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).
Salazar Announces $50 Million in Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects in Western United States
Funding includes $30 million to help bring safe and reliable water to tribal, non-tribal residents in rural communities
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced $50 million in funding for water infrastructure projects in the West – including $30 million in funding for rural water construction projects. The funding will support a variety of efforts – providing financial assistance and construction support for rural water projects, addressing aging infrastructure to maintain system reliability and safety, restoring aquatic habitat and meeting the increasing water demands of the western United States.
"Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and clean, reliable drinking water is absolutely vital to build healthy people and healthy economies – especially in rural areas in the West,” Secretary Salazar said. “Building the infrastructure we need to deliver clean water to our nation's rural and tribal communities will create construction jobs and, when complete, will provide lasting benefits for local economies and public health.”
The six rural water projects, selected by the Bureau of Reclamation as directed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, will help advance six infrastructure projects that will deliver clean, reliable drinking water to remote areas. The projects are:
$10.9 million for the Garrison Diversion Unit (Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program) in North Dakota. This will allow the Spirit Lake Tribe to replace an existing water storage reservoir, known as Spirit Lake-Tokio Tank & School Tank Projects, to ensure reliable water service to the West Fort Totten area of the reservation. The funding will also be used to replace poor quality private wells in Logan and McIntosh counties.
$9 million for the Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie Rural Water System (Montana). This project will enable the Assiniboine Sioux Tribe to complete the mainline pipeline from Brockton to the Big Muddy to facilitate the delivery of water to Dry Prairie. The funds will also allow for the completion of the mainline from Big Muddy to Culbertson so that a sufficient amount of water from the new treatment plant will be delivered to Dry Prairie.
$5 million for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System (South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota). This project will allow for the purchase of water treatment plant tools, vehicles, maintenance equipment, security fencing and installation of approximately three miles of pipeline in Minnesota.
$3.9 million for the Rocky Boy's/North Central Montana Rural Water System (Montana). This funding will allow the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation to complete a portion of Segment 3 of the Core pipeline installation for the Rocky Boys Rural Water System. It will also help to provide an interim water system to three areas in Montana as part of the North Central Montana Rural Water System.
$1 million for the Eastern New Mexico Water Supply Project (New Mexico): This funding will support the construction of an intake structure at Ute Reservoir that will supply water to eight municipalities and three counties in eastern New Mexico.
$200,000 for the Jicarilla Apache Rural Water System (New Mexico). This project will assist the Jicarilla Apache Nation in continuing its on-going work related to the Jicarilla-Apache Water System. This rural water grant will allow construction of new water and waste water facilities in the town of Dulce, New Mexico.
This new funding is in addition to $16.1 million that Reclamation had already identified for construction activity for the Mni Wiconi project in South Dakota that will help build water distribution systems to serve several rural communities, including reservation areas of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
To allocate fiscal year 2012 funding for rural water projects, Reclamation considered the level of time and financial resources already committed by project beneficiaries, a perspective on regional watersheds, and compelling need – such as water quality, tribal members served, economic impacts and water use efficiency.
The remaining $20 million in Reclamation funding supports:
$5 million for fish passage and fish screens to meet the increasing water demands in the West while protecting the environment and restoring aquatic habitat that has been impacted by historic development.
$6 million for water conservation and delivery studies to promote water conservation and improved water management.
$4 million for environmental restoration and compliance efforts with an emphasis on species recovery and protection.
$5 million for facility operation, maintenance and rehabilitation to ensure system reliability and safety of infrastructure in support of sustainable water management. Funding has been assigned through criteria that identified projects with the most urgent need.
"This funding will allow work on these projects to be accelerated, saving the American taxpayers money," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "The funding will also stimulate regional and local economies, support the creation of much-needed jobs and provide a stable and reliable water supply to communities throughout the West."
Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. To learn more, visit http://www.usbr.gov.