PROVO, Utah – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Basin Region has announced Rick Baxter as the new area manager for the Provo Area Office. In his new position, Baxter will oversee water projects throughout Utah, southwestern Wyoming and a very small portion of southeast Idaho.
The Provo Area Office is responsible for 16 water projects that include 50 high hazard dams, 419 miles of canals, 613 miles of laterals, 57 miles of tunnels, 132 miles of pipelines, six powerplants, 14 pumping stations and 1,064,000 acres of acquired fee title, withdrawn, and easement lands.
“With his solid resource management and project operation and maintenance experience, Rick is well-prepared to address the water-related challenges emerging in the Provo Area Office’s service area of Utah and Wyoming.” said UCB Regional Director Wayne Pullan. “His leadership and managerial approach will enhance the capabilities of his team, enhancing the office’s legacy of partnership and collaboration.”
Baxter began his Reclamation career in 2014 as a wildlife biologist in the Provo Area Office. There he progressed in management roles as the environmental group chief, Water Environmental and Lands Division manager, and his latest role was assistant area manager. In that position, Baxter oversaw the Office Engineering Division, Water Environmental and Lands Division, and Office Administrative Division. Prior to his experience with the Provo Area Office, he worked for the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.
“I am honored for this opportunity to oversee and lead the Provo Area Office, as I go into this position with highly competent and capable staff and leadership,” said Baxter. “I look forward to building strong relationships with water user associations and districts, stakeholders and the public. It is through these relationships that the Provo Area Office will be able to manage, develop and protect the critical water and power infrastructure that serves the people of Utah, southwestern Wyoming, and southeastern Idaho despite prolonged drought or wet years.”
“During his time as assistant area manager, I have called on Rick more than once to head initiatives that required a focused effort and results in a compressed period of time,” said Pullan. “Serving as area manager will make use of his ability to quickly develop relationships of trust among those with whom he works with and to collaboratively and efficiently address issues and managed projects—all in the service of the public.”
Baxter has a doctorate in wildlife and wildlands ecology and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in wildlife and range resources — all from Brigham Young University. He was born and raised in Oregon before settling down with his family in Utah. He enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening and is also a hobby beekeeper.