A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Energy and Water Development Appropriations - House
On June 23, the House Appropriations Committee filed its report on H.R. 4733, the fiscal year 2001 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The bill was considered on the House floor and passed June 27 without change to the Bureau of Reclamation or Central Utah Project portions of the act.
Overall, the Committee provided $22.2 billion in new current budget authority, $562 million above the FY 2000 level, but $933 million below the FY 2001 President's Budget. Within this total, $17.2 billion was provided for Department of Energy programs ($853 million below the Budget), $4.1 billion for the Corps of Engineers ($60 million above the Budget), and $0.9 billion for other agencies. In particular, $770.5 million was provided for Department of the Interior programs, $36.7 million below the FY 2000 level and $70.5 million below the FY 2001 President's Budget.
Bureau of Reclamation
The House Committee provided $730.5 million for Reclamation accounts, $37.4 million below the FY 2000 level and $70.5 million below the FY 2001 President's Budget. The most significant action by the Committee was to delete all of the $60.0 million requested for the California Bay-Delta Restoration Program, on the basis that the authorization of appropriations currently ends in FY 2000. The report states the Committee remains very supportive of the program, and will reconsider its recommendation if the program is re-authorized before work is completed on the FY 2001 Energy and Water Development bill.
Funds provided for Water and Related Resources, Reclamation's primary operating account, total $635.8 million, $28.8 million above FY 2000 but $7.3 million below the request. Within this total, the Committee added $38.7 million for specific projects, programs, or studies; but more than offset these increases by reducing the funding requested for other projects, programs, or studies by $27.4 million, and by increasing the "allowance for slippage" by $18.6 million.
In particular, the Committee deleted all of the $16.0 million requested for the Rocky Boy's Indian Water Rights Settlement (MT), apparently on the basis that it is a "new start". The remaining reductions were taken from Reclamation-wide programs that do not have specific, easily identified constituents. In general, the increases provided by the Committee are to accelerate work on ongoing projects and studies. These increases include: $9.0 million for Central Valley Project (CA) activities, $6.0 million for the Gila River Indian Community distribution system (AZ), $6.0 million for water reuse projects and programs, $5.0 million for the Mid-Dakota Rural Water Project (SD), $4.0 million for the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System (SD), $4.0 million for pilot projects to remove salt from the Salton Sea, and $1.2 million for four water resources investigations.
The Committee cut the request for the Policy and Administration account by $3.2 million to $47.0 million (the FY 2000 level). Finally, the Committee provided the amount requested for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund ($38.4 million) and for the Loan Program ($9.4 million).
Central Utah Project
The Committee provided $39.9 million for completion of the Central Utah Project, $0.7 million above the FY 2000 level and the same as the President's Budget.
Report and Bill Language
The House Committee bill includes language prohibiting the use of funds for closure of the Auburn Dam (CA) diversion tunnel or restoration of the American River channel at that site; or to purchase or lease water at two projects in New Mexico unless certain conditions are met. The report directs the Secretary, in cooperation with the Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration, to review electric power programs related to the San Carlos Irrigation Project (AZ).