FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 10, 2009
Contact: Joan Moody
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation will invest $2.5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program projects.
The projects are part of a multi-stakeholder, federal and non-federal, 50/50 cost-sharing partnership that balances the use of Colorado River water resources with the conservation of native species and their habitats in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Adopted in 2005, this unique partnership is designed to provide 50 years of ESA coverage and will conserve 26 species along the lower Colorado River from Lake Mead to Mexico.
With the ARRA funding, eight projects will support ESA compliance for Reclamation’s operation and maintenance activities on the lower Colorado River and establish more than 8,100 acres of riparian, marsh and backwater habitat and provide the capacity for growing more than 1.2 million endangered fish to the target size for introduction to the river system’s existing population.
“Protecting the environment while ensuring greater reliability of water is an important challenge we must confront. The MSCP is about the environment – about protecting endangered species, as well as preventing the need to list additional species,” Salazar said. “These projects will help us meet that challenge, while providing greater certainty of continued water and power supplies for the people of the Southwest.”
ARRA Funded LCR MSCP projects located in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico will include:
$ 518,000 – avian habitat creation and restoration
$1,675,000 – native fish and endangered species habitat improvement
$ 300,000 – fish hatchery improvements
The purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are, among others, to quickly and prudently commence activities that preserve and create jobs and to promote economic recovery, and to invest in infrastructure providing long-term economic benefits. Recovery Act funding must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on http://www.recovery.gov/ and on http://recovery.doi.gov/. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.