September 25, 2007

WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACT PROJECTS APPROVED

Improvements on Boise River, Dworshak, Port of Lewiston, Wood River planned

Washington, DC - The United States Senate has authorized a number of water projects for Idaho in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), H.R. 2864. Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo voted to support the WRDA Conference Report, which passed on a vote of 81-12.

WRDA authorizes programs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is generally passed every two years. However, the last WRDA bill Congress enacted was in 2000 when Crapo was chairman of the subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"Passing this bill for the first time in seven years will finally authorize critical water infrastructure projects for Idaho," Crapo said. "These are important projects to both the livelihood of Idahoans and the future of our water resources."

"Without water projects like the ones included here, the West dries up, literally and figuratively," Craig said. "It is critical that these needs are met so growing states like Idaho can continue to keep up with ever-increasing water demands."

WRDA projects in Idaho include:

• Dworshak Reservoir - Improvements for recreation near Orofino, including upgrades to boat ramps, fishing access and campgrounds.

• Little Wood River - Rehabilitation of the Gooding Idaho Channel Project for flood control and for ecosystem restoration.

• Boise River - Provides for new studies on flood control, ecosystem restoration, and water supply.

• Port of Lewiston - Lifts restrictions and allows the use of fill material to raise some (non-wetland) low areas above flood elevation to meet project standards.

• McNary Lock and Dam, McNary National Wildlife Refuge - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to have jurisdiction over the land acquired from the Fish and Wildlife Service for the McNary Dam Project.

• Snake River Project - Authorizes studies and ecosystem restoration and improvements for fisheries and wildlife through changes to the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan for the Lower Snake River.

• Eurasian Milfoil study - Eurasian Milfoil is an invasive, aquatic weed that has become quite a nuisance in northern lakes, including Idaho. WRDA authorizes a national study, whose results will be applicable to Idaho, on how to control the weed.
• Fish Creek Dam - Dam safety improvements at the Fish Creek Dam in Blaine, County. The water in the reservoir is used for irrigation, recreation, flood control, and fish and wildlife habitat.
• Riley Creek Recreation Area - Modernizing the recreation area located near the Albeni Falls Dam on the Pend Oreille River, including campsites, restrooms/showers, boat docks and ramps, fishing piers, picnic shelters, roads, sewer system, and parking.


# # #