Secretary Salazar Names John Tubbs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named John Tubbs, a veteran water resources administrator and policy leader, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

“John brings extensive administrative, policy and project management experience to this position,” Secretary Salazar said. “Having worked for more than two decades on water resource issues with governments at all levels, he understands the real-world implications of federal policies on states and local communities. He will be a key member of our water and science leadership team.”

The Deputy Assistant Secretary advises and assists the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, who oversees Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey and the Central Utah Project Completion Act Office. The Assistant Secretary is responsible for managing and directing programs supporting the development and implementation of western water policy and earth observation science focused on the nation.

Tubbs has served at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in administrative and policy capacities for more than 20 years. Since November 2006, he has been administrator of the Water Resources Division, directing and overseeing eight regional offices, five bureaus, 162 staff employees and an annual budget of $13.6 million.

The Division oversees Montana's water resources, implementing a wide variety of programs, including water right processing, water management, operation of state owned water projects, flood plain management and dam safety regulations.

Tubbs was a policy-level member of the planning and implementation teams for three large federal water projects in Montana: Rocky Boy's/North Central Regional Water System ($220 million); Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Regional Water System ($230 million); and the rehabilitation of the St. Mary Diversion Facilities ($100 million). He has worked closely with state associations, conservation districts, counties and municipalities, state agencies, the legislature, tribal governments, federal agencies, and congressional staff.

Tubbs earlier served as the Bureau Chief of the Resource Development Bureau's Conservation and Resource Development Division, where he directed six financial and technical assistance programs, including the Reclamation and Development Grants Program and Regional Water System Financing, providing financial assistance for hundreds of natural resource projects across the state. Before that, Tubbs was an economist in the Energy and Water Resources Divisions.

From 1993 through 2001, he was vice-president of Ambrose Tubbs, Inc., formed with his father-in-law, noted historian Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose, to conduct historical research, writing, publishing, tours, and public speaking.

Tubbs has received numerous awards, including the Upper Missouri Water Association Distinguished Service Award 2007; Governor's Citation, 1999; Friends of Rural Water Award for Outstanding Service, 1997; and Governor's Excellence Award, 1996. He has been appointed to several boards and commissions, including state representative to the Western States Water Council '07; Chair of the Association of State Water Engineers '08; and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument EIS/RMP '05-08.

Tubbs has a Master of Arts degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry, both from the University of Montana, Missoula. He and his wife Stephenie have two sons, Alex 22 and Riley 19, who attend the University of Montana in Missoula. The family enjoys Montana's rivers and landscapes as active hikers, bikers, and skiers.

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