Both the House and Senate have passed the Water Resources
Development Act (WRDA) conference report. The bill (H.R. 1495) can be found at
http://thomas.loc.gov/, and it must still
be signed by the President before becoming law. This bill, which authorizes the
Corps of Engineers to conduct work, includes the following provisions which
impact the Great Lakes.
§2020 Aquatic Ecosystem & Estuary
Restoration: Modifies the existing authority to increases the
authorization of appropriations levels for this national program and to include
dam removal projects. This authority is used throughout the Great
Lakes to restore and protect the environment.
§2024 Modification of Projects for
Improvement of the Quality of the Environment: Modifies the
existing authority to increase the authorization of appropriations level for
this program to $40 million. While a national program, this authority is used
throughout the Great Lakes including projects
utilizing sea lamprey dispersal barriers to prevent the spread of this aquatic
§2029 Budgeting for Harbor Dredging
Projects: Because two-thirds of shipping begins or ends at small
harbors, it is the sense of Congress that the Corps’ budget should
incorporate all available economic data rather than focus on a single metric
such as the amount of cargo being moved.
§3061 Dispersal Barrier on Chicago River: Converts the existing dispersal
barrier (Barrier I) into a permanent barrier at full federal expense.
Completes construction of the second barrier (Barrier II) at full federal
expense. Any states that provided funds to the effort will be reimbursed through
cost sharing of other projects in their state, and both barriers will be
operated and maintained at full federal expense. The Corps will also conduct a
feasibility study on ways to prevent the spread of invasives between the Great
Lakes and Mississippi River.
§ 3074 St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair: Authorizes
$20 million for the environmental restoration of the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair. The pollution in Lake
St. Clair and the St. Clair River has gone unaddressed for too
long. By authorizing this project, which would use a collaboratively-developed
cleanup plan, federal resources would be utilized more efficiently.
§3091 Locks in Sault Ste. Marie: Waives the
non-federal cost-share for the construction of the second
“Poe-sized” lock at Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
§4001 John Glenn Great Lakes Basin Program: Allows in-kind contributions to
satisfy the non-federal cost share requirement of a recreational boating study
being carried out by the Commission and the Corps as part of the John Glenn
Great Lakes Basin Program.
§5011 Great Lakes
Fishery and Ecosystems Restoration Program: Clarifies the
existing program authority that a reconnaissance study is to be performed at
full federal expense. Under this program, the Corps cooperates with other
agencies to plan, implement and evaluate projects supporting the restoration of
the fishery, ecosystem and beneficial uses of the Great
Lakes. Also clarifies that in-kind contributions may be used to
satisfy the non-federal cost share requirement.
§5012 Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans
and Sediment Remediation Program: Extends authorization of the
Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans and Sediment Remediation Program, in which
the Corps provides technical support to states and Remedial Action Plan
committees so that the United
States can meet its international
obligations, to 2011. Through the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the
United States and Canada agreed to develop remedial action plans
(RAPs) for the Areas of Concern, 26 of which are wholly located in the United States.
§5013 Great Lakes Tributary Models Program: Extends
the authorization of the Great Lakes Sediment Management Program, which calls
for the Corps to develop sediment transport models for Great
Lakes tributaries, to 2011. These computer models simulate the erosion,
transport and deposition of sediments within a watershed, and can be used to
evaluate the effectiveness of soil conservation and other source control
measures on the loadings of sediments and sediment contaminants to Great Lakes harbors and navigation channels.
§5014 Great Lakes Navigation and Protection: Directs
the Corps to expedite the operation and maintenance, including dredging, of the
Great Lakes commercial navigation channels and
infrastructure. Directs the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, in
coordination with the Corps and other federal agencies, to carry out a pilot
project to control and prevent further spreading of viral hemorrhagic
septicemia in the Great Lakes.
§5015 St. Lawrence Seaway: Allows the
St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to carry out repair and
rehabilitation projects, including associated maintenance dredging, of the
Eisenhower and Snell lock facilities and related navigational infrastructure
for the Saint Lawrence Seaway, at a total cost
Great Lakes Task Force Director
Senators Carl Levin
(D-MI) & George V. Voinovich (R-OH)