Biden-Harris Administration allocates over $51 million for aquatic ecosystem restoration across eight states.
- January 11, 2024
- Posted by: Sinead Sprigg
- Category: Corporate, Environmental, Investment and Finance, Water Issues, North America
The Biden-Harris Administration has unveiled a funding initiative of more than $51 million to support 18 projects across eight states, aimed at restoring and safeguarding aquatic ecosystems. The funding, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will be allocated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program.
These collaborative projects will focus on studying, designing, and constructing ecosystem restoration initiatives, with a broader goal of enhancing regional benefits, improving fisheries’ health, and facilitating better fish passage. The announcement was made by Secretary Deb Haaland, who highlighted the administration’s commitment to nature-based solutions that address local water supplies and support wildlife and habitats.
“Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are advancing nature-based solutions that benefit local water supplies, and the wildlife and habitats that support them,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Interior Department continues to advance water solutions that are environmentally and economically sound for the American West.”
The Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton emphasised the benefits of the projects, citing improvements in climate resilience, ecosystem restoration, and water quality. “The work to restore and protect the habitat for fish and wildlife also helps to improve water quality and mitigate impacts of drought and potential flood events” said Commissioner Touton.
One notable project is the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s $20 million endeavor to create a wetland and habitat within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This initiative aims to improve water quality and protect the spawning area for the endangered razorback sucker in Las Vegas Bay, addressing critical environmental concerns in the region.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, touted as the largest investment in climate resilience in U.S. history, focuses on enhancing Western communities’ ability to cope with drought and climate change. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to invest $8.3 billion over five years in various water infrastructure projects, encompassing rural water, water storage, conservation, nature-based solutions, dam safety, water purification, reuse, and desalination.
In the first two years of implementation, the Bureau of Reclamation has selected 421 projects to receive over $2.9 billion, showcasing a commitment to addressing pressing environmental challenges. The chosen projects under the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program span states like California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
These initiatives include habitat restoration projects, fish passage enhancements, erosion control measures, and wastewater reclamation efforts.