Reclamation’s fiscal year 2012 budget request — $1.0 billion

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Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Dan DuBray):

President Barack Obama’s FY 2012 budget request released today includes a total of $1,018.4 billion for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The President’s request reflects his continuing commitment to be prudent with taxpayer dollars while setting priorities for spending. The 2012 budget reflects many difficult budget choices, cutting worthy programs in order to fund the highest priority requirements, and advancing efforts to shrink Federal spending while being mindful of ongoing opportunities.

“The President’s budget proposal promotes fiscal responsibility while maximizing the community, economic, and environmental benefits of Reclamation’s projects and programs by promoting certainty, sustainability, and resiliency with respect to the use of water resources,” Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said today. “The President’s proposal continues to ensure the reliable and efficient delivery of water and production of renewable, clean hydropower, but also reflects the tough choices we must make in order to address the critical budget deficit.”

The budget emphasizes Reclamation’s core mission to address the water needs of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and assisting States, Tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner; ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities. Reclamation’s funding request addresses Administration, Departmental, and Reclamation priorities. These priorities include Ecosystem Restoration, Renewable Energy, Cooperative Landscape Conservation, Water Conservation and the WaterSMART Program, Strengthening Tribal Nations and Youth Recruitment activities.

The President’s budget proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account of $805.2 million includes $398.5 million for water and energy, land, and fish and wildlife resource management and development activities. This funding provides for planning, construction, water conservation activities, management of Reclamation lands including recreation and actions to address the impacts of Reclamation projects on fish and wildlife. The request also emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by requesting $406.7 million to fund operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities, including dam safety. Reclamation is committed to working with water and power users, States, Tribes, and other stakeholders to find ways to address and meet the mix of water resource needs in 2012 and beyond. Specifics of the budget request include:

Ecosystem Restoration – In carrying out its mission Reclamation has a responsibility to focus on the protection and restoration of the aquatic and riparian environments affected by its operations. Some highlights of Reclamation’s Ecosystem Restoration activities, many of which support the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, and are also needed to fulfill Endangered Species Act recovery programs, include:

– Of the $154.6 million for the Central Valley Project (CVP), a significant portion is for ecosystem restoration including $34.8 million for the Red Bluff Pumping Plant and Fish Screen and $10.5 million for the Trinity River Restoration Program.

– $18.3 million for the Multi-Species Conservation Program within the lower Colorado River basin to provide long-term Endangered Species Act compliance for river operations.

– $20.0 million for Endangered Species Act Recovery implementation programs including $11.0 million to implement the Platte River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program and $6.2 million for the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Programs.

– $18.6 million for the Klamath Project, of which a significant portion is for environmental protection and restoration; to continue funding for studies and initiatives related to improving water supplies to meet the competing demands of agricultural, tribal, wildlife refuge; and to address environmental needs in the Klamath River basin including endangered species recovery and other restoration activities.

– $39.7 million for the California Bay-Delta Program for categories aligned with the Interim Federal Action Plan are as follows: $26.2 million to address degraded Bay-Delta ecosystem activities; $11.5 million for smarter water supply and use; and $2.0 million for a renewed Federal-State partnership.

– $53.1 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to continue funding a variety of activities to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations in the Central Valley Project service area of California.
$23.6 million for the Middle Rio Grande Project, of which a significant portion is to support environmental activities developed through the ESA Collaborative Program.

– $17.8 million for the Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project for implementation of the Biological Opinions for the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Renewable Energy and Cooperative Landscape Conservation – Reclamation is supporting the Department’s integrated strategy for responding to climate change impacts:

– Reclamation is working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Energy and its Power Marketing Administrations to determine the climate change effects to hydropower generation.

– $7.0 million will support both the continued implementation of Reclamation’s West-wide Climate Risk Assessments and co-coordination of two Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, under Reclamation’s Basin Study Program; and Reclamation’s Science and Technology Program supporting research improving our capability to manage, conserve, and expand water supplies in response to multiple stresses in the West, including drought and climate change.

The WaterSMART Program – The FY 2012 budget for Reclamation proposes $58.9 million for the WaterSMART Program – Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow – to assist local communities in stretching water supplies and improving water management. The WaterSMART Program will help to improve water management by encouraging voluntary water banks, reducing demand, implementing water conservation and Title XVI water reuse projects, and taking action to improve energy efficiency, promote renewable energy and reduce environmental conflicts. Reclamation will also partner with States, Tribes and local entities under the WaterSMART Program to develop the WaterSMART Clearinghouse website as a resource to provide leadership and assistance in coordinating and integrating water conservation and sustainable water strategies.

Strengthening Tribal Nations – The FY 2012 budget continues support of tribal nations through Reclamation’s request of $12.8 million for the Animas La Plata Project (Colorado, New Mexico) to continue construction and implementation of the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000; and $7.0 million for the Native American Affairs Program to continue support of Reclamation activities with Indian tribes. These activities include providing technical support for Indian water-rights settlements; assisting tribal governments to protect, manage and develop water and related resources; and supporting Indian self-governance and self-determination programs.

Additionally, the Columbia/Snake River Salmon Recovery, Klamath, Central Valley Project Trinity River Division, Yakima and Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement projects mentioned above under Ecosystem Restoration and five of the eight authorized rural water projects (discussed below) benefit Tribal nations in recognition of their long-standing treaty rights.

Further, in FY 2012 Reclamation will enhance support of tribal nations, most notably through the establishment of a new Indian Water Rights Settlements account in response to the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which authorizes and establishes requirements for four water rights settlements benefiting the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, the Crow Tribe in Montana, the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, and the Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque Pueblos in New Mexico. Reclamation is requesting $51.5 million for the account with $26.7 million to begin implementation of the four new settlements. The new account would also include $24.8 million for the implementation of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, for which mandatory funding is provided under Title VII of the Act and appropriations are authorized by P.L. 111-11, of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is a key element of the Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement on the San Juan River in New Mexico.

Other Project Highlights include

– $35.5 million for ongoing construction on seven rural water projects in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota and as well as operation and maintenance on completed tribal features for two of the projects. Five of the projects directly benefit tribal nations.

– $83.7 million for the Dam Safety Program to continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities throughout Reclamation’s inventory of high- and significant-hazard dams. Corrective actions are planned to continue or start at a number of facilities. A major focus continues to be modifications at Folsom Dam (California).

– $25.9 million for Site Security to continue Reclamation’s on-going site-security program that includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.

The Bureau of Reclamation throughout the 17 western states is committed to helping meet the many water challenges of the West. A driving force behind Bureau initiatives is resolution of water issues that will benefit future generations.

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The funds [request for the Arkansas Valley Conduit] total $2.958 million and are included in the Department of Interior’s budget request for the Bureau of Reclamation. “We have to finish up the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) study before we can proceed with the construction,” said Kara Lamb, public information officer for the Bureau of Reclamation at Loveland. “We’re still in the very beginning stages.”

The Environmental Impact Statement for the conduit is on track to be completed by late 2012 or early 2013. It will determine the corridor the conduit will follow along its 130-mile route from Pueblo Dam to Lamar and Eads, as well as other details of the project…

“The Arkansas Valley Conduit is more than a priority,” said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. “It is necessary to provide and protect water supplies for more than 40 communities along the Arkansas Valley.”

More Reclamation coverage here. More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

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