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.
Madam Chairwoman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Michael L. Connor, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.I am pleased to provide the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 2741, the City of Hermiston, Oregon, Water Recycling and Reuse Project.For reasons discussed below the Department cannot support H.R. 2741.
H.R. 2741 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (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 to reclaim and reuse water in the City of Hermiston, Oregon.Current federal law limits the federal share of individual project costs to 25 percent of the total, or a maximum federal contribution of $20 million.
The City of Hermiston is located in north central Oregon and is one the largest communities within the Bureau of Reclamation's Umatilla Project Area.As part of their Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Project, the City of Hermiston is exploring the option of delivering reclaimed water to the West Extension Irrigation District to be used as agricultural water.Based on the city's current population, the reuse project would deliver an additional 1,132 acre-feet of water to the West Extension Irrigation District during the irrigation season.By 2026, it is estimated that the project would yield 1,685 acre-feet of reused water.The total estimated cost for this project is about $21.5 million.
H.R. 2741 includes authorization for design, planning, and construction of this project, of which the Federal cost share is limited to 25 percent of the total cost.No Title XVI related appraisal or feasibility levels studies have been completed for this project.
The City of Hermiston is part of an agricultural community and recent changes in the state of Oregon's recycled water regulations reduce the barriers to using such water for the irrigation of food crops.There have also been a number of discussions between the City of Hermiston and the West Extension Irrigation District's governing board and the district has taken a favorable view of the project.
As a threshold matter, I'd like to express the Department's general support for the Title XVI Reclamation and Reuse program.The 2010 budget proposal includes funding for Secretary Salazar's Water Conservation Initiative and Title XVI is an important element of that program.Also, on July 1, the Department announced the award of approximately $135 million in grants for specific authorized Title XVI projects.We recognize that water reuse is an essential tool in stretching the limited water supplies in the West.
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 at this time.As a practical matter, Reclamation is concerned that a proliferation of authorized projects would be detrimental to effective overall program management because there would be a dilution of available funding and a diminished ability of the Bureau to carry out and complete individual projects.
Reclamation will, however, continue to work with project proponents to evaluate the feasibility of their projects.To that end, Reclamation recently revised and improved its directives and standards that govern the review of Title XVI projects.By doing so, we believe that Reclamation can play a constructive role with local sponsors, as well as Congress, in evaluating the merits of proposed water recycling projects.Information regarding a project's feasibility should be fundamental to Congress' evaluation of new authorizations.
Madam Chairwoman, this concludes my statement.Thank you for the opportunity to comment on H.R. 2741.I would be pleased to answer any questions at this time.