Secretary Haaland Highlights President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda in California Visit

New funding for wildfire resilience, drought mitigation will help address climate change impacts

Last edited 12/18/2023

Date: Monday, December 18, 2023

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Michael Brain traveled to California, where they highlighted how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is bolstering efforts to make Western communities more resilient to drought and wildfire in the wake of the climate crisis.

In Ventura, Secretary Haaland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Brain, and Congressman Salud Carbajal met with other local leaders and stakeholders to celebrate new investments in advanced water treatment and water recycling infrastructure – critical programs as Western communities continue to face the impacts of drought and reduced water supplies. They toured the VenturaWaterPure Project, which received more than $14 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The VenturaWaterPure Project includes construction of an advanced treatment facility adjacent to its existing Ventura Wastewater Reclamation Facility. The new facility will further treat recycled water, producing up to 4,000 acre-feet of water of new potable supply, while also protecting the Santa Clara River Estuary through reduction of wastewater discharges and development of treatment wetlands.

The funding is administered through the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Title XVI Program, which identifies and investigates opportunities to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and impaired ground and surface water in the 17 Western States and Hawaii. Title XVI includes funding for the planning, design, and construction of water recycling and reuse projects in partnership with local government entities.

In San Bernardino, Secretary Haaland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Brain, and Congressman Pete Aguilar announced more than $800,000 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the San Bernardino Valley Community Wildfire Risk Reduction project. The resources will help to reduce the wildfire risk in the San Bernardino Valley and support recovery of federally listed species in Areas of Critical Environmental Concern managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The group toured the Santa Ana River Wash, which is a regionally significant area for wildlife habitat, flood control, groundwater recharge, cultural resources, recreation, and an important source of sand and gravel. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District cooperatively steward the cultural native flora of the Wash, including yucca, white sage, dog bane, acorn, cactus, and juniper berry. The area was recently impacted by a 16-acre wildfire, including impacts to habitat for threatened and endangered species.


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