$1.32 Billion to be spent by Feds in Northwest dam tear-down, wildlands-related projects

In FY02, funding will total $1.32 billion, an increase of $120 million over FY01 and more than double the $637 million for similar programs in FY2000.


from The Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife News

This week, Congress passed a final interior spending bill with $26 million toward removal of two dams in Olympic National Park and at least
$14 million for Columbia Basin fish habitat and salmon enhancement in
the Northwest.

The FY02 appropriations measure for the Department of the Interior and
related agencies passed the House, 380-28, and the Senate, 95-3, on
Wednesday. The fiscal year began Oct. 1, and federal agencies have been operating at FY01 spending levels.

President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill, which is a
compromise between earlier versions passed separately by the House and
Senate. Appropriations committee members from the two bodies reached agreement on Oct. 10.

Elwha Dam Removal on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington Stats

Project  Location: Olympic Peninsula in Washington State
Project Sponsor: Agency
Start Date: 2002
End Date: 2007
Total Project Costs: $26,000,000.00
ESA related costs: $26,000,000.00
Delay due to ESA: none
Project Contact: Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash.
comments: In October of this year (2001), the U.S. Congress appropriated the Dept. of Interior $25.8 million for the multi-year Elwha River restoration project for engineering and design work leading to the eventual removal of two power producing dams.  


Discretionary spending for the Department of Interior, Forest Service
and related agencies will total $19.1 billion, an increase of $186
million above FY01 and about $800 million more than Bush requested in
his budget.

Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., ranking Democrat on the House interior
appropriations subcommittee, said that after adjusting for one-time
emergency wildfire funding, the bill provides an increase over the
current year of $803 million or 5 percent, compared to a 15 percent
increase last year for non-fire programs.

"While I certainly would have preferred a higher level of funding in
some of the key programs of this bill, I am encouraged by many elements
of the (House-Senate) compromise," Dicks said. He said the bill "does
not contain any objectionable (anti-environmental) riders like the ones
that have threatened the bill in past years."

In July, the Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.,
that would have overridden recent federal biological opinions protecting
two endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake and would have released
irrigation water to 1,400 farmers. The spending bill provides $1.7
million for fish and wildlife-related water supply and management
activities in Klamath Basin, which includes two national migratory bird
refuges on the Oregon-California border.

But environmental groups complained the final interior bill retained a
rider by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, barring any reduction in the number
of cruise ships allowed at Glacier Bay National Park for one year. A
Wilderness Society official said the provision will overturn a court
decision that required evaluation of potential impacts of an increase in
ship traffic on endangered humpback whales, air quality and noise

Congress earlier rejected a Bush administration request for a
legislative rider that would have imposed a one-year moratorium on
citizen enforcement of endangered species listing deadlines through the
courts. Since then, the Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental
groups have reached an out-of-court agreement setting a schedule and
priorities for new listing and critical habitat decisions.

The agency received $9 million to carry out court-ordered listing and
critical habitat activities, a $3 million increase. Overall, the final
bill increased the Fish and Wildlife Service's budget for resource
management to $850.6 million, $43.8 million above FY01. National
wildlife refuges and wildlife programs received an increase of $23
million, to $399 million.

Despite budget constraints, Congress approved record funding for parks,
land and wildlife conservation, federal and state land acquisition,
coastal and ocean protection, historic preservation and payments to
states and counties in lieu of property taxes.

Dicks said the commitment to fully funding the Conservation,
Preservation and Infrastructure Improvement Trust Fund was "the most
important thing to me in this bill and to many of my colleagues." The
six-year, $12 billion program was initiated last year by Congress as
part of the FY01 interior spending bill, with revenue from federal
off-shore oil leases.

In FY02, funding will total $1.32 billion, an increase of $120 million
over FY01 and more than double the $637 million for similar programs in

"I am extremely pleased," Dicks said this week. "This six-year effort
represents the most significant increase ever approved for conservation
spending across federal environmental accounts that will boost land
acquisition, maintenance and wildlife habitat protection in national
parks, forests and refuge areas."

Sue Gunn, director of the Wilderness Society's national parks program,
said the bill "represents a solid victory for conservation funding,
especially in these leaner times."

Second-year amounts include:

-- $429 million for federal land acquisition, including $4.25 million
for the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Streams program;

-- $144 million for state Land and Water Conservation Fund grants;

-- $96.2 million for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation

-- $85 million for state wildlife grants;

-- $65 million for the Forest Legacy program;

-- $50 million for two new landowner habitat conservation and
stewardship incentive programs requested by Bush, under the Fish and
Wildlife Service;

-- $43.5 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund.

The bill also includes $25.8 million for the multi-year Elwha River
restoration project for engineering and design work leading to the
eventual removal of two dams. Dicks said the National Park Service
project eventually will restore one of the most historically-robust
salmon runs on the Olympic Peninsula.

Another $14 million was included for restoration of endangered and
threatened salmon and other fish throughout the Pacific Northwest
region, he said. The Fish and Wildlife Service will use the funds for
fish habitat enhancement and protection, research on Bull Trout habitat,
hatchery reform and salmon habitat protection grants in Washington

In the budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $4 million was earmarked
for Washington state's Timber Fish and Wildlife program, which funds
tribal health, salmon and economic development initiatives.

But the final bill reduced funding to help Columbia Basin irrigation
districts install fish screens on water diversions to $4 million, $1
million less than the Senate-passed version. The program was authorized
by congress last year.

The University of Idaho will receive $100,000 for research on Columbia
and Snake River salmon and steelhead recovery and genetics.

The bill also contains an unprecedented $2.2 billion to implement the
national wildland fire plan, including:

-- $903 million for preparedness;

-- $682.7 million for fire suppression;

-- $395 million for hazardous fuel reduction, primarily in the
urban-wildland interface;

-- $102.7 million for restoration and rehabilitation of burned and
degraded ecosystems and reduction of invasive species.


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