WASHINGTON – Commissioner Michael L. Connor joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in commending Reclamation employees who were recipients of the Department of the Interior’s 2013 Partners in Conservation Award. Recognized today were the Minute 319 Bi-National Partnership and the Cultural Resources Team of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership.
“I am proud to recognize these outstanding partners – including many Reclamation employees – for their dedication and hard work to achieve the goals of their respective programs,” Connor said. “The significance of these awards cannot be overstated. From an historic agreement on the Colorado River between Mexico and the United States to a multi-agency endeavor to preserve cultural history, these types of partnerships demonstrate the model by which Reclamation will successfully do business as we move to the future.”
Minute 319 Bi-National Partnership
For decades, environmental and water supply concerns over the Colorado River have been the subjects of controversy, dispute, and litigation along the U.S.-Mexico border. After years of intense negotiation, a historic partnership agreement, “Minute 319,” has been touted as one of the most innovative negotiated agreements between nations to include environmental river flows. Signed in November 2012, Minute 319 provides the authority and framework under the 1944 Water Treaty to implement actions under consideration by multiple administrations dating back to the late 1990s. This implementing agreement was only possible with the partnership of the Colorado River Basin states, water users and environmental organizations in both countries, and it provides a unique example of cooperation for other basins worldwide.
Cultural Resources Team of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership
The Cultural Resources Team of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership raises awareness of, and respect for, the historical significance of local history and tribal culture. Among its accomplishments, the Team surveyed more than 20,000 acres of federal lands, recorded more than 500 cultural resource sites, and cooperatively funded an inventory of more than 1,000,000 artifacts. The Team produces outreach documents, traveling exhibits, environmental education trunks, and museum displays. In addition, they established a Southern Nevada Site Stewardship program that served as a model for a state-wide program. The Cultural Resources Team is comprised of archaeologists from five federal agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, as well as representatives from the Lost City Museum and Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.
Also included in the award recipients today were two projects in which Reclamation employees partnered with other agencies and stakeholders to enhance conservation efforts. These projects include:
Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership
Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP), of which Reclamation is a part, is a forum for collaboration among entities responsible for monitoring aquatic resources in the Pacific Northwest. Working together, they strive to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring by developing best practices for methods and design, and the management and exchange of data. PNAMP’s free web accessible tools help users discover and share data, document methods, and design and manage monitoring programs. These tools provide means for entities to collaborate to increase the quality and accessibility of data needed for program and project evaluation, and natural resource decision making. The progress and success that PNAMP has achieved in the Northwest provide a model for other parts of North America.
Restoring Threatened and Endangered Fishes of the Truckee River Watershed Partnership
At Independence Lake, threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) have been rebounding since 1997, when the U.S. Geological Survey began working with managers to protect this unique population. Since then, the average annual survival of LCT fry has almost tripled. This recovery began when USGS and partners started removing non-native predators from spawning grounds--a program supported by participation from citizens and youth. At the other end of the Truckee Watershed sits Pyramid Lake, home to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Since 1981, USGS has guided efforts of the tribe and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with Reclamation, to recover the endangered and tribally sacred Cui-ui sucker fish. The FWS identified the limiting factors and informed water allocation decisions to best meet community demands while also protecting this endangered and sacred species.
More details about all twenty of this year’s award-winning partnerships and the organizations involved can be found at: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/secretary-jewell-presents-2013-partners-in-conservation-awards.cfm.