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Bush seeks more bucks for Basin

Published Jan. 27, 2004


President Bush plans to put more money into the Klamath Basin.

In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, Bush calls for investing $105 million in habitat restoration and water improvement projects and programs aimed at helping endangered suckers and threatened salmon in the Basin.

"The President's budget proposal reflects his steadfast commitment to restoring the health of the Klamath Basin," Interior Secretary Gale Norton said in a statement issued today.

The proposal is a 21 percent increase from fiscal year 2004, and a 38 percent increase from fiscal year 2003. The increases in funding are a result of recommendations of the Cabinet-level Klamath River Basin Federal Working Group, which Bush created in March 2002. Norton is chair of the working group.

In comparison to fiscal year 2003, the increase in funding for fiscal 2005 includes the following:

  • $4.6 million to purchase critical land and return it to wetlands, enhancing endangered suckers populations and increasing the amount of water that can be stored in Upper Klamath Lake.

  • $2.5 million for new studies of the endangered sucker species and studies on water quality aspects of Upper Klamath Lake.

  • $2.1 million to remove the Chiloquin Dam, reopening 70 miles of sucker habitat.

  • $2.9 million for water banks, broadening eligibility among farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve water.

  • $ 12 million for U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service's on-farm assistance to private land owners in the Basin.

    Along with Norton, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, and Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton are members of the working group. The working group advises Bush on immediate steps and long-term solutions for the Basin.

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