WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives has passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (H.R. 7776) in a 384-37 vote, advancing natural infrastructure solutions, Everglades restoration, and Mississippi River conservation priorities. The bill recently advanced out of committee in the Senate and awaits a floor vote in that chamber.
“The TRCP works hard to ensure that the biennial Water Resources Development Act is not overlooked by sportsmen and sportswomen — or lawmakers — because this legislation is of critical importance to watersheds across the country, including in some of our most iconic hunting and fishing destinations,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This bill also marks another significant step toward implementing more natural infrastructure approaches, where healthy fish and wildlife habitat help to solve some of our most pressing challenges.”
Numerous provisions in the bipartisan 2022 WRDA are TRCP priorities. These include:
• Requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the benefits of using natural infrastructure approaches, such as restoring source watersheds, to enhance the resilience of Western water supplies and infrastructure,
• Clarifying the federal cost-share for ecosystem restoration in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet,
• Lowering the local cost burdens for the Mississippi River Interbasin Project and the Lower Mississippi River Comprehensive Study,
• Requiring the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to conduct an assessment of levees to identify opportunities for levee system modifications,
• Expediting a feasibility study for western Everglades ecosystem restoration,
• Establishing a National Low-Head Dam Inventory to provide valuable information that will guide fish passage rehabilitation and improve angler and boater safety.
The Water Resources Development Act authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out flood control, improve waterways, and conduct ecosystem restoration work. Past WRDA bills have also addressed water infrastructure policy and financing. The TRCP has long advocated for conservation priorities in the WRDA process because it presents several opportunities to support federal investments in ecosystem restoration and natural infrastructure approaches that benefit fish and wildlife habitat.