Department Of Interior
|For Immediate Release||
DOI: Frank Quimby, 202-208-7291
|January 27, 2004||
CEQ: Dana Perino, 202-456-6224
NRCS: Taylor Oldroyd, 202-720-1882
President's FY 2005 Budget Calls for Unprecedented Help for Klamath Basin
(WASHINGTON) - President Bush's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2005 calls for investing more than $100 million in habitat restoration and water improvement projects and programs for the Klamath River Basin, providing an unprecedented level of commitment to help Klamath communities restore their watershed and avoid future water supply crises.
The investment, a 38 percent increase in funding over Fiscal Year 2003 and a 21 percent increase over FY 2004, would accelerate habitat rehabilitation for three threatened and endangered fish and spur water quality and quantity improvements for the 12,000-square-mile watershed in Oregon and California. The increase resulted from recommendations of the Cabinet-level Klamath River Basin Federal Working Group, which the President created in March 2002.
"The President's budget proposal reflects his steadfast commitment to restoring the health of the Klamath Basin," Interior Secretary Gale Norton said today in announcing the initiative. "The effort requires a broad watershed approach that includes the participation of a wide range of partners over the long-term. We will work closely with other federal agencies and all the stakeholders to protect endangered and threatened fish while managing water for the needs of agriculture, tribal and commercial fisheries, and wildlife refuges."
"As the National Academy of Science's National Research Council report emphasized, federal agencies should broaden the scope of their recovery plans and more directly encourage stakeholders to take voluntary measures that benefit the fish," said James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "The President's proposal reflects many of the Council's recommendations, including improving conditions on Klamath tributaries to address problems on the lower river."
The President's proposed
2005 budget for the Klamath Basin calls for $105 million, ensuring an
unprecedented level of habitat restoration and water quality and quantity
improvements. It includes the following increases over FY 2003 Klamath-related
Additional funds for Klamath-related
projects are likely to be available after California allocates its share
of Pacific Coastal Salmon Restoration Funds later next year. The President
proposes to increase this program by $10 million in 2005.
The reduction in water available for irrigation in 2001 caused severe economic consequences. Interior's Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Project delivers irrigation water to 1,400 farms and 210,000 acres of farm land. Ensuring that the farming community has access to a sustainable water supply while complying with federal environmental laws protecting threatened and endangered species and respecting tribal trust obligations involves complex economic and legal issues requiring the attention and coordination of the Cabinet-level Working Group.
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, and Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton are members of the Working Group, which advises the President on immediate steps and long-term solutions to enhance water quality and quantity and to address other complex issues in the Klamath River Basin.
In formulating this advice, the Working Group seeks input from stakeholders, including members of the farming and fishing communities; residents of the Basin; representatives of conservation, environmental, and water use organizations; the States of Oregon and California; local governments; and representatives of Klamath River Basin tribal governments.
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