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Bureau of Reclamation releases 2013 budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. 2/16/12 (PennWell) -- The President's fiscal year 2013 budget released earlier this week includes US$1 billion for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation.

The portion proposed for Reclamation's Water and Related Resources includes $395.6 million for resource management and development, alongside $432.1 million to fund the operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of Reclamation facilities.

Reclamation -- the nation's largest water wholesaler and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power -- says the budget emphasizes its "core mission to address the water needs of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water issues."

The budget's priorities include ecosystem restoration, renewable energy, water conservation, strengthening tribal nations, youth activities and the WaterSMART Program.

Highlights of Reclamation's ecosystem restoration activities -- many of which support the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative and are needed to fulfill Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery programs -- include:

--$128 million for the Central Valley Project [1]. A significant portion is for ecosystem restoration, including $2.9 million for final work on the Red Bluff Pumping Plant and Fish Screen, which beings operation in 2012, and $14.1 million for the Trinity River Restoration Program.

-- $17.8 million for the Multi-Species Conservation Program within the lower Colorado River basin to provide long-term ESA compliance for river operations.

--$18.9 million for ESA recovery implementation programs, including $8 million to implement the Platte River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program and $8.4 million for the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery programs.

--$18.6 million for the Klamath Project, of which a significant portion is for environmental protection and restoration.

--$7.1 million for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which includes restoration activities in the Upper Klamath Basin to reduce conflicts over water that can be accomplished under existing authorities.

-- $36 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to continue funding fish and wildlife habitat restoration in the CVP service area of California.

-- $22.5 million for the Middle Rio Grande Project, including significant funds for the development of environmental activities developed through the ESA Collaborative Program.

-- $18 million for the Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project for the implementation of the Biological Opinions for the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Reclamation says it is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy's Power Marketing Administration to determine potential climate change effects on hydropower generation.

Other highlights relevant to the hydroelectric industry include:

-- $69.6 million for rural water projects, of which $51.6 million is for ongoing construction on seven rural water projects in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. This includes $18 million for the operation and maintenance of completed tribal features for two of the projects.

-- $87.5 million for the Dam Safety Program to continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities throughout Reclamation's inventory of dams. Corrective actions will continue or start at a number of facilities. Reclamation says a major focus continues to be modifications at Folsom Dam in California.

-- $26.9 million for security upgrades, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments at key Reclamation facilities.

A full copy of the 2013 budget is available for viewing on Reclamation's website.

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