Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today applauded Chairman John Barasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee for approving her request to add a provision to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2018 that would protect federal funding for critical flood control projects in the Truckee Meadows.
“Flooding in Northern Nevada is a threat to residents every spring. Just last year, we saw historic flooding that washed out roads and damaged homes and businesses throughout the Truckee Meadows despite planning by local officials and warnings to residents. My provision in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2018 would correct a technicality that threatened the future of the Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project. It will ensure that the Flood Control Project remains eligible for over $181 million in federal funding to protect Northern Nevada’s communities from devastating floods. I’m thankful that Chairman Barasso and Ranking Member Carper have recognized the importance of this project to Northern Nevada. I will continue fighting to make sure Nevada has the resources it needs to protect itself against natural disasters.”
The Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project (providing protection against a 50 year flood event) was authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 for $280,820,000 (Federal Share – $181,652,000). A technicality in WRRDA 2014 required that federal funding be appropriated for this project within seven years or the project would be de-authorized. WRRDA 2014 also contained Section 1036 whereby the Secretary of the Army must build a locally preferred plan (LPP) providing a higher level of flood protection (100 year) if it is technically feasible, environmentally acceptable, has a positive benefit/cost ratio and the cost of the project is not greater than the NED plan. The funding cannot be appropriated until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completes a final review of the LPP.
Four years have passed since the Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project was first authorized, but the USACE has only just begun the final review of the LPP necessary to appropriate the funding. The technicality in WRRDA 2014, Section 6003, which states that LPPs must be reviewed within seven years, means that the four-year long delay is jeopardizing the Flood Control Project’s funding authorization.
Cortez Masto was the first and only senator to submit an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 to correct the technicality. Her amendment will add a new provision to Section 1036 of WRRDA 2018 to suspend the Section 6003 de-authorization period in order to give the USACE time to complete the review process and appropriate the funds. Without this amendment, the Truckee River Flood Management Authority stands to lose approximately $181 million in federal funding necessary to protect Northern Nevada from natural disasters.