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Schumer, Clinton: Senate Authorizes Improvements To Upper Susquehanna River Basin Project

Project included in Water Resources Development Act approved by the Senate

Washington, DCSenators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee authorized an improvement under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) for the Upper Susquehanna River Basin (USRB) project. The bill will now be sent to a House and Senate Conference Committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

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 projects.

This funding is crucial for the local officials to work to restore the Upper Susquehanna, said Senator Schumer. The recent floods were truly horrific, and this money is a step in the right direction to ensure this never happens again.

The Susquehanna River is vitally important to the Southern Tier, Senator Clinton said. This bill will enable the Corps to better work with local partners to restore the Upper Susquehanna.

The Senators announced that the bill modifies an existing authorization for the Upper Susquehanna River Basin (USRB) project. This project was originally authorized in Section 567 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, and subsequently amended by Section 538 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000. The existing project includes authorization of $10 million for a study and the development and implementation of a strategy for using wetlands restoration, soil and water conservation practices, and nonstructural measures to reduce flood damage, improve water quality, and create wildlife habitat. The project is administered by the Baltimore District of the Corps and is located within a roughly 5000 square mile portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed within New York State.

The USRB involves both federal and nonfederal partners working in concert to achieve sound conservation goals, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, the State University of New York, the Upper Susquehanna Commission and the Clark Foundation.

The modification in the WRDA bill removes impediments to the Corps ability to work with cooperatively with nonprofit organizations. The Corps inability to do so under current law has hampered progress on the project. Congressman Boehlert included this provision in the House WRDA bill last year.