Saturday, 03 December 2022

House authorizes Middle Creek Restoration Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. Lake County's Middle Creek Restoration Project took a step toward becoming a reality Thursday.


On Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed a final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA), according to Congressman Mike Thompson's office.


The legislation authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to construct $21 billion in flood protection ane ecosystem restoration projects, and improve the nation's rivers and harbors.


The bill, the National Audubon Society reported, includes an unprecedented $5.5 billion in funding for ecosystem restoration on the Mississippi, coastal Louisiana, and for the Great Lakes and the Everglades.


WRDA also authorizes the Corps to design and construct the Middle Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project, as Lake County News previously reported.


The legislation states that the Middle Creek project will cost $45.2 million, with an estimated federal cost of $29,500,000 and an estimated non-federal cost of $15,700,000.


Bob Lossius, Lake County's assistant director of Public Works, said in a previous interview with Lake County News that the county was only seeking $1.2 million at this time to get the project started.


"Restoring Middle Creek will improve our area's protection from flooding," said Thompson in a statement issued shortly after the House vote. "It will also have a very positive effect on the wetlands surrounding Clearlake.”


The project will restore 1,200 acres of wetlands and 500 acres of floodplain in the Clear Lake area. It entails reconnecting the Scotts Creek and Middle Creek to the historic Robinson Lake wetland and floodplain.


The Scotts and Middle Creek watersheds provide 57 percent of the water flow into Clear Lake.


No WRDA bill has been passed since 2000, a fact that's been attributed to a desire to reform the Corps' policies and prevent pork barrel politics, as Lake County News previously reported.


The House passed a version of the WRDA bill in April, with the Senate passing its version the following month.


The bill then went to conference committee, where the differences in the House and Senate bills were worked out, according to GovTrack.us. WRDA then headed back to the two chambers for final approval.


The House's Thursday vote was 381-40 in favor of the bill.


The Senate has yet to consider and approve its final version of WRDA, but it could happen as soon as this week, Thompson's office reported. The bill would then go to the president.

 

But even if the bill gets through the Senate, it's not home free.


In May, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy that reported President Bush was opposed to the bill.


He has since renewed his threat to veto the bill, which has groups from the Louisiana Congressional delegation to the National Audubon Society asking him to reconsider.


Some members of Congress – including those from Louisiana – have stated that they have enough votes in Congress to override a possible veto.

 

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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