Deschutes River Conservancy Reauthorization Act of 2005
Statement of Larry Todd
U.S. Department of the Interior
U. S. House of Representatives
Committee on Resources
Subcommittee on Water and Power
On S. 166
April 26, 2006
My name is Larry Todd, I am the Deputy Commissioner of Reclamation. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 166.
This legislation would amend the Oregon Resource Conservation Act of 1996 to reauthorize the participation of the Bureau of Reclamation in the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) through Fiscal Year 2015. The Bureau does not oppose S. 166. However, the Bureau must focus its scarce resources on its core mission of delivering water and generating power, and on aging infrastructure and O&M for existing Reclamation projects. Regardless of the level of Federal financial support, we believe the Conservancy’s goals of improving stream flow and water quality will certainly benefit the basin.
The DRC was originally authorized by Congress in 1996 to implement water conservation measures in the Deschutes River basin. The DRC is a locally created, private, nonprofit organization established to restore stream flow and water quality in the Deschutes Basin of Central Oregon. The DRC was founded by local irrigation districts, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, environmental conservation groups, and other local stakeholders, in an effort to focus on practical, incentive-based solutions to the basin’s water management challenges. The DRC leased over 70 cubic feet per second of water in the basin’s streams and rivers during the 2005 irrigation season and has restored over 100 miles of stream corridor using livestock management techniques, restored channel floodplain connectivity, and planted over 250,000 native plants and trees in the riparian zone.
The DRC has permanently acquired about 9,200 acre-feet of senior water rights in the Deschutes Basin that will remain instream during critical low flow periods, benefiting fish species such as ESA listed bull trout and summer steelhead.
The Administration questions the bill's requirement that a quorum consist of only 8 people, less than half of the 19 people appointed to the Conservancy.
This concludes my statement. I will be glad to answer any questions.