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Bureau of Reclamation wants site specific visitor surveys

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is taking public comments on its visitor experience surveys. The bureau, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, announced in the Federal Register of Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 that it is asking permission from the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to continue the use of the Recreation Visitor Use Surveys. Permission for use of the form officially expires on Dec. 31, 2014.

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the bureau must get routine permission from OMB but first asks the public for any suggestions on how it might improve the forms. You can send comments by Oct. 14, 2014. Refer to OMB Control Number 1006-0028. Send your written comments to Jerome Jackson, Bureau of Reclamation, Office of Policy &Administration, 84-57000, P.O. Box 25007, Denver, CO 80225-0007; or by email to jljackson@usbr.gov. If you have any questions or want to see copies, call Jackson at (303) 445-2712.

The bureau gives the forms to people who visit the lands, rivers and reservoirs under its jurisdiction for recreational purposes. It seeks approval for two parts. The first is a series of 11 questionnaires it already uses. But the bureau also wants something new. It sees to design in cooperation with OMB specific custom-designed forms for individual sites. The specific forms would include only the questions from the existing pre-approved forms that are relevant to the site in question. Whenever the bureau develops a site-specific form, it would seek approval from OMB before using it.

The bureau currently operates 289 recreational sites. The places attract more than four million visitors every year and the bureau wants to improve its ability to respond to the needs of visitors at each place. It has no set timetable for distributing any of the questionnaires.

The forms consist of the Marina Survey, Campground Survey, River Instream Flow Survey, Reservoir Preferred Water Level Survey, Lake/River Visit Expenditure Survey, Recreation Activities Survey, Recreation Management Survey, Recreation Fee Survey, Recreation Development Survey, Water Level Impacts on Recreation Boating Use Survey, River Recreation Quality Survey, and Customized Surveys.

The bureau estimates the surveys take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. Except the Customized Survey, it wants to give each one to 556 users per year.