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.
I am Robert Johnson, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. I appreciate the opportunity to provide the Department's views on H.R. 496, legislation to authorize the Secretary to participate in the planning, design, and construction of the Tumalo Irrigation District Water Conservation Project in Deschutes County, Oregon. The Department cannot support H.R. 496.
The Tumalo Irrigation District (District) and the facilities in question are not part of a Reclamation project. During the 1990's the District did have a repayment contract for rehabilitation of Crescent Lake Dam. The District satisfied its repayment obligation to the United States in 1998, and holds title to all project facilities.
The Tumalo Irrigation District Water Conservation Project (Project) would convert approximately 6 miles of open canal in the District into a pipeline. It is Reclamation's understanding that the Project, known locally as the Tumalo Feed Canal pipeline, would conserve up to 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water for instream use. The Administration supports the objective of the District to conserve water and to improve instream flows while not diminishing the amount of water available for agricultural uses. Furthermore, we recognize the improvements made in S. 1037 over legislation introduced in the previous Congress.
H.R. 496 authorizes the Secretary to participate in the planning, design, and construction of the Project and provides authorization for $4.0 million to be appropriated for the Federal share of the Project. Project sponsors anticipate the Federal share of the Project would be made in the form of a grant; however, the language in Section 3(a)(1) does not clearly give the Secretary such authority.
Most importantly, the Department is concerned that use of Reclamation funds on non-Reclamation projects would adversely impact water projects which Congress has charged Reclamation with operating and maintaining. Reclamation activities are targeted to perform essential functions at Federal projects, such as security, operations and maintenance (O&M), resource management, dam safety, and construction.
As conceived, the District's water conservation project may be ideally suited to compete for funds within the Department of the Interior's existing water conservation programs like the Water 2025 Program. Through such conservation programs, local entities develop innovative on-the-ground solutions to water supply problems with financial assistance from Reclamation. However, because of the reasons stated above, the Department cannot support the legislation as written.
This concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to answer any questions.