Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Walden Applauds Presidentís Budget Request for Klamath Basin Investments
Presidentís request includes $105 million for Basin-wide habitat restoration and water improvement projects, $2.1 million for removal of Chiloquin Dam
WASHINGTON, DC Ė U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) applauded the substantial investments in the Klamath Basin called for in the formal budget request announced today by the Bush Administration for the coming fiscal year. The funding request includes an unprecedented $105 million for habitat restoration and water quality and quantity improvement projects in the Basin. This funding level represents a 38 percent increase in funding over the 2003 figure and a 21 percent increase over 2004.
Included in this request is $2.1 million to fund the removal of Chiloquin Dam on the Sprague River, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates blocks 95 percent of the sucker habitat. Walden introduced legislation in 2001 to authorize a study of fish passage issues at Chiloquin Dam, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2002. The broad-based working group created by Waldenís legislation concluded in July 2003 that removing Chiloquin Dam represents the best means of restoring the spawning habitat of the sucker fish. Last year Walden secured authorization for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to spend $1 million to fund the engineering plans and environmental compliance requirements needed before work can begin to remove the dam.
"The investments called for in the Presidentís budget will go a long way toward funding many of the projects whose need weíve long recognized as essential to resolving the water crisis in the Klamath Basin," said Walden. "Iím pleased that this proposal aims for a truly Basin-wide solution to the water crisis and makes investments that will help improve water quality and quantity, as well as species habitat. Iím particularly grateful that the budget request reflects the pressing need to remove Chiloquin Dam, which has been a long-standing priority of mine for several years. For years the federal government neglected the obvious problem posed by Chiloquin Dam, so finally moving forward is good news for both farmers and fish. I commend the President and his Administration for their continued dedication to resolving the water crisis in the Basin, and Iíll look forward to working closely with them in the future."
Congressman Walden represents the Second District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon. He is a Deputy Whip and a member of both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Resources.
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