News Release Archive

Bureau of Reclamation Launches Prize Competition Seeking Ideas to Protect Canals, Levees and Earthen Dam Embankments from Burrowing Rodents

Rodent burrows can weaken embankments and cause serious or fatal issues and economic loss to populations that live nearby

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: August 29, 2016

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition seeking methods to prevent rodents from burrowing into canals, levees and earthen dam embankments. Winners of this prize competition will share $20,000.

Rodents can burrow through both sides of an embankment providing a pathway for water to move through and erode the embankment, potentially causing serious issues for the surrounding communities. Burrows may also intersect and expose other anomalies in the embankment that may also result in a failure of the embankment. Rodents include squirrels, badgers, moles, muskrats, mice and beavers.

Reclamation is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources Dam Safety Division, federal canal operating entities including the Boise Project Board of Control and the South Columbia Basin Irrigation District, to design and judge this competition.

To register and learn more about Reclamation’s prize competitions, visit To learn more about Reclamation’s Water Prize Competition Center, visit

Recently, celebrated its fifth anniversary. is a historic effort by the federal government to collaborate with members of the public through incentive prizes to address the most pressing local, national and global challenges. True to the spirit of President Obama's charge from his first day in office, federal agencies have collaborated with more than 200,000 citizen solvers—entrepreneurs, citizen scientists, students and more—in more than 440 challenges on topics ranging from accelerating the deployment of solar energy to combating breast cancer to increasing resilience after Hurricane Sandy.

# # #

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.