"A Single Spawning Season"

At the Bureau of Reclamation, where Commissioner Dan Beard has delegated vast amounts of authority, some workers are taking their newfound freedom seriously. Consider Roger Patterson, a regional director who helped to change the approval process for building fish ladders.

The ladders allow fish to climb a dam in order to swim upstream and lay their eggs; salmon and steelhead use them to climb the Bonneville Dam between Washington and Oregon and the Red Bluff Dam in California.

Unfortunately, to approve construction of a fish ladder, the bureau used to take 21 steps over three years -- the life expectancy of salmon. As Patterson told President Clinton about the process, "It wasted a lot of time. It wasted a lot of money. And it wasted a lot of fish."[5]

With Beard's approval, Patterson and his colleagues in the Sacramento office cut the approval process to eight steps in under six months. Once, approval took a fish's lifetime. Now, it's a single spawning season.

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