FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2007
Schumer, Clinton: Authorization Of $30 Million For Improvements To Susquehanna River And Upper Delaware River Watershed Now Sent To President For Signature
Senate Approves Final Conference Report for Water Resources Development Act—Now Sent to President for Signature
Washington, DC — Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Senate has approved the final conference report for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which authorizes $30 million to study and implement improvements to the Susquehanna and Upper Delaware River Watershed. The bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.
The Water Resources Development Act authorizes Corps of Engineers civil works projects, including navigation, ecosystem restoration and shoreline protection projects. Under the authorizations, the Corps partners with local sponsors to conduct the project. A project authorization in WRDA is a necessary first step towards securing funding in an appropriations bill at a later date.
"This is huge news for the Southern Tier,” said Schumer. “This region has been repeatedly hammered storms that caused massive flooding and damage to homes and businesses. Last year's floods were a shocking wake-up call to shore up our flood protection systems. With this critical funding Army Corps will now have the resources they need to take action to prevent future flood damage.”
"The Southern Tier has had more that its fair share of flooding, and is all too familiar with the substantial damages it can cause. However, we have also learned how valuable watershed management and dam safety are in protecting property and minimizing the damage that can be caused during disasters like severe storms and flooding,” said Senator Clinton. “Senate approval will ensure that the Federal Government is a partner in the process, and will also take some of the financial burden off the local authorities. We want to do what we can to help local our communities prepare for the future and this is the next step in enabling the Corps to better work with local partners to restore the watershed and prevent these kinds of problems in the future."
The Susquehanna and Upper Delaware River provision in WRDA will authorize the Corps to work with New York State and local governments to develop a watershed management plan for the Susquehanna and Upper Delaware River watershed and to carry out flood mitigation and ecosystem restoration projects that are consistent with the plan. The types of projects that can be carried out under the provision include bank stabilization, wetland restoration, soil and water conservation, and flood damage reduction. The provision authorizes $30 million for these purposes, with a 65/35 cost share between the Corps and non-federal sponsors. The provision streamlines the process by which the Corps studies and conducts flood mitigation projects. After developing a watershed management plan, the Corps will be able to move forward on projects without a new authorization from Congress—a step that is usually required, and which often adds years to the time it takes to complete projects.