Increased funding will go to proactive, collaborative projects that leave water in the river for fish and wildlife, with new aid available for drought-stressed areas< Members, remember to log in to view the rest of this post. [/level-non-member] [level-membersupporter] Increased funding will go to proactive, collaborative projects that leave water in the river for fish and wildlife, with new aid available for drought-stressed areas WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Senate passed a bill that sets funding levels for energy and water development and includes increased investments in conservation that would benefit fish, wildlife, riparian habitat, and sportsmen, especially in drought-stricken states.In a victory for sportsmen, the bill did not include a rider to block the Clean Water Rule, which will restore protections to headwater streams and wetlands that are critical for fish and the majority of the country’s waterfowl. The Senate rejected Sen. Hoeven’s attempt to add the rider in late April.
“Hunters and anglers understand the essential nature of clean water and healthy river systems as well as the threats posed by drought and falling water levels,” says Jimmy Hague, director of the Center for Water Resources with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The Senate’s investments in water conservation will bring about tangible benefits for all species, improve our days afield, and begin to restore balance to the wild places we cherish.”
Senators voted to match the president’s request for critical funding in the WaterSMART Program, operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. With $24 million available for WaterSMART Grants, projects can move forward that leave more water in our rivers for fish and wildlife. The appropriations bill also includes $100 million to help address Western drought issues, and increases the amount that can be spent on cooperative water conservation efforts for the benefit of the entire Colorado River system.
“There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with drought, and Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein have wisely chosen to fund programs that will help us find adequate water for fish and rivers, as well as for farmers and cities,” says Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “We are also pleased by the amendment offered by Nevada Senators Reid and Heller, which will strengthen a new and promising effort to develop water solutions for the Colorado River basin.”
The House still needs to vote on its energy and water appropriations bill, which contains the harmful rider that would block the Clean Water Rule.