Rep. Schrier Lauds Passage of Lands Package and Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Bill

February 26, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) voted in support of the Public Lands package. The Natural Resources Management Act contains over 100 bills including Rep. Schrier’s bipartisan bill with Rep. Dan Newhouse moving the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan forward. The package passed the House after a 92-8 vote in the Senate and will now be sent to the President’s desk.

“This package as a whole is a huge win for protecting the natural resources and beautiful lands this country has to offer,” said Rep. Schrier. “I was very happy that the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan was included in the Public Lands package. Many groups with diverging opinions all came together with the common goal of protecting our delicate Pacific Northwest ecosystem from a changing climate for decades to come. This could become a model throughout the country on how to collaborate to protect our natural resources.”

One section of the package expands federal water projects in the Yakima River basin to increase the amount of water available to irrigation systems and communities during droughts. By increasing water levels and improving fish infrastructure, it will help restore fish populations and ecosystems in the areas surrounding the Yakima River. Further, the bill authorizes $75 million for American Indian irrigation projects in the Pacific Northwest that have been underfunded for decades.

“Over the last decade, this unique and diverse collaboration has emerged in the Yakima Basin and focused on developing a collective vision for the future of water in the watershed; a future where there is water for farming, water for fish, and water for families even when we have years of less than adequate water supplies,” Urban Eberhart, Manager, Kittitas Reclamation District.

Mr. Eberhart continued, “Through our efforts under the Yakima Integrated Plan, we have seen substantial progress on meeting our collective goals for agriculture, communities, fisheries, and wildlife habitat in the Basin through partnerships and cooperation, when in the past we were all in conflict. In fact, in the Kittitas Valley, irrigators have used their canal system to supplement dry creeks to provide much needed anadromous fish habitat that had not been accessible to fish for decades. Many thanks to Rep. Schrier and her partners in the delegation Rep. Newhouse, Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray on the passage of S 47.”

In addition, the package has a permanent authorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund, protects 304,079 acres of federal land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest from mineral development for 20 years, establishes a research and development program for drones to monitor wildfires, and encourages NASA to develop a way to predict where wildfires will happen next.