Report on Acquisition, Leasing, and Disposal of Reclamation Lands, Bureau of Reclamation

B-118605: Published: Nov 18, 1958. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 1958.

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In connection with the audit of the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, the General Accounting Office has reviewed the Bureau's policies and procedures relating to the acquisition, leasing, and disposal of reclamation lands. This review was made pursuant to the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67). The review was performed at selected regional and project offices of the Bureau, and field work thereon was completed in May 1958.

The Bureau of Reclamation acquires land, to be used in the construction, operation, and maintenance of reclamation projects for irrigation, power, flood control, and other purposes. Land needed for such projects is acquired by withdrawal from the public domain, purchase, condemnation, or donation. At December 31, 1957, Bureau reports showed that reclamation lands totaled 10,016,818 acres, consisting of 8,532,692 acres withdrawn from the public domain and 1,484,126 acres acquired by purchase, condemnation, or donation. Reclamation lands which are not immediately needed for project purposes are frequently turned over to other agencies for administration or are leased by the Bureau for grazing, agricultural, or other purposes. Bureau leases in effect at December 31, 1957, covered 814,479 acres of land and provided for annual revenue of $845,130. Bureau policy requires that periodic reviews be made of reclamation lands for the purpose of disposing of lands not needed for reclamation purposes, Disposal of such lands is generally accomplished by restoring withdrawn lands to the public domain or, in the case of lands acquired through purchase, condemnation, or donation, by transfer to the General Services Administration or by sale.

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