News Release Archive

Reclamation Releases Final Oxbow Site Management Plan

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212,
Tanya Sommer, (503) 872-2846,

For Release: January 14, 2008

The Bureau of Reclamation has completed the Oxbow Site Management Plan that will work as a guiding document for incremental progress toward benefiting fisheries and other natural resources on a 222-acre parcel located on the east bank of Umatilla River in Hermiston, Ore.

Reclamation purchased the Oxbow property in 2000 as part of a comprehensive anadromous fishery restoration program in the Umatilla River basin. The program implemented a series of water exchanges in which Columbia River water is pumped and delivered for use in the Umatilla basin by irrigation districts in exchange for allowing Umatilla River water to benefit aquatic habitat. The purchase also allowed Reclamation to acquire water rights and property on the site to improve fish habitat.

Reclamation's multi-year planning effort involved public input to evaluate the best uses for the site which included a strong desire for the property to be managed to protect natural and cultural resources, while also allowing public access for certain uses. The final plan is the outcome of the feedback Reclamation received from the community. The level of use and types of activities that are permissible at the Oxbow site are limited to those that are compatible with restoration and protection of resources.

The Site Management Plan summarizes Reclamation's vision and goals for the Oxbow site. The goals include protecting and improving habitat, cold water resources, native riparian vegetation, and public access for compatible recreation activities such as walking and wildlife viewing.

As funding permits, data collection efforts will guide and clarify suggested future projects. An adaptive management approach will ensure data and information will be incorporated into future efforts.

The plan is available on the internet at Paper copies of the plan are available upon request by contacting Tanya Sommer, Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 750, Portland OR 97232. For questions about use of the site please contact the Michael Bommer, Umatilla Field Office Manager at (541) 564-8616.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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