Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
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.
Statement of Robert Quint, Acting Deputy Commissioner
Bureau of Reclamation
U.S.Department of the Interior
House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Water and Power
On H.R. 2535
September 25, 2007
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. 2535, the Tule River Tribe Water Development Act. Due to ongoing settlement negotiations with Tule River Tribe as well as the need for a complete appraisal level study to precede a feasibility authorization, the Administration feels that it is premature to authorize this study and cannot support H.R. 2535 at this time.
This legislation would direct the Secretary of the Interior “to conduct a study on the feasibility and suitability of constructing a storage reservoir, outlet works, and a delivery system for the Tule River Indian Tribe of California to provide a water supply for domestic, municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes, and for other purposes.” The Act would authorize $3 million for Reclamation to conduct a feasibility study to be completed within 2 years after funds are appropriated or the signing of a reserved water rights settlement agreement by the Tule River Tribe and other settling water users, whichever is later. Without a completed appraisal level study, it is premature to authorize this study. The authorization of $3 million for this study would further compete with the funding needs of other already authorized projects. Additionally, the legislation does not specify a local cost share for the authorized study.
Settlement agreement negotiations have been taking place for several years between the Tribe, downstream water users, and the Federal negotiation team regarding the Tribe's federally reserved water rights. These negotiations are ongoing and not all issues have been resolved, including issues relating to Federal contribution. Until the Administration has completed its analysis of the proposed settlement under theCriteria and Procedures for the Participation of the Federal Government in Negotiations for the Settlement of Indian Water Rights Claims (“Criteria”) (55 Fed. Reg. 9223 (1990)), which are the framework we use to evaluate settlements, it is premature to take a position upon the scope, schedule, and cost of the feasibility study that is proposed in this legislation. An appraisal level study is also a necessary part of the process; Reclamation generally requires completion of an appraisal level study before considering whether the project warrants continuing to a feasibility-level analysis. Reclamation understands that the Tribe has conducted a substantial amount of reconnaissance/appraisal-level technical, planning, and environmental work over the past decade; however, Reclamation has not reviewed these documents nor determined that they would fulfill the requirements for an appraisal study.
Typically, a feasibility study of this size and shape and National Environmental Policy Act compliance takes from 3 to 5 years to complete with significant costs. Actual costs for this study would be determined via a Plan of Study, which would be developed after study authorization and appropriations are provided. The time and cost to complete the feasibility study and environmental documentation for the Tule River Tribe Water Development Project could be shortened if the Tribe's technical and environmental analyses and documentation are sufficient and compatible with Federal requirements. The costs of a feasibility study are significant and may exceed the $3 million authorization in this bill.
Reclamation understands the importance of a reliable water supply and will continue to work with the Tribe toward this goal in addressing the issues described above.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions.