Secretary Zinke Announces $1.1 Million Reclamation Contract to Navajo Nation Tribal Government for Assisting San Juan River Basin Recovery

Contract Will Boost Multi-Agency Effort to Restore Fish


Date: June 4, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation is awarding a $1.1 million contract that will allow the Navajo Nation Tribal Government to assist with the recovery of endangered fish as partners in the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program. Reclamation operates Navajo Dam and Reservoir located on the San Juan River in Colorado and New Mexico.

The recovery program facilitates the recovery of two endangered fish that live in the river—the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker, while allowing the continued development of water and power resources throughout the Colorado River Basin.

“Across Indian Country, working as a true partner with tribal nations is the best way to restore trust in government,” said Secretary Zinke. “Respect for tribal sovereignty goes hand-in-hand with this cooperation. I look forward to working with the Navajo Nation, on a government-to-government basis, on this key project in the San Juan River Basin as we establish a great conservation legacy under President Trump. In addition, we know that striking a balance between habitat management, resource development, and the needs of the tribal nation will require full cooperation at every level.”

Through the contract, the Navajo Nation will provide assistance to fish recovery efforts including operating fish passage facilities and raising the endangered fish in ponds located on the Navajo Nation. After the fish have grown to a larger size of about 12 inches in the pond, they are eventually stocked into the San Juan River where they will spawn and produce young that help increase the fish population. This contract will enable the Navajo Nation to provide experienced biologists and equipment that help facilitate the continued management of the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker.

Under this program, it is anticipated these actions also will provide benefits to other native fishes in the basin and prevent them from becoming endangered in the future.

"Reclamation is a proud supporter and partner in the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program," Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. "This program is a collaborative effort that provides protection and recovery of endangered fish in the San Juan River Basin while meeting the water delivery needs for communities within the basin."

In addition to Reclamation, other bureaus of the Department of the Interior participating in the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management. Other partners include the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe, the States of Colorado and New Mexico, and water development interests in those two states.

For more information on the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program, visit