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).
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Kris Polly, Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to be here today to give the Department's views on HR 786, the Los Angeles County Water Supply Augmentation Demonstration Project. The Department does not support this legislation. It is not necessary to specifically authorize a demonstration project under Title XVI of P.L. 102-575, as amended, since Section 1605 already provides authority to participate in demonstration projects. We are already implementing this proposed project using funds appropriated in FY 2008.
The project that HR 786 would involve infiltration of storm water runoff to recharge the groundwater basin in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Watersheds. The project consists of a neighborhood demonstration project that would demonstrate the potential for infiltration of storm water runoff to recharge groundwater by retrofitting one or more sites in the Los Angeles Area with state-of-the-art best management practices and perform pre-development and post-development monitoring to assess the resulting potential new water supply.
This project was jointly developed by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Water Replenishment District of Southern California, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, and the City of Santa Monica Environmental Programs Division, with technical input from Reclamation. Project benefits include local drought protection, water quality improvements and reduced dependence on imported water.
HR 786 would authorize Reclamation to participate in planning, design, construction and assessment of a demonstration project. The legislation does not specify an authorization of appropriations amount, but provides that the Federal share should not exceed 25 percent of project costs. However, since Section 1605 of Title XVI already authorizes the Secretary to construct, operate, and maintain demonstration projects, and since Congress has appropriated $492,000 for this demonstration project in Fiscal Year 2008, Reclamation has already initiated participation in this project. Because of other priorities in the President's Budget, we have not included funding for this project in our FY 2009 budget.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HR 786. I would be happy to answer any questions at this time.