We saw room for improvement in the current trust agreement and we initiated an open and honest discussion with the FWP Foundation to address those areas
Billings, Montana (Vocus) January 7, 2009
Great Plains Regional Director Mike Ryan amended the Canyon Ferry Trust Agreement yesterday, establishing an end date of December 31, 2009, between the federal government and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Foundation (FWP Foundation).
The Trust was established by the Canyon Ferry Reservoir Montana Act of 1998, using the proceeds of sales from federally leased cabin sites at Canyon Ferry Reservoir. In 2002, the FWP Foundation was selected as trust manager to administer the permanent source of funding to enhance public hunting, fishing and recreation opportunities in the state of Montana.
"Two of our primary concerns are the efficiency and effectiveness of the trust, which are both vital to ensuring the best stewardship of the public's dollars," said Ryan.
The amendment is an end result from letters by the Joint State-Federal Board and Citizens Advisory Board to the Secretary of the Interior; a review by the Directors' Working Group; a Department of the Interior Inspector General Report, and months of public negotiations between the Directors' Working Group and the FWP Foundation, which ended in an impasse on November 13, 2008.
Ryan headed the negotiations as part of the five-person Director's Working Group established by the Secretary of the Interior in 2006. The group consists of regional heads from the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
The Secretary of the Interior convened the group to gather more specific information on improving the effectiveness of the existing trust agreement. The group completed its task and entered into negotiations with the FWP Foundation for modifications to the trust agreement in mid-2008.
"We saw room for improvement in the current trust agreement and we initiated an open and honest discussion with the FWP Foundation to address those areas," said Ryan.
The Directors' Working Group and the FWP Foundation conducted negotiations over a four month period, but were unsuccessful in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
The end date was added under the provision of section 6.2 Power of Amendment, which provides the Secretary of the Interior the right to amend the trust agreement in order to more fully accomplish the trust purposes.
The Joint State-Federal Board and Citizens Advisory Board, established by legislation, will now move forward with the request for proposals and selection of a new trust manager to be in place by years' end.
Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our Web site at http://www.usbr.gov .