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Obama seeks $18 million for Klamath Project. BOR pursues government financial support for new office
by LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 2/6/15
     A federal budget request released earlier this week calls for $18 million to manage the Klamath Project and resources associated with it.  

   The sum is part of President Barack Obama’s $1.1 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The budget request was released Tuesday.

   “President Obama’s budget for Reclamation reflects a strong commitment to our ongoing mission of effectively managing water and power in the West,” said BOR Commissioner Estevan López.

   According to the BOR budget justification, the $18 million slated for the Klamath Project includes funds for improving water supplies and for better meeting competing demands of agricultural, tribal, wildlife refuge and environmental stakeholders. Another $1.5 million will be contributed from other entities, bringing the BOR’s budget to $19.5 million, according to the justification.

   The Klamath Project, managed by the BOR Klamath Basin Area Office, provides irrigation water to 200,000 acres of agricultural land and national wildlife refuges within the Project boundaries. The BOR is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power, according to a release.

   The 2016 budget requests $5.2 million for water and energy management and development:

   $200,000 for Klamath Project operations planning that will provide direction for Endangered Species Act, Indian trust and irrigation contracts.  

   • $100,000 for water conservation activities.

   $806,000 for water rights administration and the BOR’s continued representation in the adjudication process.

   $1.4 million for water quality monitoring. Data will analyze effect of Project operations on endangered fish, wildlife refuges and other resources.

   $693,000 for power development and continued investigations into providing affordable power for on and off-Project agricultural users.  

   • $2 million for water resources initiative and studying innovative, market-based means of reducing water conflicts.

   “Reclamation will continue investigating affordable power options through the Comprehensive Agricultural Power Plan (CAPP),” Deputy KBAO Area Manager Terri Reaves said in an email.  

   The CAPP committee, formed in August 2014, aims to identify and evaluate affordable power options bargained for in the 2010 Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

   The budget requests $6.8 million for fish and wildlife management development:

   $100,000 for Klamath Basin fish studies, including the feasibility of restoring river and lake connectivity.

   $3.3 million for Endangered Species Act compliance. Includes sucker and coho monitoring and analyzing impacts of Klamath Project operations on endangered fish.  

   • $2.7 million for continued engagement in government-to-government interaction with Klamath Basin Tribes.

   $735,000 for water quality monitoring.

   The budget requests $1.4 million for land management development, including approximately 1,200 miles of federally owned rights-of-way that are managed to control trespass and usage for easements, conveyance and winter water, according to the budget justification.

   The budget requests $3.2 million for maintaining KBAO facility operations, including design and construction of a new office building for the KBAO, according to the justification. The new building will combine office space currently in four separate locations into one and meet current seismic, energy and  space utilization, the document said.

   Another $1.4 million is requested for KBAO facility maintenance and rehabilitation.  

    ljarrell@heraldandnews.com  ; @LMJatHandN



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