from one day to as long as one year, usually combining office assignments and field visits or study tours to Reclamation’s Denver, regional, and area offices. All cost involved with providing training are fully reimbursed to Reclamation. <P> <img src="" alt="Reclamation's Dan Knox answering a question to the SEED Seminar" width="75%"><br /> <small>Reclamation's Dan Knox answering a question during the SEED Seminar in Denver, Colorado.</small> <P> <P> <P> 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>