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Science and Innovations

Congress Restores Funds to 'Crucial' Colorado River Programs

Melissa Sevigny

The U.S. House and Senate have passed an appropriations bill that will restore full funding to environmental programs on the Colorado River for the next fiscal year. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the programs were at risk of closing after the White House redirected their funding.

An amendment to the 2019 energy and water bill restores 21.4 million dollars to the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center in Flagstaff and to other programs related to river management and endangered species recovery. President Trump has yet to sign the bill into law.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesperson Marlon Duke says he’s pleased by the decision. "For us, these programs are crucial along the river. In addition to the science that they provide, it helps us in Reclamation to make sure that we stay compliant with the operation of our facilities along the river."

Duke says Reclamation will continue to work with Congress and stakeholders to find funding for future years. For decades the scientific research programs have been supported by hydropower revenues. The White House Office of Management and Budget ordered that money to go to the U.S. Treasury instead.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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