Stimulus funds flow to Nor Cal rivers
John Driscoll The Times-Standard April 17, 2009
The Klamath and Trinity rivers will get some $8.5 million out
of a $260 million federal package meant to help California deal
with its water problems during a time of drought.
The funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
2009, from which the U.S. Interior Department has pledged to
invest $1 billion.
The money for the Trinity River, $4.5 million, will go toward
ongoing restoration of the river. Restoration of the river channel
can be accelerated with the funds, according to the Interior
Department, and provide for a more efficient construction
The projects on the Trinity River for 2010 include re-contouring
flood plains, developing side channels, placement of spawning
gravel and planting riparian areas.
Restoration of the river was ordered in a 2001 interior secretary
decision, as part of a need to restore salmon and steelhead harmed
by a dam and diversion to the Sacramento River. The Trinity River
Restoration Project has been working for the past several years
toward completing a total of 47 sites slated for construction.
Restoration program Executive Director Mike Hamman said that the
stimulus money would be in addition to the average $10.5 million
the program receives each year. The $4.5 million will go solely to
construction and must be spent by 2011.
That means the four sites targeted will get done much faster than
they might have otherwise, Hamman said.
”It allows for additional construction beyond the normal level of
funding,” Hamman said.
Another $4 million is going to study sediment behind the Klamath
River's dams. The engineering analysis will help determine how
much it will cost -- and what are the risks -- of removing the
four dams on the Klamath.
An agreement in principle between the Interior Department, dam
owner Pacificorp, and the governors of California and Oregon calls
for an investigation into the benefits, liabilities, environmental
risks and the effects on downstream resources from removing the
dams, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
”From boosting water supplies and improving conservation to
improving safety at our dams, these shovel-ready projects will
make a real and immediate difference in the lives of farmers,
businesses, Native American tribes and communities across
California,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.