June 29, 2005

Senate Approves Funds for Oregon Natural Resource Projects

Wyden, Smith secured dollars for forest management,wildlife refuge improvement and other projects

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) today announced full Senate approval of more than $9 million in funding for Oregon natural resource projects in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2006, and approval of an additional $2.5 million for projects in which Oregon will participate. After the passage this evening by the Senate, the Fiscal Year 2006 Interior Appropriations bill moves to a conference committee to work out differences between Senate and House versions of the legislation. "The economies of Oregon's rural communities will benefit from these funds, and these dollars will go a long way toward preserving Oregon's natural beauty and many water resources," said Wyden. "Ensuring efficient management of resources and responsible environmental stewardship means that Oregon's natural treasures and thriving tourist industry will be around for many years to come." "This bill is a Federal commitment to Oregon's small towns and rural way of life," said Smith. "The natural resource projects included in this legislation strike a good balance between environmental stewardship, scientific study and economic stimulus." Following is a list of Oregon projects funded by the bill: • The Fish and Wildlife Service would receive $6 million for the acquisition of the Barnes tract property as part of the Upper Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The funding would also be used for the restoration of both the Barnes tract and the Bureau of Reclamation Agency Lake Ranch, in addition to the construction of a connection between the parcel of land and the lake to aid in water storage for Klamath Basin agriculture and wildlife. • $1.6 million would be provided for land acquisition by the Bureau of Land Management on the Sandy River. This would assist in the creation of a free-flowing river from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River Gorge. • The Forest Service would receive $1 million for the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed study to investigate the effects of contemporary forestry practices on water quality, fisheries and aquatic habitat at the scale of a complete watershed. • $650,000 would be provided to the Forest Service to acquire the 640-acre Mendieta tract, which straddles one mile of the North Fork Owyhee National Wild and Scenic River. The tract is the only parcel of privately-owned riverfront property within the Owyhee Canyon lands conservation area. The bill also provides additional funds that Oregon will share with other states: • $2 million for land acquisition in the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia Gorge is the second-most recognized Lewis and Clark attraction in the country. Oregon will share in these funds with the state of Washington. • $500,000 for land acquisition for the Pacific Crest Trail. Oregon will share in these funds with California and the state of Washington.