Walsh, Tester fight for key provisions in major water legislation that will benefit Montana
Senators highlight aspects that will have positive results across Montana
(U.S. SENATE) – Senators John Walsh and Jon Tester this week hailed the passage of the Water Resources Development Act that contains key provisions that are essential for Montana’s rivers, water supply, and agriculture community.
“In protecting our outdoor heritage and important tourism jobs, we must make smart investments in water infrastructure and conservation measures,” said Walsh. “The bill that passed this week will not only reduce the effects of extreme weather conditions by rewarding smart made-in-Montana river projects, they will save money through commonsense planning and prevention.”
“Investing in clean water builds stronger rural communities that are positioned to grow and create jobs,” Tester said. “This bill turns challenges into opportunities by helping communities across Montana plan for disaster, manage their resources and invest in new water systems.”
In March, Walsh and Tester wrote to Sen. Boxer, chairwoman of the committee overseeing the development of the Water Resources Development Act. In their letter, the Senators demanded that two Montana-made provisions be included in the final version of the bill that passed the U.S. Senate this week. The two provisions will:
• Restore headwater floodplains, restore in-stream flow, and map channel migration zones across Montana, building on the work of local landowners and conservation partners
• Reduce the impacts of extreme weather such as floods and drought on landowners, farmers and ranchers, fish and wildlife, and taxpayers
• Invest in watercraft inspections to forgo avoidable costs from zebra and quagga mussels in the Columbia River Basin
• Prevent invasion of exotic species that can decimate waterways and adjacent lands
• Save taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent on eradication and control efforts of invasive mussels
The bill also increases funding for rural drinking water systems, clarifies the inspection and certification process for flood levees constructed by the Corps of Engineers in Montana, expands financing for large regional and tribal drinking water projects, and requires greater consultation with local stakeholders for the reconstruction of the Intake Dam near Glendive.