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Reclamation awards $2.6 million for Western communities to establish or expand watershed groups

Communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming will receive funding

Media Contact: Rob Manning 202-513-0554 rmanning@usbr.gov
For Release: Jun 15, 2021

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $2.6 million to 27 communities in the Western United States to establish or expand existing watershed management groups through WaterSMART's Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Each group is eligible for up to $50,000 a year for two years with no federal cost-share required.

"This program encourages cooperation among diverse stakeholders to develop local solutions for their water management needs," said Chief Engineer David Raff. "Local groups working together is the only way where we can develop sustainable water management solutions for Western communities."

A watershed group is a self-sustaining, non-regulatory, consensus-based group composed of a diverse array of stakeholders. It comprises but is not limited to private property owners, non-profit organizations, federal, state, or local agencies, and tribes. The group can use the funding to develop bylaws, a mission statement, complete stakeholder outreach, develop a watershed restoration plan, and watershed management project design.

Four communities in Alaska and Hawaii will receive funding to establish or expand an existing watershed management group. These two states became eligible to receive funding in 2019.

• The Chugach Regional Resources Commission, a tribal consortium, will receive $99,985 to establish the Kachemak Bay Watershed Collaborative in Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula of Southcentral Alaska. The collaborative will complete outreach activities to build a diverse stakeholder membership, gather information on current conditions of the watershed through literature research and partnerships with federal agencies, and outline a restoration plan.

• The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition and Metlakatla Indian Community Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive $99,978 to establish the Metlakatla Watershed Advisory Group for Annette Island in Southeast Alaska. They will complete stakeholder outreach and engagement, develop a restoration plan for the Metlakatla watershed, and complete design plans to restore Lower Nadzaheen Creek.

• Kenai Watershed Forum, located on the Kenai Peninsula of Southcentral Alaska, will receive $99,172 to identify ongoing and emerging critical water quality issues, determine high-priority challenges at the community level, and provide a roadmap for future management solutions.

• The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Muana Kahalawai Watershed Partnership will develop a detailed native forest protection plan focused on fencing across approximately 20,000 acres on the eastern half of the West Maui Mountains on Maui, Hawaii.

To read the full descriptions of all 27 projects and learn more about the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, please visit www.usbr.gov/watersmart/cwmp.

Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities to plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit www.usbr.gov/watersmart to learn more.

The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR

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