With the surprise resignation June 12 of Dan Beard as director of the Bureau of Reclamation, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has lost one of his most effective lieutenants (HCN, 3/20/95). Although Western water has long been a contentious issue, his reign has been quiet, especially when compared with grazing and logging. In announcing his departure, effective Sept. 1, Beard said he thought he'd redefined the agency mission from dam-building to dam management, reduced the budget by $107 million and downsized the work force by 20 percent. Conservationists applauded Beard's vision of a new Bureau, but were disappointed when BuRec pulled the plug on a flood release from Glen Canyon Dam this spring, which would have redeposited sand on the Grand Canyon's depleted beaches and improved spawning habitat for native fish. On the other hand, Steve Harris, head of the Colorado water district that wants to build the Animas-LaPlata Project, said of Beard's departure, "that's the best news I've had all day.