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 Robert Johnson, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 175 concerning the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District (District) Feasibility Study.
S. 175 would authorize Reclamation to conduct a Feasibility Study of alternatives to augment the water supplies of the District and cities served by the District. S.175 would also require the study to be conducted within one year of the date of enactment, and authorize $300,000 to be spent in conducting the study. The Department does not support S. 175.
The one-year timeframe for the study described in S. 175 is insufficient for a thorough evaluation of alternatives to meet future water needs of surrounding communities not presently served by the District and would be a very aggressive schedule. This timeframe would also make completion of the Feasibility Study, including preparation of the appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance document, extremely problematic and may prove difficult to achieve with any degree of accuracy.
The Department recognizes that a water need exists for the District. Reclamation is currently preparing a scope of work in coordination with the District, which focuses the plan of study to be completed.However, the Department does not support authorization of a Feasibility Study at this time.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on S. 175. This concludes my statement and I am happy to answer any questions.