Walden: Bureau of Land Management will begin implementing water management, job creation bill

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) announced on Thursday that legislation he authored in 2014 to improve water management and create jobs in central Oregon will soon be implemented.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has agreed to implement Walden’s Crooked River Collaborative Water Security and Jobs Act. The law clears a path for a hydropower development by moving the Crooked River Wild and Scenic Area a quarter mile downstream.

“For many years, I’ve worked hard with community leaders, farmers, fishermen, tribes and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to move the wild and scenic boundary line at Bowman Dam,” Walden said. “As I’ve long said, there’s nothing wild and scenic about a dam. Making this change paves the way for the development of clean, renewable hydropower at the dam and about fifty construction jobs in central Oregon. Over 14 months ago, Congress unanimously approved legislation to do just that, but the BLM hasn’t implemented the law until now. Implementing this legislation is good news for Prineville and central Oregon as a whole, and I’m pleased the agency has finally heard the calls to get this done.”  

In a letter sent to BLM Director Neil Kornze in January, Walden said he was “very disappointed” that the BLM had failed to act for more than a year after Congress unanimously approved the bill. Walden called for immediate action to implement the bill.

In addition to a hydroelectric power development, the law will provide additional water for the nearby city of Prineville and an improved fish and wildlife habitat in the area.

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