WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on May 7 presented a Partners in Conservation Award to a huge collaborative partnership involving the Colorado River Basin states, Mexico, numerous federal, state and local agencies, tribes, nongovernmental groups and private citizens for adoption of new, interim operational guidelines for managing the Colorado River in 2007.
"In the midst of the worst drought in more than a century, they formed an agreement that promises a future of cooperation in the Colorado River Basin for the next two decades," Secretary Salazar noted.
The Colorado River provides water for more than 23 million people and two million acres of irrigated land in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
The Colorado River award was one of 26 national awards to individuals and organizations presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. to honor "those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others."
The Partners in Conservation Awards recognize conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individuals and organizations including landowners, citizens' groups, private sector and nongovernmental organizations and federal, state, local, and/or tribal governments.
"The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our greatest conservation legacies often emerge when stakeholders, agencies, and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges," Salazar said. "In the case of the Colorado River, the partnership included literally thousands of people ... 16 Indian nations, tribes or communities; city and state agencies in seven states; water districts; universities; and nonprofit conservation groups."
"These awards recognize the dedicated efforts of individuals from all walks of life, from across our nation- and from across our borders with Canada and Mexico," Salazar noted. "They celebrate partnerships that conserve and restore our nation's treasured landscapes and watersheds, partnerships that engage Native American communities, and partnerships that engage youth."
Among the recipients were: Ak-Chin Indian Community, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cocopah Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Hualapai Tribe, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., Kaibab Paiute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Quechan Indian Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Sierra Club, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the state of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, Tohono O'odham Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Yavapai-Apache Nation (Camp Verde).