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Bureau of Reclamation awards contract for Imperial Dam sediment removal

The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, awarded an $11.8 million contract to CJW Construction Inc., of Santa Ana, Calif., for sediment removal at Imperial Diversion Dam.

The contract was awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

The company will use the funding to remove more than 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment from behind Imperial Diversion Dam, which is located about 20 miles north of Yuma, Ariz., on the lower Colorado River.

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"This much-needed project will remove the large sand deposits that have accumulated in recent years in front of the gates that divert Colorado River water into delivery canals on both the Arizona and California sides of Imperial Dam," said Reclamation's Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "In addition to improving the amount and quality of the water being diverted at the dam, the project also will make the area safer for recreational boaters."

Sediment has been routinely removed from the area just above Imperial Diversion Dam since the 1960s, primarily by dredging. Some sediment is also removed by sluicing. But no dredging has been conducted in this area since 2006, and, because of the drought that has affected the Colorado River since 2000, sluicing operations have been reduced to conserve water. The result has been a build-up of sediment that now requires removal.

Work is expected to take about 15 months to complete.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

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