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).
S. 1477 - Conservation and Restoration of Waterways and Dams
Statement of Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner for
Policy, Administration and Budget
Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Department of the Interior
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Water and Power
July 26, 2007
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, my name is Larry Todd, and I am Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today to present the Administration's views on S. 1477, a bill to authorize funding for repair to the Mancos Project (Project) and referred to as the Jackson Gulch Rehabilitation Project (Rehabilitation). This bill would require that 80% of the costs of project rehabilitation activity that would be authorized under this bill's provisions be borne by taxpayers. Project rehabilitation is currently the contractual obligation of the Mancos Water Conservancy District (District) to fulfill pursuant to its standing O&M contract. Relieving the District of this obligation would set a precedent for other projects across the country in need of rehabilitation. For these reasons, the Administration opposes this bill.
The Project is located in southwestern Colorado near Mancos, consisting of a 10,000 acre-foot reservoir, an inlet canal, and an outlet canal. This Project provides supplemental irrigation water for approximately 13,746 acres of irrigated farmland. Additionally, this project provides municipal and industrial (M&I) water for the Town of Mancos and the surrounding rural area, and to Mesa Verde National Park.
The Project was completed in 1948. During the twenty-year period from 1942 to 1962, the District paid Reclamation in advance for O&M costs for Project facilities. However, in 1962, responsibility for O&M of the facilities was fully transferred to the District as provided for in the Repayment Contract. Title to Project facilities remains with the United States.
The proposed legislation would authorize $6,452,311 for the federal share of the cost of rehabilitating the 59-year old Project. This amount represents 80% of the costs of rehabilitation. Reclamation has previously assisted the District in cost estimates for the new work and has also assisted in reviewing their current project needs for a long term rehabilitation plan. The District has completed a study through a private engineering firm to assess the Project needs and to prepare a study for the repair/replacement of facilities. The requested funds appear sufficient to make the needed repairs and improvements, as outlined in the District's plan.
Reclamation agrees that there is a need for rehabilitation of the Project. Due to its age, major rehabilitation is needed on the inlet and outlet canals and associated structures. Delivery of agricultural and M&I water could be affected if these repairs are not completed. The District, however, is solely responsible for the operation, maintenance, and replacement of these facilities, pursuant to their contract and should not be relieved of that obligation.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I am pleased to answer any questions.