Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Madam Chairwoman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Robert Quint, Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to be here today to provide the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 2498, a bill to authorize a study on coordinating and integrating sub-regional interrelated regional water management plans into a unified integrated plan in the San Joaquin River and Tulare Lake Hydrologic Regions in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
Ongoing activities in Reclamation's Central Valley Project in California are currently addressing the need targeted by this proposed study. Furthermore, the legislation does not identify a Reclamation funding source for the study and without an additional appropriation, it would be drawn from other existing programs, compromising that work. As such, the Administration does not support H.R. 2498 at this time.
This legislation would direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to award a grant to the California Water Institute, not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. The Institute would prepare an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (Plan) for the eight counties encompassed by the two hydrologic basins that would address issues related to water quality, water supply (both surface and groundwater banking, and brackish water desalination), water conveyance, water reliability, flood control, water resource-related environmental enhancement, and population growth.
H.R. 2498 also directs the Secretary to ensure that a report containing the results of the Plan is submitted to this Committee and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources not later than 24 months after the grant is awarded and authorizes the appropriation of $1 million to carry out the Act.
There are many water supply issues in the San Joaquin Valley and many of these issues have a Federal nexus. It is important for local communities to evaluate and address the future needs and find solutions for potential shortfalls. Through the existing Acts authorizing various units and divisions of the Central Valley Project, Reclamation is already actively working on issues that could be evaluated by the Plan. These issues include water quality and supply, surface and groundwater banking, water conveyance, water reliability, flood control, and water resource-related environmental enhancement.
Reclamation has concerns about the budget impact of H.R. 2498. H.R. 2498 also does not identify a specific Reclamation program or activity responsible for the Institute's grant. Potential sources include CALFED, Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage Investigation, San Joaquin River Restoration Program, San Luis Unit Drainage, and the Salinity and Boron Total Maximum Daily Load on the Lower San Joaquin River.
In addition, the legislation does not specify actions Reclamation should take to ensure that the Institute submits a report to Congress within the 24–month timeframe referenced in the bill.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions.