Department of the Interior

For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2006
Tina Kreisher/Shane Wolfe (DOI)
Kip White (Bureau of Reclamation)

Norton Lauds Service of John Keys as Commissioner of Bureau of Reclamation

WASHINGTON-Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton today announced the resignation of John W. Keys III, from his position as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Norton lauded Keys' service to the nation and his success in handling water issues associated with the worst five years of drought in the past five centuries. After serving nearly 40 years with the Bureau, Keys intends to spend time with his family. His resignation is effective April 15.

"As Commissioner, John led the way in developing the Water 2025 Initiative that is helping to avoid future water crises in the West," Secretary Norton said. "He and the rest of the Interior water team were crucial in resolving a nearly 75-year dispute when California water users reached agreement with the federal government and six other states on a multi-decade agreement for sharing and using water in the Colorado River.

"He is a consensus builder who spent a long career with the Bureau of Reclamation and then agreed to join my team to lead the Bureau as Commissioner," Norton said. "He will be missed."

Among Keys' accomplishments is development of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a coordinated, comprehensive, long-term multi-agency effort to conserve and work toward the recovery of endangered species and protect and maintain wildlife habitat on the Lower Colorado River.

"I love the Bureau of Reclamation," Keys said. "I believe in what we do. I am proud of our part in the water development and management that has made it possible for us to live in the arid West. I believe that the Bureau and our Department are ready for the water challenges of the 21st century. It is a bittersweet time to leave Reclamation again."

In addition, in his letter to Secretary Norton, Keys thanked her for the privilege of serving in the job and wrote: "Secretary Norton, I leave the Bureau of Reclamation in good hands and with a strong course. Reclamation employees are among the best, with a pervasive can-do attitude and true commitment to Reclamation's purpose and mission."

Keys spent 34 years as a career employee with the Bureau, first as a civil and hydraulic engineer and later as the Pacific Northwest Regional Director.