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Yankee Fork Off-Channel Habitat Restoration Project Highlighted by Secretary Salazar as one of 51 Restoration and Recreation Projects under America’s Great Outdoors Rivers Initiative

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212

For Release: May 22, 2012

BOISE, IDAHO - Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar highlighted 10 of 51 total project, one in each state and the District of Columbia, that serve as models of the America's Great Outdoors River Initiative to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities, and support jobs in local communities.

Included in this list is the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River in Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Region.

"The Rivers Initiative is all about partnering with people and communities to protect and restore the places they cherish. We could not do this project in the Yankee Fork without landowner support," said Vince Kozakiewicz, Reclamation's Project Lead. "Reclamation has partnered with local, state, and tribal governments, other federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and landowners to develop a long-term strategy to improve the Yankee Fork so that its habitat will support salmon and steelhead, which are so important to Idaho and the Pacific Northwest."

The goals of the Rivers Initiative include protecting and restoring America's rivers for people and wildlife and enhancing river recreation that support jobs in tourism and outdoor recreation.

"This partnership is building relationships that will benefit local communities as well as fish, which is good for all of Idaho," said Mike Edmondson of the Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservation.

Of the 51 projects, nearly half expand recreational fishing and boating while others improve signage, maps, access points and other tools to enhance recreational use of rivers. Twelve projects engage youth in projects while 12 projects also support the America's Great Outdoors Urban Initiative, to enhance parks and other outdoor recreational facilities and provide outdoor education to young people in cities.

"Across the country, we are working hand in hand with states, tribes, local communities and other partners to revitalize our nation's rivers and expand the opportunities for people to fish, boat, and otherwise connect with the natural world," Salazar said. "These on-going projects demonstrate how the federal government can be an effective conservation partner for community-led efforts to improve our environment and the quality of life of residents while creating jobs in the outdoor recreation economy."

Reclamation will serve as lead on four of these projects: the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project on the Sacramento River in California; the Yankee Fork (of the Salmon River) Off-Channel Habitat Restoration in Idaho; the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails in Nevada and the San Juan River Habitat Restoration in New Mexico. Reclamation will co-lead a project in Nebraska with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Platte River Restoration and Recreation Project.

Salazar unveiled the America's Great Outdoors Rivers Initiative in January as part of President Obama's overall America's Great Outdoors initiative to work with communities across the country to establish a 21st century conservation ethic, reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world, and promote the outdoor recreation economy.

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