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Press Release



Interior Seeks Proposals for Scientific Projects to Help Address Water Resource Challenges and Management Activities


Funding Available for Desert and Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperatives through the WaterSMART Program


06/15/2011


Contact: Joan Moody, DOI (202) 208-6416
Kip White, Reclamation (202) 513-0684


WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals for applied science projects that can help resource managers develop adaptive strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change, drought, invasive species and similar challenges to water supplies, aquatic and riparian habitat, and environmental quality. The proposals would benefit resource management activities in the geographic areas covered by the Desert and Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

“Landscape Conservation Cooperatives enable scientists and resource managers to work together to find landscape-scale strategies to adapt to climate change and other ecological stressors,” said Anne Castle, Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. “This is a multi-agency effort at Interior that focuses on science-based solutions to regional resource management challenges such as drought, increases in demand, or impacted environments.” 

Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor said funding is available for projects that can best address resource challenges and inform future management activities. “We are looking for the best and brightest to submit proposals that will help evaluate and identify the real challenges facing natural resources management across these vast western landscapes,” Connor said.

Interested organizations and parties must submit proposals as outlined in two separate Funding Opportunity Announcements released today at www.grants.gov. The deadline for submissions is August 4, 2011. Links to the announcements are at www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

Eligible applicants include states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and organizations with water or power delivery in the western United States or island territories, as well as universities and non-profit research institutions and organizations. The applicants must be willing to cost-share 50 percent or more of the total project costs and will be allowed to request up to $200,000 in federal funding.

Proposals must benefit resource management activities within the geographic area of the respective Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and there must be a nexus to water resources management.

There are three task areas of eligible projects:

  1. Projecting future water availability and quality;
  2. Projecting the resiliency and vulnerability of natural and cultural resources in a changing climate; and
  3. Assessing and evaluating natural or cultural resource management practices and adaptation opportunities.

The Desert and Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperatives are two of 21 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that collectively form a new national network of partnerships announced by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in 2009 as part of a coordinated framework for dealing with climate change and other ecological stressors. The LCCs work collaboratively across jurisdictions and political boundaries by leveraging and sharing science capacity to address ecological stressors on America’s land, water, wildlife, cultural-heritage and tribal resources. The LCCs focus on impacts on water, wildlife migration patterns, wildfire risk, drought, or invasive species that typically extend beyond the borders of any single park, refuge or recreation area. These partnerships involve many federal agencies and departments, states, tribes, non-government organizations (NGO's), universities, and other entities.

For the Desert and Southern Rockies LCCs, the initial partnership is being led by Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal funding announced today comes from Interior’s WaterSMART Program, which focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability, and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. The SMART in WaterSMART stands for “Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow.”

The Southern Rockies LCC encompasses large portions of four states: Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as smaller parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada. The Desert LCC encompasses portions of five states: California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as a substantial portion of Northern Mexico.

To access maps and learn more about Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the WaterSMART Program, please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

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