Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: Frank Quimby, 202-208-7291
|September 14, 2004||
or Bob Walsh, 702-591-0029
Secretary Norton Signs Agreement for Multi-Species Conservation Program on Lower Colorado River
PHOENIX, Arizona -- Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today signed an agreement with representatives of Arizona, Nevada and California that will result in completion of a long-term, comprehensive initiative to recover endangered species and protect wildlife habitat on the Colorado River from Lake Mead to the U.S.-Mexico border.
"The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program is a crucial environmental achievement," Norton said in signing the Memorandum of Agreement. "This program will protect the river's habitat and the species that depend on it, while also ensuring the river's resources can continue to be used by the citizens of Nevada, California and Arizona to support their economy and quality of life."
The 50-year initiative will
protect the environment while ensuring the certainty of continued water
and power operations on the river. The program will address the needs
of threatened and endangered wildlife under the Endangered Species Act
and prevent the listing of additional species on the lower Colorado
Federal, state and local officials participated in today's event, as well as representatives of agencies and groups that make up the 35-member Steering Committee that has led the development of the program since it was launched in 1997. The partnership includes the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, the three Lower Colorado Basin states, several Colorado River tribes, water and power contractors and other stakeholders involved in Lower Colorado River management.
Under the MOA signed today, the partners committed to using their best efforts and to provide all staff and resources necessary to publish a final Environmental Impact Statement for the program by late December, and to have a Record of Decision in place to implement the program in early January. Numerous permits and documents need to be completed to allow this to occur.
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