Reclamation established its history program in 1988 and is focusing its energy on several activities.

Oral history has been strongly supported by Reclamation's management, and processing these oral histories for public release is the number one priority. The intent of the oral history activity is to preserve information about Reclamation that would not normally appear in Reclamation's official records. As one staff member who has read several of the interviews recently commented: "This personalizes the agency and shows the people who make it work."

One research design has been implemented for the Newlands Project in the area of Fallon, Nevada. One oral historian has interviewed about 100 people and expects to interview about 20 additional people. The objective is an all-around look at the Newlands Project as a functioning Reclamation project within a community. The project was chosen because it is a small project with a wide diversity of issues -- including legal, water rights, environmental, Native American water rights, and even groundwater issues. This research design will not be repeated for other projects. Reclamation expects to refine the results of the program by development of research designs to assure coverage of all major topics important to Reclamation, e.g., construction, water conveyance, hydraulic laboratories, electric generation and transmission, etc.


This research is intended to provide basic history background about each Reclamation project which can be used for such activities as environmental statement preparation, brief summaries for publications, briefing presentations, etc.


Reclamation's history program attempts to assist Reclamation and non-Reclamation researchers in efficient completion of research work. The experience of history program staff is provided regarding records, their location, and their uses. The historian also provides a history perspective to records management activities when consulted by the responsible offices within Reclamation.

In addition, professional meetings attended by historians interested in research on Reclamation history are routinely attended.

For more information about Reclamation's history program, please contact :

For information about the Bureau of Reclamation's History Program, please contact:

BranDee Bruce, Historian,

Joe Giliberti, FPO,


Last Updated: 11/3/23