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).
Secretary Salazar Announces $40 Million Investment for Rural Water in Northeastern Montana
BILLINGS, MT –Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded $40 million to the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Rural Water System in northeastern Montana under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
At a water forum in Billings, Salazar noted that Department of the Interior water infrastructure investments in Montana are part of the $1 billion nationwide that Interior will channel under the ARRA to restore aging infrastructure, repair aging dams, provide drought relief, and improve conservation of water.
“This significant investment in the water delivery system of this area will continue the Bureau of Reclamation's tradition of providing water to communities, large and small,” Secretary Salazar said.
The $40 million investment in the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Rural Water System will assist in providing drinking water to more than 27,430 residents in eastern Montana. Funding will be used to complete construction of a water treatment plant and accelerate rights-of-way acquisition, engineering design and construction of pipeline segments.
“President Obama's economic recovery plan is meant to quickly aid Americans by providing jobs and improving infrastructure, while paving the way for tomorrow's success,” Salazar said. “This project is just one example of how we are creating economic opportunities and local jobs while infusing some of the nation's most substandard water supply areas with high quality water and a brighter outlook for the future.”
In response to the water crisis, across the West, Reclamation will spend $200 million on construction of rural water projects for tribal and non-tribal rural water system construction with an emphasis on water intakes and water treatment plants. These investments will help address public health needs of rural and Native communities and create significant economic development in these distressed areas. The infusion of ARRA funding will allow projects authorized by Congress to deliver water sooner than would otherwise be the case.
The purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are, among others, to quickly and prudently start activities that preserve and create jobs and to promote economic recovery, and to invest in infrastructure providing long-term economic benefits. Recovery Act funding must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010.
Secretary Salazar has committed to quick and responsible implementation of the $3 billion in recovery funds that will be used by the Department of the Interior and its agencies.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior's Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.
Editor's Note: A factsheet for this Rural Water project is available here.