Supporting Tribal Nations
Contact: Dan DuBray, 202-513-0574
In FY 2014, Reclamation will enhance support of tribal nations, most notably through the establishment of an Indian Water Rights Settlement account. Further, in FY 2014 Reclamation continues to undertake a variety of other water-related activities to support Tribal Nations. These activities include projects and actions to implement Indian water rights settlements, technical assistance to tribes, and ecosystem restoration and rural water projects with a tribal nexus. A summary of the Indian Water Rights Settlements (IWRS) account and a list of other projects and programs benefiting Tribes follow.
Indian Water Rights Settlements Account
The FY 2014 Budget proposes $78.7 million to establish an IWRS account. Of this amount, $18.2 million is for implementation of four water rights settlements contained in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-291): the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act (AZ); the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act (MT); the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Act (NM); and the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act covering the Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque Pueblos Tribes (NM). The four Indian water rights settlements will provide permanent water supplies and offer economic security for the tribes and pueblos described above. The agreements will build and improve reservation water systems, rehabilitate irrigation projects, construct a regional multi-pueblo water system, and codify water-sharing arrangements between Indian and neighboring communities. In addition to the four settlements, the account includes a request of $60.5 million for the implementation of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, authorized by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-11), which is a key element of the Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement on the San Juan River (NM). This project will provide a reliable and sustainable municipal, industrial, and domestic water supply from the San Juan River to 43 Chapters of the Navajo Nation.
Animas La Plata Project (CO, NM)
The Animas-La Plata Project request for FY 2014 includes funding for continued life cycle operation and maintenance of facilities as well as the associated wetland and wildlife mitigation lands.
Nez Perce/Columbia-Snake River Salmon Recovery (ID, OR, WA)
The FY 2014 budget requests $18 million for salmon recovery, of which $6.4 million is for the Nez Perce Water Rights Settlement. Reclamation will acquire up to 487,000 acre-feet of water from willing sellers for Snake River flow augmentation to help offset Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) impacts [a requirement of the Upper Snake Biological Opinion (BiOp)] and to meet Reclamation obligations under the Nez Perce Water Rights Settlement. In total, 13 species of anadromous fish (salmon and steelhead) have been listed by NOAA Fisheries and two non-anadromous species (Kootenai River white sturgeon and bull trout) have been listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Columbia River Basin affected by operation of the FCRPS. The 2008/2010 Supplemental FCRPS BiOp is the latest BiOp issued in response to litigation and also represents unprecedented collaboration with States and Tribes in the Columbia River Basin. This 2008/2010 Supplemental BiOp requires extensive actions to ensure that operation of the FCRPS by the agencies is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species, or to adversely modify or destroy their designated critical habitats. Reclamation actions include modifications to hydrosystem operations, and specific actions to improve tributary habitat and hatcheries for salmon and steelhead. Reclamation entered, along with the other action agencies, into multiple 10-year memoranda of agreement with three states and seven tribes to support the 2008/2010 Supplemental FCRPS BiOp and anadromous fish. This program also funds Reclamation actions included in those agreements.
Arizona Water Settlements Act
The Secretary of the Interior is required to deliver annually up to 16,000 acre feet of Central Arizona Project water to the Schuk Toak District and 50,000 acre feet of water to the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'Odham Nation (Nation) at no cost to the Nation or Districts. The Secretary is also required to deliver annually up to 311,800 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water to the Gila River Indian Community (Community). The Act established the Lower Colorado River Basin Development Fund (Development Fund) as the funding source to pay the CAP fixed OM&R cost to deliver this water supply and to fund the obligation to construct settlement approved infrastructure for the Nation and the Community. The Development Fund is also available to meet many other obligations established by the Act. Reclamation was allowed to begin using the Development Fund to meet these obligations beginning in calendar year 2010. (There is no FY 2014 President's Budget Request for this project.)
Ak-Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act Project
The Ak-Chin Settlement Act facilitates delivery of Colorado River water through the Central Arizona Project to 16,000 acres of irrigated lands on the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation. The Act requires that this water be delivered at no cost to the Ak-Chin Community. The FY 2014 request of $12.4 million continues the operation and maintenance functions and repairs to the delivery canal associated with the delivery of 89,500 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water to the Ak-Chin Community.
Native American Affairs Program
The request includes $7.4 million for the Native American Affairs Program to continue support of Reclamation activities with Indian Tribes. These activities include providing technical support for Indian water rights settlements; assisting tribal governments to develop, manage, and protect their water and related resources; and supporting Indian self-governance and self-determination programs.
There are a number of other Reclamation projects that also support Tribal Nations: the Trinity River Restoration Program, (CA), Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (WA) and portions of other projects such as Klamath, Yakima, and Lahontan Basin. Additionally, rural water projects provide significant support: the Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie Rural Water System (MT), the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin's Garrison Diversion Unit (ND), and the Rocky Boys/North Central Montana Rural Water System (MT).
Last Updated: April 18, 2013
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