PDF _ RS21331 - Everglades Restoration: Modified Water Deliveries Project
23-Aug-2005; Pervaze A. Sheikh; 6 p.

Update: nov 11, 2005

Prvious: /nle/crsreports/05mar/RS21331.pdf

Most Recent Developments:

The Modified Waters Deliveries Project(Mod Waters) is being implemented by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in southern Florida. (See Figure 1.) For FY2006, the Administration has requested a total of $60 million for the project: $35 million through the Corps and $25 million through the Department of the Interior.

The President's request for the Everglades has drawn attention because of a proposed change in the funding of Mod Waters. The request called for the Corps to broaden its role by jointly funding the project with the Department of Interior, which previously had solely funded the project. This raises the question of whether the Corps is authorized to receive CRS-2 1 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, News Release, ¨FY2006 Interior Budget Emphasizes Commitments, Cooperative Efforts, Performance and Fiscal Restraint,¨ Feb. 7, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2005 at [http://www.doi.gov/news/05_News_Releases/050207a]. 2 For more information, see CRS Report RL32131, Phosphorus Mitigation in the Everglades, by Pervaze Sheikh and Barbara Johnson. appropriations to work on the project. The Administration?s position appears to be for the Corps to pay for roughly two-thirds of the remaining $191 million required to complete the project from FY2006-FY2009.1 The Interior Appropriations Act for FY2006 provides $25 million for Mod Waters and conditions this funding to the appropriation of matching funding for the Corps (P.L. 109 54). Corps funding for Mod Waters for FY2006 is not yet determined. The House version of the Energy and Water Appropriations (H.R. 2419) provides $35 million and the in H.Rept. 109-86 the Committee states that the Corps has sufficient authority to receive and expend funds to proceed with project construction. The Senate version of H.R. 2419 does not fund Mod Waters, and according to S.Rept. 109-84, the Senate Appropriations Committee ?does not believe sufficient current authorization exists for the Corps to fund the work.?

A provision in the Interior Appropriations Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-54) conditions funding for Mod Waters on meeting state water quality standards. This provision cites provisions in the FY2004 Interior Appropriations Act, which states that funds appropriated for Mod Waters will be provided unless the Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Army, Administrator of the EPA, and Attorney General indicate in a joint report (to be filed annually until December 31, 2006) that water entering the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park does not meet state water quality standards, and the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations respond in writing disapproving the further expenditure of funds.2

Abstract: The Modified Water Deliveries Project (Mod Waters) is a controversial ecological restoration project in south Florida designed to improve water delivery to Everglades National Park. The implementation schedule of Mod Waters is of interest to Congress partly because its completion is required before the implementation of portions of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Concerns have been raised in hearings on the Administration's FY2006 budget request regarding the cost of implementing the project and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? authority to fund the project. Further, due to concerns regarding phosphorus pollution in the Everglades, Congress enacted a provision in the FY2004, FY2005, and FY2006 Interior Appropriations Acts that conditions funding for Mod Waters on meeting state water quality standards. In addition, the use of eminent domain to acquire land for a flood mitigation plan adjacent to the park has been contentious. Several landowners who were unwilling to sell their land obtained a ruling in federal court that prevented further land acquisitions in the area. The Corps appealed this decision, and Congress authorized a plan, which included land acquisition, in the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution for FY2003 (P.L. 108- 7). This report provides background on Mod Waters and discusses issues relating to its current status, funding, and land acquisition needs. This report will be updated as warranted. [read report]

Topics: Wetlands, Water

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