U.S. Department of the Interior

New Federal Natural Resource Investment Center Established

A mid-December U.S. Department of the Interior press release indicated that they plan to spur investment in water conservation and infrastructure in the West through public-private collaborations. The release indicated the department is establishing a Natural Resource Investment Center (NRIC), with the goal of involving the private sector to help identify innovative ideas and financing options for projects aimed at conserving western water. Ideas could include facilitating water transfers in the West, protecting habitats and species, and replacing aging infrastructure. The NRIC is part of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative, which calls on federal agencies to increase investments in broadband networks, ports, roads, water and sewer systems, and other infrastructure projects. The NRIC is also part of the president’s Pay for Success Initiative that employs market-based management tools to ensure government services produce intended outcomes. Martin Doyle, professor of river science and policy at Duke University, has been appointed the Senior Conservation Finance Fellow at the new NRIC. 

Connor: Find a Fix or We Will

At the 70th Annual Conference of the Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA), Deputy Interior Secretary Michael Connor implied that if the lower basin states of Arizona, California, and Nevada can’t find a fix for their Colorado River’s problems, the interior secretary will find it for them. In an Arizona Daily Star article, Connor referenced the need to prevent Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels. Should this be the case there would be huge cutbacks in water deliveries to the agricultural sector, cities, and Indian tribes.

April 6, 2014--Colorado River progress flows from cooperative spirit (Arizona Central)

The Colorado River is an extraordinary river whose currents flow not just in one direction, but in many directions across landscapes and borders, meeting many needs and demands. Last month, the Colorado River began to flow once again toward the Gulf of California as part of an unprecedented agreement to improve the riparian environment of the river and the Colorado River Delta.

Connor Named Deputy Secretary of Interior

In late February the Senate confirmed the nomination of Michael Connor to be the Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department.

August 3, 2013--Hydropower bill with Colorado bipartisan love heads to Obama’s desk (Denver Post)

Two hydropower bills that should expand the production of the clean renewable energy are headed to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature. The two House bills have Colorado bipartisan fingerprints all over them: One was carried by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and another by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat. Both Democratic Sens.

July 19, 2013--Feds launch Colorado project to reduce watershed damage from fires (Denver Business Journal)

The U.S. departments of the Interior and Agriculture have launched a pilot project in Colorado aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires and associated damage to watersheds in the West. The agreement was signed Friday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a ceremony at Horsetooth Reservoir outside of Fort Collins.

April 17, 2013--Colorado River ranks most endangered by advocacy group (Denver Post)

Big spring dumps brought mountain snowpack to 93 percent of normal along the upper Colorado River, but worries about westerners drawing too much water are intensifying.

March 14, 2013--Interior secretary in NM to finalize water deal (Denver Post)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in New Mexico to finalize the settlement of a decades-long water rights battle in northern New Mexico. The Interior Department says Salazar met Thursday in Santa Fe with pueblo leaders from Tesuque, Nambe, Pojoaque and San Ildefonso for a signing ceremony. The Aamodt water rights settlement was one of four included in legislation signed by President

February 6, 2013--CEO of REI named to replace Ken Salazar as Interior chief (Denver Business Journal)

Sally Jewell, president and CEO of outdoor-gear retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), will be nominated to succeed Coloradan Ken Salazar as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior in President Barack Obama's second term. The Washington Post is reporting Obama's choice of Jewell, as are numerous other news outlets, citing unnamed White House sources.

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