Biden-Harris Administration Announces $25 Million from Investing in America Agenda to Protect Wetlands in Arizona

Last edited 04/03/2024

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2024

YUMA, Ariz. — The Department of the Interior today announced a $25 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to protect and maintain two areas important for resilience and drought mitigation in the Southwest — the Yuma East Wetlands and Topock Marsh in Arizona. 

“Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have historic new resources to safeguard western communities in the face of severe drought conditions, restore ecosystems and build a sustainable future,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Michael Brain. “Building on our significant milestones this year to protect the Colorado River System, we are continuing to bring every tool and resource to bear to protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System and increase water efficiency across the West.” 

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton joined leadership of the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe, the city of Yuma, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area at the Yuma East Wetlands to make the announcement. 

“Protecting these wetlands is important to the local communities as well as to the greater health of the lower basin of the Colorado River,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Touton. “Through historic resources provided through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have the opportunity to invest in projects like these to combat the impacts of long-term drought for current and future generations.” 

The Yuma East Wetlands will receive $5 million to upgrade infrastructure to ensure the continued existence of the marshes for future generations. Improvements include designing and replacing the system used to move water around the wetlands, replacing pumps currently fueled by diesel with electrical pumps, extending concrete canals and bringing electrical power to the conservation area to allow for technology updates. The area is widely utilized for public recreation and provides habitat for wildlife including endangered species. 

The 4,000-acre Topock Marsh in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge will receive $20 million to install two new screw pumps, replace a failing concrete canal with three miles of pipeline, design and build a new water control structure, and bring in electrical power for the pumps to increase efficiency of the marsh’s water delivery system. Topock Marsh provides habitat to the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and the only Northern Mexican Garter Snake population identified on the lower Colorado River. 

The Colorado River Basin provides water for more than 40 million people, fuels hydropower resources in seven U.S. states, supports 5.5 million acres of agriculture and agricultural communities across the West, and is a crucial resource for 30 Tribal Nations and two states in Mexico. Despite improved hydrology in recent months, the historic 23-year drought has led to record low water levels at Lake Powell and Lake Mead.  The Biden-Harris administration has led a comprehensive effort to address the ongoing drought and strengthen water security across the region now and into the future. 

Through the America the Beautiful initiative and the global Freshwater Challenge, the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on the first-ever national conservation goal to protect at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 – accelerating locally-led efforts to tackle the world’s intertwined water, climate, and nature crises. 

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda represents the largest investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history and is providing much-needed resources to enhance Western communities’ resilience to drought and climate change. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including rural water, water storage, conservation and conveyance, nature-based solutions, dam safety, water purification and reuse, and desalination. Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed in November 2021, Reclamation has announced nearly $3 billion for 430 projects.  


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