WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012– Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today identified river projects in 10 western and Pacific Northwest states to serve as models of the America’s Great Outdoors River Initiative to conserve rivers across the nation.

The 10 river projects are part of a list of 51 ongoing projects that the Secretary is highlighting nationwide, one in each state and the District of Columbia. As part of America’s Great Outdoors Rivers, Interior Department agencies – including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – will work with states and communities to advance river restoration and recreation by providing technical and other assistance through existing programs and staff, and by leveraging non-federal investments.

“These on-going projects demonstrate how the federal family can be an effective conservation partner for community-led efforts to improve our rivers, which are the lifeblood of our communities and our economies,” Salazar said.

A map and more detailed descriptions of the river initiatives highlighted by Salazar can be accessed here. Additional river projects across the nation will be announced in the coming days.

The projects identified thus far are:

Alaska: Kenai River – Kenai River Restoration and Protection Project

California: Sacramento River – Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project

Colorado: Dolores River – Dolores River Tamarisk Removal Project

Hawaii: He’eia River – Lower He’eia Stream Restoration Project

Idaho: Yankee Fork – Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project

Nevada: Colorado River – Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails

Oregon: Sandy RiverSandy River Basin Restoration Project

Utah: Escalante River – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

Washington: Elwha River – Elwha River Restoration

Wyoming: North Platte River – Trappers Route Special Recreation Management Area

“America has more than 3.6 million miles of rivers and streams, and nearly every American lives within a mile of a river or stream, making them some of the nation’s most important recreational and ecological assets,” Salazar said.

He noted that the outdoor industry creates an estimated 6.5 million jobs in the United States and pumps an estimated $730 billion a year into our nation’s economy.

Salazar unveiled America’s Great Outdoors Rivers in January as part of President Obama’s overall America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The goals of America’s Great Outdoors Rivers include protecting and restoring America’s rivers for people and wildlife and enhancing river recreation that supports jobs in tourism and outdoor recreation.

In March, Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of Commerce John Bryson signed a memorandum of understanding implementing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan to assist state and local governments, landowners, and community groups in protecting and restoring waterways and fisheries.


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