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GLIN==> Congress passes WRDA conference report



 

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 invasive species.

 

§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 of $134,650,000.

 

 

 

 

Joy Mulinex

Great Lakes Task Force Director

Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) & George V. Voinovich (R-OH)

Northeast-Midwest Institute

(202) 224-1211