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Reclamation Commissioner John Keys Honored by ASCE

Media Contact: Kip White, (202) 513-0684,

For Release: November 14, 2003

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has awarded one of its highest honors, the Civil Government Award, to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John Keys. The award, presented at ASCE's Annual Conference held in Nashville, Tenn., recognizes Keys for "his ability, as Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to combine technical expertise with interpersonal skills to find innovative ways to balance competing interests, substantially raising the profile of the engineering profession."

Commenting on Keys nomination as Commissioner more than two years ago, Robert Bein, then ASCE president, recognized Keys' "outstanding reputation for integrity and for being able to develop coalitions and mutually satisfying solutions to water challenges." As commissioner, Keys oversees the operation and maintenance of Reclamation's water storage, water distribution, and electric power generation facilities in the 17 Western States.

Keys spent his entire 36-year professional career working with Reclamation throughout the western United States. From 1964 to 1979, he worked as a civil and hydraulic engineer, gaining valuable experience on issues related to the Great Basin , the Missouri River Basin , the Colorado River Basin , and the Columbia River Basin . In 1998, he retired from federal service, after serving as Pacific Northwest regional director for the previous 12 years. In 1995, Keys was awarded Interior's highest honor - the Distinguished Service Award - for maintaining open lines of communication and keeping interest groups focused on solutions.

"It is always a special tribute to be recognized by your peers and I deeply appreciate receiving this honor," Keys said. "I have watched Reclamation and the West change throughout the years and have always tried to use my engineering background to find innovative ways to meet and balance the competing water and power needs of the region."

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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.