11 November 2007

Projects Funded by WRDA to Benefit Bird Habitats

James Ed. Ducey

An override of the presidential veto on November 8th, enacted the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.

“In today's historic veto override, Congress has kept its promise to restore America's Everglades and made an historic national commitment to the protection of more of America's most sensitive and valuable ecosystems, including the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes," said April Gromnicki, Audubon's Director of Ecosystem Restoration. "If there is a cause that merits a historic vote such as this, it's fitting that the cause be to restore some of our most special places before they are lost forever." 

The Legislation provides $23 billion funding for navigation, flood protection and ecosystem restoration. There is a plethora of projects from Alaska to Florida, and throughout the United States given in the 180-page plus bill.

Ecosystem restoration is slated for the Everglades, Mississippi River, coastal Louisiana and the Great Lakes, and Río Oeste, along the Salt River in Arizona.

The House legislation - H.R. 1495 - lists provisions for 178 projects, with 43 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects identified.

Examples of restoration projects given include:

  • Clam Bayou and Dinkins Bayou, Sanibel Island, Florida
  • Napa River Salt Marsh Restoration, Napa, California
  • Hudson Raritan Estuary, Liberty State Park, New Jersey
  • Hocking River Basin, Monday Creek, Ohio
  • Lower Colorado River Basin

The bill has seven small projects for improvement of the quality of the environment.

Mitigation, recovery, and restoration will be funded for the Missouri river and tributaries in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Passage of the legislation has been lauded by other environmental organizations.

“The passage of WRDA represents an important milestone in The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect and restore the Upper Mississippi River Basin,” said Michael Reuter, director of the Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership. “We applaud all of the senators and congressional representatives who recognized the benefits of this legislation – creating and enhancing habitat for native species, improving water quality, reducing the risk of flooding and increasing recreational opportunities.”

Most of these projects will be administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. Some projects will be carried out with local partners, which may provide additional funding.

Similar legislation was last enacted in 2000.

Water Resources Development Act

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