Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Jeff McCracken
October 26, 2004
(916) 978-5100
Secretary Norton Praises President's Signing of Landmark CALFED Legislation

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today praised President Bush's signing of landmark legislation that authorizes $389 million for a major environmental initiative to restore California's critical Bay-Delta estuary while also addressing the needs of urban and agricultural waters users.

The president signed the Water Supply Reliability and Environmental Improvement Act, popularly known as CALFED, on Oct. 25, 2004. The legislation provides federal authorization for a long-term collaborative plan for environmental restoration and enhancement of the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary. The initiative also calls for making needed improvements in statewide water supplies, flood control and water quality.

"This landmark legislation represents the culmination of a strong bipartisan effort by the California Congressional delegation to secure California's water future," Norton said. "As the largest and most comprehensive water-management plan in the nation, the CALFED program is a national model of collaborative resource management. The Department of the Interior affirms its commitment to working with the State of California and water and environmental interests to address California's water needs."

"I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Chairman Richard Pombo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Chairman Pete Domenici, and Rep. Ken Calvert in working to craft this bill," Norton continued, "and for working so hard with the many stakeholder interests in California that support this program. With the President's signature, the CALFED family can now take on the most challenging phase in its decade long history -- implementation."

CALFED is a partnership of 24 California and federal agencies and representatives of California's environmental, urban and agricultural communities that is built on the
common recognition that their missions and interests can be accomplished best through collaboration and cooperation.

CALFED agencies have spent $1 billion over the last decade to significantly improve the ecological health of the Bay-Delta watershed by restoring and protecting habitat and enhancing the environment for fisheries and wetlands. The CALFED Program includes actions to recover species listed under the state and federal endangered species acts. The newly signed legislation ensures that CALFED will continue species and ecosystem restoration using the best available science.

The legislation also will drive forward state and federal efforts to modernize California's water-management infrastructure. CALFED is pursuing the construction of new water storage reservoirs, groundwater storage programs, water recycling and conservation programs.

The CALFED program contains many elements to assist Southern California in reducing its use of water from the Colorado River, which will cause water and environmental benefits to ripple up the Colorado River basin to the other six states that rely on the river.

"CALFED's great strength is its requirement of balanced progress toward the primary objectives of ecosystem restoration, water supply and reliability, water quality, and levee system integrity," Norton said. "This legislation reinforces this goal by mandating continuous progress across all program elements."



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