Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Robert J. Quint, Director of Operations, Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to present the Department of the Interior's views on
S. 1473, the Madera Water Supply Enhancement Act. While Reclamation has been an active partner with the Madera Irrigation District and other entities in studying this project, the Department does not support S. 1473.
Reclamation and the state of California have studied the Madera Water Supply Enhancement Project. The purpose of this project is to reduce the overdraft of the area's groundwater aquifer and improve water supply reliability. In March 2007, Reclamation published an appraisal report for this project and transmitted it to Congress. Appraisal reports are based upon existing information to determine whether additional studies to determine Federal feasibility are warranted.
Reclamation's March 2007 appraisal report identified several alternatives, including delineation of groundwater recharge areas; engineered recharge basins on the Madera Ranch; and direct recharge from the San Joaquin and Fresno Rivers. The cost for the project is estimated at approximately $91 million, and section 5(b) of the legislation commits the Federal government to paying 25 percent of project costs. The total storage space is 250,000 acre-feet. However, it is important to note that while a maximum of 55,000 acre-feet can be moved to and from storage in any given year, the average annual water yield is estimated to be 20,000 acre-feet per year. Altogether, an appraisal level estimate is that this project would provide water at a cost of $420 per acre-foot.
Although the bill lists eighteen studies that have been completed relating to this project, none of these studies meet Reclamation's feasibility study criteria. Because Reclamation has not completed a feasibility study of the Madera Water Supply Enhancement Project, it is premature to authorize Federal implementation at this time. Moreover, this project would directly compete for funding with other currently authorized projects in the CVP service area, including several storage studies authorized under the CALFED Program (PL 108-361).
Reclamation continues to emphasize completion of ongoing projects and the safe and effective maintenance of its aging infrastructure. Reclamation must prioritize its program activities to ensure that the most worthy projects receive funding. In light of these needs, Reclamation allocates funds to projects and programs based on objective and performance-based criteria to most effectively implement Reclamation's programs and its management responsibilities for the water and power infrastructure in the West.
The Administration appreciates local efforts to address current and future water issues. However, in light of the concerns expressed above, the Department does not support S. 1473.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions.