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Congressman Garamendi Secures Wins for Bay Area & Delta in Water Resources Development Act

Posted on June 28, 2024

House Committee Passes Biennial Bill on Strong Bipartisan Vote

WASHINGTON, DC— 6-27-24, U.S. Representative John Garamendi (D-CA08) voted to pass the “Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024” (H.R.8812) in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by a bipartisan vote of 61 to 2. The full House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill in the coming weeks.

“The biennial Water Resources Development Act strengthens flood protection and our precious water resources in communities across California and the country. This soon-to-become law will upgrade our water infrastructure, strengthen climate resiliency, and restore aquatic ecosystems across the Bay Area and California Delta,” Garamendi said. “As a longstanding member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I secured key provisions in the bill to support dredging the Mare Island Strait, enhance environmental restoration efforts at Lake Tahoe, and expand the Army Corps’ existing vessel removal authority to also include abandoned and derelict vessels. I expect President Biden to sign this bipartisan bill into law.” 

Garamendi is a senior Democratic member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works projects, including dredging, flood control, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects.

Garamendi secured the following provisions in the “Water Resources Development Act of 2024” (H.R.8812):

Bay Area Wins:

  • Mare Island Strait: Directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a feasibility study with the City of Vallejo to deepen the Mare Island Strait Channel to better support the U.S. Coast Guard Station Vallejo’s missions.
  • San Francisco Bay: Authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a comprehensive study of sea level rise on the San Francisco Bay Area, especially impacts on disadvantaged communities across Contra Costa and the eight other Bay Area counties. Congress first authorized the Army Corps to study sea level rise in the Bay Area in 1976 but failed to include Conta Costa County.
  • East Bay Integrated Recycled Water Program: Authorizing an additional $20 million in federal funding for the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s East Bayshore Recycled Water Project and comprehensive Integrated Recycled Water Program, which would provide climate a drought resiliency, drinking water reliability, environmental protections, and emergency preparedness. Garamendi increased total available federal funding from the current $25 million to $45 million under the bill.
  • Central Contra Costa County: With Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), authorizing $40 million in federal funding for new water supply projects with the Army Corps of Engineers in central Contra Costa County by the Delta Diablo and Ironhouse Sanitary Districts.
  • Bay Area Wetlands Restoration: Requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to use at least 70 percent of dredged materials to restore Bay Area wetlands in San Pablo, Grizzly, Honker and Suisun Bays, thereby reducing the volume of dredged material wasted via ocean dumping.

Regional Wins:

  • Sacramento River Restoration: Directing the Army Corps of Engineers to help restore the Sacramento River floodplain by incorporating natural and nature-based features in all Army Corps projects like setback levees north of the Freemont Weir.
  • Keeping Tahoe Blue: Reauthorzing the Amry Corps’ pilot program to help keep invasive aquatic species out of alpine lakes like Lake Tahoe and securing an additional $20 million in federal funding for water infrastructure improvements across the Lake Tahoe Basin, including to reduce septic leeching and stormwater runoff to help Keep Tahoe Blue.
  • Native American Artifacts: Establishing pilot program in the Sacramento River watershed to allow federally recognized Native American tribes to acquire and rebury any burials and cultural resources found during construction of an Army Corps project, namely levees. The Committee-passed WRDA 2024 incorporates key provisions from Garamendi and Representative Doug LaMalfa’s (R-CA01) “Native American Burial Sites and Cultural Resources Protection Act” (H.R.5865).

Statewide Wins:

  • Removal of Abandoned and Derelict Vessels: Incorporates key provisions from Garamendi’s “Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Removal Act of 2024” (H.R.7719), expanding the Army Corps’ existing vessel removal authority to also include those abandoned and derelict vessels not impeding navigation. Current law only allows the Army Corps to remove vessels blocking a federally maintained channel, not abandoned and derelict vessels on the shoreline.
  • Drought Resiliency: Making water supply a co-equal primary mission of the Army Corps of Engineers, which would allow Army Corps-owned reservoirs in drought-prone western states like California to be operated for new water supply in addition flood control, outdoor recreation, and aquatic ecosystem benefits. The Committee-passed WRDA 2024 incorporates Garamendi and Representative Grace F. Napolitano’s (D-CA-31) bipartisan “Priority for Water Supply and Conservation Act of 2024” (H.R.7065).
  • Recreational Boating at Reservoirs: Allowing the Army Corps to keep marina and similar fees charged to boaters at Army Corps-owned reservoirs to fund infrastructure improvements at those federally owned reservoirs in California and other states. Current law requires that all fees charged to boaters at Army Corps reservoirs be sent to the U.S. Treasury as miscellaneous revenue to the federal government. Incorporates key provisions from Garamendi and Rep. Bruce Westerman’s (R-AR) bipartisan “Lake Access Keeping Economies Strong (LAKES) Act” (H.R.6906).
  • Dam Safety: Reauthorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Dam Safety Program through 2-28, which provides federal funding for training, staffing needs, emergency planning, and dam inspection and monitoring activities by the State of California’s Department of Water Resources’ Division of Safety of Dams. Incorporates key provisions from Garamendi and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla’s (D-CA) “National Dam Safety Program Reauthorization Act of 2023” (S.3111).
  • Levee Safety: Reauthorizing the Army Corps of Engineers’ National Levee Safety Initiative to help reduce flood risk by modernizing Army Corps levees across the country through 2033.


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