Coalitions Sends Letter to Congress Over Mo. River Funding

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Coalitions Sends Letter to Congress Over Mo. River Funding

Postby feathhd » Wed May 07, 2014 6:21 pm

Respectfully submitted by: The Izaak Walton League of America
The Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Committee on Appropriations, SD-184
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Concerning: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY 2015 Funding for the Missouri River Recovery Program

We the undersigned groups urge your support of an increase in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ budget request from $48,771,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2015 to the Corps’ capability level of $70 million for the Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP).
The requested amount of $48,771,000 would be the smallest MRRP budget in years, at a time when more, not less, funding is needed.
The MRRP is the nation’s largest restoration effort on America’s longest river. The Missouri River basin encompasses 530,000 square miles and covers part or all of ten states. Increased funding for the MRRP is urgently needed and warranted to recover and restore critical aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Increasing funding in the MRRP will not only recover the river but also enhance flood control, increase job creation, improve economic growth, and advance recreational opportunities for families throughout the basin.
The Corps’ capability of $70 million for the MRRP in FY 2015 reflects the nation’s priorities for investments that fund development, management, restoration, as well as needed protection of our invaluable water and related resources. An increase in MRRP funding to this level will continue successful projects such as the Schilling Wildlife Management Area and the Cooper Nuclear Power Station in Nebraska, Hamburg Bend in Iowa, and the Gunderson Backwater Project in South Dakota.These projects demonstrate that MRRP efforts can achieve the goals of restoring habitat while the river’s authorized purposes continue.
Restoration efforts have triggered huge job growth in other areas of the country. Similar economic impact can occur throughout the Missouri River Basin if the funding for the MRRP is increased and the restoration efforts move forward.
An average of $2 billion in benefits occurs annually from the Corps’ current operation of the Missouri River.  The MRRP is designed to address requirements for the loss of habitat from the day to day operation for the eight authorized purposes as required in the Biological Opinion, the Water Resource Development Acts of 1986, 1999, and 2007 and the 1958 Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.
Missouri River restoration will provide long-term economic and environmental benefits and improve opportunities for more families to enjoy the Missouri River. We respectfully ask for your support for funding the full $70 million capability for the Missouri River Recovery Program in the FY 15 budget.
We also urge you to oppose any provision that restricts future funding for the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan (MRERP) and the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS).
The MRERP is needed to complete the restoration of one of America’s greatest rivers with crucial involvement of stakeholders and local government entities.
The MRAPS was started and needs to be completed so, for the first time since passage of the 1944 Flood Control Act, the people of the basin will be able to help determine the current and future needs of the Missouri River instead of what was envisioned seven decades ago.
We sincerely thank you for your time and consideration.
American Rivers
Audubon Society
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Endangered Habitats League
Friends of Lake Sakakawea – North Dakota
Iowa Rivers Revival
Izaak Walton League of America
Jim Becic, Environmental Coordinator–Papio Natural Resource District–Omaha, NE
Lincoln, NE Chapter – Izaak Walton League of America
Missouri Audubon
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Missouri Valley Group – Sierra Club
Missouri Valley Waterfowlers Association – Iowa
Nebraska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
Nebraska Chapter of the Sierra Club
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Nebraska Wildlife Federation
North Dakota Wildlife Federation
Rapid City Chapter – Izaak Walton League of America
Sierra Club
South Dakota Chapter – Sierra Club
South Dakota Wildlife Federation
The Conservation Fund
The Living River Group of the Sierra Club
Wachiska Audubon Society – Lincoln, NE
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