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Owyhee Initiative Funding Begins

Crapo to discuss cultural protection with Tribes Thursday

Duck Valley Indian Reservation - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will join members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation tomorrow to discuss the first phase of funding that will implement provisions of the Owyhee Initiative land management legislation he passed earlier this year. The Owyhee Initiative, an eight-year collaborative written by Idahoans and led by Crapo in Congress, was authorized in the Omnibus Land Management Act of 2009. The process of allocating funding to implement the Owyhee Initiative is now underway through the appropriations process in Congress.

"The protection of cultural resources is a key element of the Owyhee legislation," Crapo said. "It is important that Senate appropriators have designated up to one million dollars to protect the cultural heritage of Idaho that is kept in the Owyhee Canyonlands and now protected under the Owyhee Initiative."

Crapo noted that designation of federal funds still must be approved through the final appropriations process, which historically lasts through the summer and continues to the end of the fiscal year on September 30. He added that funding for others provisions of the Owyhee Initiative are also continuing.

Crapo said that other pieces of the Owyhee funding efforts to compensate ranchers for land exchanges, improvements and for giving up grazing rights, will come from a combination of public and private dollars. He said he has contacted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about funding for the ranchers' needs. Some of the rancher payments, such as retiring grazing rights, must be paid for with private dollars and Crapo noted private groups are leading fundraising efforts in that regard.

Crapo will attend the Duck Valley Water Rights Settlement, Owyhee Initiative observances, and a barbeque at noon. He'll speak with Chairman Robert Bear and other members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Council.