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.
Madam Chairwoman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Kira Finkler, Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation).I am pleased to provide the views of the Department of the Interior (Department) on H.R. 1219, the Lake Hodges Surface Water Improvement and Reclamation Act.For reasons I will discuss below, the Administration cannot support the bill.
H.R. 1219 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575, 43 U.S.C. 390h et seq.), commonly called Title XVI, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of permanent facilities needed to treat, reclaim, and reuse impaired surface water from Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California.The project is being implemented by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District (District).
In 2002, the District completed the David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant (Plant) to treat water from the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir so that it could be distributed for potable purposes.Olivenhain Dam was constructed by the District and the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) as a component of the emergency water supply project being implemented by the SDCWA.The Dam was completed in 2003, and its reservoir consists almost entirely of imported water.The Plant is located immediately downstream of the dam.The District and SDCWA are constructing a tunnel and pump-generation facility that will link the Olivenhain Reservoir to nearby Lake Hodges.This will increase the local water supply by about 13,000 acre-feet per year by enabling water that would otherwise be spilled from Lake Hodges and lost to the ocean during high runoff events to be stored in the Olivenhain Reservoir.The watershed for Lake Hodges is highly urbanized, and Lake Hodges has been listed as an impaired water body.The introduction of water from Lake Hodges into the Olivenhain Reservoir will require additional treatment facilities and changes to the existing facilities at the Plant in order to continue to produce acceptable potable water from the Olivenhain Reservoir.This project will implement these required facilities.
In July, 2008, the District submitted a feasibility study to Reclamation for this project.The feasibility study was reviewed in accordance with our Directives and Standards, and on October 20, 2008, Reclamation formally approved the feasibility study.Reclamation has also been working with the District to complete compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act for this project.
H.R. 1219 would authorize the project under Title XVI for Federal funding not to exceed 25 percent or $20 million, whichever is less.
As part of this total, the Department is requesting $20 million for Title XVI projects to be selected using criteria to identify activities most closely aligned with Title XVI statutory and program goals.On March 15, 2010, Reclamation posted an announcement inviting comment on draft funding criteria for Title XVI projects.After these criteria are finalized with comments received up through April 16, Reclamation will review and rank Title XVI project proposals received based on those criteria subject to appropriations in fiscal year 2011.
Separately, in July of 2009, the Department announced the allocation of approximately $135 million in grants for specific authorized Title XVI projects using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA.We recognize that water reuse is an essential tool in stretching the limited water supplies in the West, and I believe the FY 2011 Budget request on top of the ARRA funding has demonstrated the emphasis placed by this Administration on this Program.However, given that there are 53 already authorized Title XVI projects and numerous competing mission priorities and demands on Reclamation's budget, the Department cannot support the authorization of new Title XVI projects or extensions of existing authorized cost ceilings at this time.
Reclamation will, however, continue to work with project proponents to evaluate the completeness of feasibility studies of their projects.
Madam Chairwoman, this concludes my testimony.Thank you for the opportunity to comment on H.R. 1219.I would be pleased to answer any questions at this time.