WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey announced final passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA). The WRDA legislation provides authorization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study water resource problems and construct projects consistent with their mission. The 2007 conference report contains several projects of particular importance for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“I am pleased that Congress has recognized the importance of these Pennsylvania water projects,” said Specter. “Securing WRDA authorization represents a key step in maintaining the state’s navigation systems and providing flood control measures for affected regions.”
“Passing the first Water Resources Development Act in seven years is great news for Pennsylvania,” said Casey. “This bill prioritizes a number of projects important for safety and commerce in the Commonwealth.”
Once authorized through WRDA, the Corps’ projects are eligible for funding through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bills. The bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.
The 2007 WRDA contains authorization for the following Pennsylvania projects:
$50 million for construction of Solomon Creek Flood Protection in Luzerne County. The flood protection construction will take place along Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre and will be incorporated into the existing Wyoming Valley Levee Raising project. The City of Wilkes-Barre has experienced significant flooding and extensive damages from Solomon Creek many times over the past decades, including 1972, 1975, 1985, 1996, 2004 and, most recently, in June 2006.
$44.5 million for construction of the Bloomsburg Flood Control Project in Columbia County. Residents of Bloomsburg have continually been subject to the risks of flooding from both the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek. This project involves the construction of earthen levees, concrete floodwalls and closure structures that will stretch for three miles and protect 550 homes and 32 businesses, including the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.
$3.1 million for Ohio River Navigation Technology Pilot Program in Allegheny County for a pilot program at the Port of Pittsburgh that will implement technologies to facilitate communications between tow boats and lock facilities. The program seeks to increase lock efficiency and safety in periods of low visibility on the Ohio River. The Port of Pittsburgh loses 11 days per year due to barges not being able to navigate through locks in periods of heavy fog.
$3 million for Beaver Creek Reservoir in Clarion County for projects related to water supply at the Beaver Creek Reservoir in Beaver and Salem Townships.
Ingham Spring Dam in Bucks County: authorizes the Corps to enhance dam safety at Ingham Spring Dam.
Stillwater Lake Dam in Monroe County: authorizes the Corps to enhance dam safety at Stillwater Lake Dam.
Delaware, Susquehanna and Potomac River Basin Commissions: authorizes federal funds for the three mid-Atlantic river basin commissions. Funding is needed to provide the federal government’s contribution to the river basin commissions, regional bodies which seek to manage the water resources under watershed management and planning principles. Funding amounts to be determined according to the respective interstate compacts that established each commission.