Rep. Huffman Secures Local Priorities in Water Resources Development Act
Washington, D.C.- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 today, including key North Coast and environmental priorities authored by Congressman Huffman (D-San Rafael), a member of the committee. The bill will next head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
The bipartisan WRDA 2018 legislation authorizes Army Corps of Engineers activities across the country, including two important provisions authored by Huffman: one to start the process to raise the Coyote Valley Dam at Lake Mendocino, and another to improve reservoir operations there by using modern science and weather forecasting.
“Today’s vote shows that there is bipartisan support for modernizing the Army Corps’ work at our ports, harbors, reservoirs, and waterways,” said Rep. Huffman. “In addition to important national policy fixes, this WRDA bill delivers on two key North Coast priorities: jump-starting a long-overdue feasibility study for raising Coyote Valley Dam, and moving ahead with much-needed reservoir operation modernization at Lake Mendocino.
The bipartisan WRDA bill includes a provision to expedite completion of the feasibility study for raising Coyote Valley Dam, which was authorized in the last WRDA in 2014. It also directs the Army Corps to proceed with pre-construction activities if the project is found to be justified. Raising the dam, as originally planned, could yield additional water storage capacity of nearly 200,000 acre feet. Doing so would not only expand water supply in the area, but the increase storage coupled with modernization of reservoir operations could contribute significantly to ecosystem restoration benefits in the Russian River.
The bill also includes a provision that would require a report to Congress on the ongoing pilot program for forecast-informed reservoir operations at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma, setting a deadline for the Army Corps to move forward in the Russian River and provide insights into expanding forecast-informed operations modernization to other Army Corps reservoirs across the nation.
Huffman also supported national provisions in the bill, including:
- Use of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to Support Navigation - Provides that revenues in the existing Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund ("HMIF") will become directly available to the Secretary for authorized maintenance dredging activities at Federal harbors in Fiscal Year 2029, and would no longer be subject to the annual appropriations process.
- Integrated Water Resources Planning - Encourages enhanced coordination between the Corps and municipalities to encourage consideration of locally developed plans for stormwater management, water quality improvement, aquifer recharge, or water reuse.