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 Mike Connor, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the Department of the Interior (Department) to discuss S. 1080, the Land Withdrawal and Reservation for C.C. Cragin Dam and Reservoir.The legislation seeks to clarify Federal jurisdiction with respect to the C.C. Cragin project, which includes a dam, reservoir, and 11.5-mile utility corridor containing a transmission line and high-pressure pipeline.The project is located nearly entirely within the CoconinoNational Forest in north-central Arizona.
The Administration appreciates the interest of the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP) to reach prompt resolution of the management responsibilities of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, and understands SRP's interest in promoting this legislation.However, the Administration would like to pursue an administrative resolution among the parties.The two federal agencies (Reclamation and the Forest Service) have recently reengaged on this issue and would like an opportunity to explore further discussions with SRP to that end.As this effort proceeds, we would commit to keep the Committee updated on the progress of those discussions.
Reclamation and the Forest Service hope to be able to negotiate and enter into an agreement with SRP for operation and maintenance of the Cragin project in a manner that will fulfill the roles, obligations, and responsibilities of all three parties.This approach would accommodate Reclamation and SRP by ceding full control of the lands underlying the dam and reservoir to Reclamation and by expressly acknowledging SRP's right to operate and maintain the dam, reservoir, and utility corridor pursuant to the Arizona Water Settlement Act (AWSA, Public Law 108-451) and the 1917 agreement between the Department of the Interior and SRP.In addition, this approach would accommodate the Forest Service by allowing the agency to manage the lands underlying the utility corridor for recreation, wildfire, law enforcement, and other activities consistent with the Forest Service's authorities and responsibilities, the AWSA, the 1917 agreement, and the existing right-of-way over the corridor held by another party.In particular, this approach would allow for integrated management of tens of thousands of acres of ecosystems across National Forest System lands underlying and adjacent to the Cragin project, including watershed, wildlife habitat, range, and vegetation management.
The Administration recognizes that S. 1080 is intended to hasten the development of a workable management agreement.The Administration believes, however, that a sound approach for future management of the project could be arrived upon through further negotiations.Both Departments are committed to working expeditiously with SRP to ensure needed work for the project, including both emergency and non-emergency repairs and replacement of improvements.
Reclamation's long-standing experience working with SRP over nearly a century has been very productive.SRP has proven to be a responsible and reliable operator and caretaker of U.S. interests and resources.Reclamation and SRP have nearly a century of responsible stewardship in regard to both the technical operation of project works and protection of the ancillary natural resources.It is our hope that combining that history with the Forest Service's land management authorities and expertise would result in even more effective stewardship.
That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions.