Bipartisan WRDA 2020 Voted Favorably Out of Committee, Heads to House Floor for a Vote
– Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure voted the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020) favorably out of Committee, where it now heads to the House Floor for a vote.
This legislation provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carry out water resources development projects and studies, as well as policy direction to the Corps for implementation of its Civil Works missions.
“I am pleased that today the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bipartisan WRDA bill by voice vote, which is now headed the House Floor for a vote,” said Chair DeFazio. “One of my top priorities in Congress has been protecting the small ports and harbors that are the lifeblood of Oregon’s coastal communities. By doubling funding for small harbors, WRDA 2020 makes sure that maintenance dredging and other projects like the Coos Bay North Jetty are well funded, ensuring the safety of our mariners and preserving the viability of our ports. Additionally, this bill takes serious action to protect and restore the habitat of endangered salmon and steelhead by directly investing in habitat restoration, protecting water in the Willamette Basin exclusively for conservation purposes, and finding ways to restore salmon access to pristine spawning territory above Cougar and Detroit Dams. I am thankful to Chair Napolitano and Ranking Members Graves and Westerman for their work to move forward this important legislation that will help unleash the full potential of our nation’s ports and harbors, protect our communities and environment, sustain U.S. jobs, and provide critical authorizations and improvements to Corps projects.”
Congress has successfully enacted three consecutive bipartisan WRDAs, in 2014, 2016, and 2018. With WRDA 2020, we continue this positive track record and show that WRDA still works.
WRDA 2020 includes numerous provisions that benefit southwestern Oregon including:
- Doubling dedicated funding to small harbors, like the Port of Gold Beach and Port of Siuslaw, and allowing those funds to be used for additional purposes including the dredging of marinas;
- Directing the Army Corps of Engineers to provide further information on design solutions for the Port of Port Orford Breakwater, which has contributed to shoaling at the port;
- Authorizing a study of siltation at the Port of Bandon to improve navigation and safety;
- Authorizing a new program for ecosystem restoration to benefit salmon and steelhead and giving these projects equal priority to other ecosystem restoration projects;
- Studying the removal of power generation at Detroit and Cougar Dams to reduce costs to public power agencies and potentially open miles of pristine salmon habitat upstream of the dams;
- Allocating water stored in the Willamette Basin dams to meet the needs of agriculture, municipal, and conservation uses for the next 50 years; and
- Transferring ownership of the Leaburg Fish Hatchery on the McKenzie River to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
More information, including bill text, can be found here.