Department of the Interior Announces $1.1 Million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds for Bureau of Reclamation Youth Initiative

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation will fund a $1.1 million youth initiative with 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) savings realized after the competitive bidding process was completed for previous projects.

Reclamation will contract with youth organizations, in support of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative, to provide opportunities to America's young people to participate in various conservation projects throughout the western United States.

“Our job is also to help Americans reconnect with the places they know and that fuel our spirit,” the Secretary said at a town hall in January. “That's why we are expanding youth programs throughout the Department. And it's why we need to reach out to audiences who have never visited their public lands.”

Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region's Central California Area Office will use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to obtain youth services performing conservation and environmental stewardship work for the protection of natural and cultural resources and enhancement of recreation facilities and programs. The new jobs will contribute to Reclamation's efforts to modernize aging infrastructure and restore rivers and waterways. These services will be provided for projects including the Auburn Dam Project lands, Folsom Lake/Lake Natoma, New Melones Lake and Lake Berryessa.

Work includes fire prevention, erosion control, trail construction and maintenance, landscaping and grounds improvements, recreation area maintenance and construction of accessible facilities to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Work is estimated to start in June, varying on work locations, and will continue until Sept. 30, 2011.

The total investment by the Bureau of Reclamation in all ARRA projects nationwide is nearly $1 billion, including money funding projects to repair America's water infrastructure and help address the country's long-term water challenges. Originally the Bureau of Reclamation identified 189 projects that were approved for ARRA funding. Some of these projects were bid at below the government estimate, thereby making ARRA funds available for additional activities.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on and on Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

For more information on the Secretary's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative, see On March 31, Secretary Salazar appointed Julie Chavez Rodriguez as director of the Office of Youth.

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