Natural Resources & Land Use

Protected Birds at Minidoka Reservoir

The Natural Resources Group provides a wide range of expertise in natural resource management related to activities on lands and facilities under Reclamation’s jurisdiction. The Group includes specialists in Natural Resources/Land Use, Lands Management/Realty, Outdoor Recreation, Archeology/Paleontology, and Geographical Information Services.

Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, NEPA, and Environmental Compliance - This team utilizes new and novel technologies for fish investigation and protection associated with Reclamation's water facilities and operations. They are also responsible for identifying mechanisms aimed at reducing impacts associated with Reclamation’s facility operations and for long term monitoring and reporting. This team is the environmental compliance group, capable of drafting Categorical Exclusions (CE), Environmental Assessments (EA), and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for large scale construction and rehabilitation projects. Their expertise enables them to provide research program planning, management, and execution, as well as technical assistance.

Lands and Realty Services - The Lands Team provides expertise in land use and resource management. Reclamation closely monitors activities occurring on lands under its jurisdiction, and typically, the public must apply for use of Reclamation land, facilities, and waterbodies. Consideration of applications to use Reclamation land, facilities, or waterbodies is discretionary and Reclamation reserves the right to refuse authorization of any use which may be incompatible or interfere with Reclamation project operations. Upon review and approval the Lands Team will issue authorizations for a variety of land and facility uses through licenses, leases, permits, easements, and consents-to-use, for such things as cabin and boat dock permits, roadway construction, as well as bridge and utility crossings. The Lands Team also responds to questions and complaints related to trespass, encroachment, and specific land management issues.

Outdoor Recreation – Unlike other land management agencies, Reclamation oversees the management of its recreation facilities through its management agreements with other federal or non-federal public entities whenever possible. The Outdoor Recreation Planner (Planner) coordinates cost-sharing efforts with its managing partners for improvements and retrofits required for safety and legal compliance at recreation sites. The Planner analyzes and negotiates planning and design solutions, secures required clearances and Reclamation approvals prior to construction, monitors progress, and ensures the completion of on-site reviews for compliance requirements subject to regulations. These duties include those recreation areas directly managed by Reclamation.

Archaeology/Paleontology – The Snake River Area Office Archeologist is responsible for the cultural resources program for both the Middle Snake and Upper Snake Field offices. The Archeologist specifically coordinates the museum property program, the archeological and paleontological programs and consults with the state historic preservation office for both Oregon and Idaho regarding historic properties in Reclamation’s inventory.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – The GIS group provides digital mapping and analysis allowing the Natural Resources Group to visualize, edit, analyze and understand relationships and trends for day-to-day resource management and planning. This information is shared with other agencies and the public through maps and reports. SRAO’s GIS database includes Reclamation land ownership and property rights as well as recreation, biological, archeological and facilities information. This warehouse of digital geographic information allows Reclamation staff and the public to quickly understand and share information about resource management needs.


Bryan Horsburgh
Deputy Area Manager
Snake River Area Office
(208) 383-2251

Michael Hilliard
Assistant Area Manager
Upper Snake Field Office
(208) 678-0461

Last Updated: 9/29/21