Brent Esplin named Regional Director for Missouri Basin Region for Reclamation

Media Contact: Linda Friar, 202-513-0544,

For Release: June 08, 2020

Brent Esplin
Brent Esplin
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman named Brent C. Esplin as regional director for the Missouri Basin (Interior Region 5) and Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas Gulf (Interior Region 6), which collectively are the largest and most ecologically diverse regions in Reclamation.

Esplin will move into this position June 21, 2020, where he will provide leadership for the management, development and protection of water and related resources across nine states. This includes 80 Reclamation reservoirs, 20 powerplants and 93 recreational areas that host more than 14 million visitors each year. Reclamation facilities in the region deliver water to rural and urban communities, providing drinking water to more than three million people, in addition to irrigating more than two million acres of agriculture. This complex region which is inclusive of nine western states has an annual appropriated budget of approximately $180 million and a workforce of 650 employees.

“Brent Esplin has been a key leader in western water and power for more than two decades,” said Commissioner Burman. “His experience will be crucial in the large Missouri Basin and Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas Gulf Regions as we wrestle with complex issues such as aging infrastructure, work with multiple stakeholder partnerships and develop innovative approaches to secure and protect life-sustaining water resources.”

Esplin has more than 20 years of service with the Bureau of Reclamation, most recently serving as Upper Colorado Basin Regional Director; prior to that position he served as Deputy Regional Director for the Upper Colorado Basin. He also served as Area Manager for Reclamation’s Montana Area Office in Billings, Montana; Deputy Area Manager for the Phoenix Area Office in Arizona; and Deputy Area Manager for the Nebraska-Kansas Area Office in McCook, Nebraska. His years of experience include successfully addressing complex water supply and hydropower production issues; working with endangered species recovery programs; implementing American Indian water rights settlements; overseeing important facility construction, upgrades and safety of dam improvements; and collaborating on key river compact issues across multiple western river systems. Esplin first joined Reclamation in 1997 as a civil engineer in the Montana Area Office.

A native of Smithfield, Utah, Esplin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering, both from Utah State University.

The current Regional Director, Michael S. Black, is retiring after a distinguished 33-year career in federal service. Mr. Black served in senior leadership positions for both the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Reclamation. “Mike Black has done an outstanding job in leading the Missouri Basin and Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas Gulf regions through many complex and sometimes controversial issues,” said Commissioner Brenda Burman. “I wish Mike the best in his retirement.”

Mike Black
Mike Black

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