WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Thursday that the Bureau of Reclamation has identified two Challenge Grant projects in Central Oregon that will receive a $3.3 million share of $40 million coming to Oregon under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Through the Challenge Grant Program's Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants, Reclamation provides 50/50 cost share funding to states and irrigation and water districts for projects focused on water marketing, conservation and efficiency. Projects are selected through a competitive process, based on their ability to meet the goal of improving sustainable water supplies in the western United States. The projects include:Â· Main Canal Piping Project and Ponderosa Hydro plant, Swalley Irrigation District: $2,058,935 for this three stage/phase project that would complete piping of Â¾ miles of canal, the design and construction of a 0.75 megawatt hydropower plant, and a solar telemetry project that would allow the District to use solar power for a system that monitors, measures and controls water.
Â· Main Canal Pipeline Phase I, Three Sisters Irrigation District: $1,300,000 to convert 16,500 feet of open canal to buried pipe; replace manual wooden headgates with automated headgates, install remotely-operated monitoring and control system; replace a wooden flume and gauging station with measuring devices that will connect to the new monitoring and control system; and work with the Deschutes River Conservancy to market approximately 833 acre-feet of water per year to protect flows for fish and water quality in Whychus Creek. The $40 million investment in the water conservation, efficiency, and water marketing projects is part of President Barack Obama's $1 billion investment of ARRA funding provided by the Department of the Interior for water projects across the West. The purposes of the ARRA are, among others, to quickly and prudently commence activities that preserve and create jobs promoting economic recovery and to invest in infrastructure providing long-term economic benefits. ARRA funding must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010, and the identified projects must meet specific milestones and timetables or their funding could be reconsidered.Of the nearly $40 million in funding announced by the Department today, the Bureau of Reclamation will utilize about $1.95 million to ensure the projects' compliance with federal regulations and statutes as well as adherence to the Recovery Act goals. Recipients of the Challenge Grant funding announced Thursday must meet specific requirements such as demonstrating complete compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws; have an approved determination of financial capability; and an executed cooperative agreement for financial assistance. Since 2004, 154 Challenge Grant projects have been funded, not including the ARRA-funded projects in this announcement. To date, $34 million in Federal funding combined with local partnerships translates into almost $145 million worth of water management improvements in 16 western states. Those 154 projects create new water banks, promote the use of advanced technology to improve water management, and increase collaboration among Federal, State, tribal and local entities.Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.For more information on Reclamation's Challenge Grant Program, please visit the following:Challenge Fact Sheet:http://recovery.doi.gov/press/bureaus/bureau-of-reclamation/arra-challenge-grant-fact-sheet/Challenge Grant Descriptions:http://recovery.doi.gov/press/bureaus/bureau-of-reclamation/arra-challenge-grant-descriptions/Challenge Grants:http://recovery.doi.gov/press/bureaus/bureau-of-reclamation/bureau-of-reclamation-challenge-grants/