A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar Announces $11.8 Million Cooperative Agreement with White Mountain Apache Tribe to Build Reliable Water System
Office of the Secretary
Funding Important Step in Obama Administration's Work to Advance Indian Water Rights Settlements
WASHINGTON DC - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that $11.8 million has been awarded to the White Mountain Apache Tribe as part of a self-determination construction cooperative agreement to greatly expand the current water delivery system to meet the critical needs of the tribe. The agreement, between the tribe, the Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Reclamation, will fund planning and design activities for the Miner Flat Project on the tribe's reservation in Arizona.
“This funding agreement is an important step toward developing a safe, dependable, long-term water supply for the White Mountain Apache Tribe who, for too long, has had to depend upon shallow, unreliable wells,” Secretary Salazar said. “Advancing Indian water rights settlements like this one is a critical piece of President Obama's efforts to empower tribal governments and help them build stronger and more prosperous communities.”
"One of Reclamation's priorities is to ensure that Native communities can make the most of their water allocations," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "This agreement will not only help provide a permanent water supply and economic security for the tribe, but it will also provide certainty to water users throughout the lower Colorado River Basin."
The agreement covers a three-year period for the initial planning, environmental compliance, feasibility engineering and design of the Miner Flat Project on the reservation. The completed project will include construction of a concrete dam, pumping plants, a water treatment plant and water distribution pipelines on the White River in southeast Navajo County, Ariz. The project is estimated to create over 120 direct and indirect jobs.
Under the terms of the agreement, the tribe will contract for preparation of design specifications, cost estimates and environmental documents. Reclamation will perform technical oversight of the agreement, ensure adherence to all federal requirements including labor, safety and environmental regulations and provide other technical assistance as requested by the tribe.
The tribe was authorized to contract for the work under the White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water System Loan Authorization Act as amended by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. The Act contains four Indian water rights agreements, totaling more than $1 billion, that will deliver clean drinking water for the Taos Pueblo and Aamodt case pueblos in New Mexico; as well as the Crow Tribe of Montana and the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. The agreements will build and improve reservation water systems, rehabilitate irrigation projects, construct a regional multi-pueblo water system, and codify water-sharing arrangements between tribal and neighboring communities.