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 for the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to be here today to provide the Department of the Interior's views on S. 542, legislation to authorize the Secretary to conduct feasibility studies to address water shortages within the Snake, Boise, and Payette River systems in Idaho.
Reclamation previously provided testimony on September 21, 2006, regarding the Administration's views on H.R. 2563 as referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a bill equivalent to S. 542 introduced this Congress. Consistent with our testimony in the last Congress, we support S. 542.
The State of Idaho continues to experience the effects of a prolonged drought as well as tremendous growth and urbanization in the Boise and Payette River basins. Projected population growth will eventually over-extend existing ground water supplies for these rapidly growing areas. In light of this and other water resource issues elsewhere in the state, the Idaho State House of Representatives issued Joint Memorial No. 24 in 2004, which “recognizes the need for additional water to meet Idaho's emerging needs and encourages Federal and State agencies to cooperate with Idaho in identifying and developing such water supply projects.”
Under existing authorities, Reclamation initiated an assessment level water supply study specifically in the Boise and Payette basins. Stakeholders with wide representation from the State, Federal, agricultural, environmental and municipal sectors participated in that study. The Final Boise/Payette Water Storage Assessment Report was completed in July 2006 and was distributed to local State, Federal, agricultural, environmental and municipal parties.
S. 542 would go the next step by authorizing Reclamation to conduct feasibility studies within the Snake, Boise, and Payette River systems. However, while the legislation provides authority for feasibility studies in the Snake River system, Reclamation's assessment report referenced in the legislation solely evaluated and identified projects for further consideration in the Boise and Payette river systems, thus limiting the scope of the bill's authorization.
Reclamation supports focused, basin-by-basin water resource studies with input and local involvement from the State and the stakeholder communities. We recognize the need to address projected water supply shortages in the Boise and Payette River systems, and look forward to doing so in partnership with future beneficiaries. We would welcome the opportunity to be an active partner in addressing these water supply issues with the State of Idaho and its water users. However, any studies conducted under this new authority would still need to compete with other needs within the Reclamation program for funding priority in the President's Budget.
This concludes my testimony. I am pleased to answer any questions.