The Columbia River Basin Restoration Act - which will bring millions of dollars to the region to improve the river's water quality - is one step closer to becoming reality. Thursday, September 15, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the Act as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. The WRDA addresses critical fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and infrastructure needs in 18 states. If the Act becomes law, it will authorize a grant program administered by the U.S. EPA to help local groups voluntarily clean up, monitor, and reduce the use of toxics within the Columbia River Basin.
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley led the charge to include the CRBRA in the Water Resources Development Act. Merkley, along with Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and co-sponsors Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04) reintroduced the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act in 2015. We are grateful to them for their leadership.
Since 2009, the Estuary Partnership has worked with members of Congress to bring attention to the Columbia River and secure critical funding to improve the river's water quality and toxics reduction and clean up. The Columbia River is one of only two major EPA designated ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ to receive zero funding for clean-up pursuant to this designation.
The House of Representatives passed its own WRDA bill, which did not include the CRBRA. We are working with our representatives to add the CRBRA to WRDA during the conference committee process.