Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Colorado River Basin Water Project Acts

Colorado River Basin Water Project Acts: many laws have been enacted regarding water projects in the Colorado River Basin. Included among them are several of particular interest to the Service.

The Colorado River Storage Project Act (43 USC 620, except certain sections classified under the Colorado River Basin Project Act; see below), enacted April 11, 1956, (70 Stat. 105) authorized the Secretary of the Interior to construct a variety of dams, power plants, reservoirs and related works. The Act also authorized and directed the Secretary, in connection with the development of the Colorado River Storage Project and participating projects, to investigate, plan, construct and operate facilities to mitigate losses of, and improve conditions for, fish and wildlife and public recreational facilities. The Act provided authority to acquire lands and to lease or convey lands and facilities to State and other agencies.

Public Law 95-465, approved October 17, 1978, (92 Stat. 1291) provided that construction of any feature of the Colorado River Storage Project authorized by this Act, or of the Colorado River Salinity Control Project authorized by that Act (see below), should proceed as if a final Environmental Impact Statement had been filed for such feature.

Public Law 100-563, approved October 31,1988, (102 Stat. 2826) authorized appropriations for construction associated with the Bonneville Unit of the Central Utah Project.

Public Law 102-575, approved October 30, 1992, (106 Stat. 4606,4607) provided an increase in the authorized appropriation for completion of Central Utah Projects and included language authorizing expenditures by the Secretary of the Interior for planning and implementation of the fish and wildlife and recreation mitigation projects and studies authorized by this Act. However, language included in PL 102-575 terminates all funding for any Colorado River Storage Project participating projects in the State of Utah five years after enactment of the amendment unless the Secretary of the Interior has entered into a cost sharing agreement with the Central Utah Conservation District and the Secretary has requested funding, or Congress has appropriated funds for construction.

The Colorado River Basin Project Act (43 USC 1501-1556) -- P.L. 90-537, approved September 30, 1968, (82 Stat. 886) provided a program for the comprehensive development of the water resources of the Colorado River Basin, and directed the Secretary of the Interior to develop, after consultation with affected States and appropriate Federal agencies, a regional water plan to serve as the framework under which projects in the Colorado River Basin may be coordinated and constructed.

Public Law 91-611, approved December 31, 1970, (84 Stat. 1828) directed the Secretary of the Army to cooperate with Federal, state, and local agencies in preparing plans.

Public Law 93-320, approved June 24, 1974, (88 Stat. 273) authorized the use of revenues to be used for reimbursement of costs associated with related water projects used to augment water supplies.

Public Law 95-578, approved November 2, 1978, (92 Stat. 2472) and Public Law 96-375, approved October 3, 1980, (94 Stat. 1507) both made minor language changes.

Public Law 97-373, approved December 20, 1982, (96 Stat. 1817) made a language change providing for increased or decreased appropriations due to cost fluctuations and established a non-Federal cost share requirement of 20% of project cost.

Public Law 98-381, approved August 17, 1984, (98 Stat. 1333) made minor language changes, but also set per kilowatt rates for electricity generated by basin water projects to be charged to purchasing states, with proceeds to be used in repayment for costs associated with the Central Arizona Project.

Public Law 98-569, approved October 30, 1984, (98 Stat. 2939) included the impacts of water projects on fish and wildlife as a reimbursement cost.

Public Law 100-345, approved June 24, 1988, (102 Stat. 643) and Public Law 102-575, approved October 30,1992, (106 Stat. 4662) renamed two water development projects in the basin and also limited transportation of water pumped within the exterior boundary of a federal reclamation; water from such installations cannot be pumped across project boundaries.

The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (43 USC 1571-1599) -- Public Law 93-320, approved June 24, 1974, (88 Stat. 266) authorized the construction of facilities necessary to meet the terms of the 1973 Salinity Agreement with Mexico.

Public Law 96-336, approved September 4, 1980 (94 Stat. 1063), increased the appropriations ceiling and authorized specific fish and wildlife mitigation actions.

Public Law 98-569, approved October 30, 1984 (98 Stat. 2933), exempted actions concerning water and related land resources projects upstream from the Imperial Dam from the Water Resources Planning Act. It authorized the Secretary of Interior to replace incidental wildlife values that are impacted by the program, authorized construction of 6 new salinity control units by the Department, and provided direction and various modifications to the project.

Public Law 104-20, approved July 28, 1995, (109 Stat. 255) made language changes to the Act.

Public Law 104-127, approved April 4, 1996, (110 Stat. 1006) directs the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out salinity control measures in the Colorado River Basin through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and also authorizes expenditure of funds to carry out cost-share salinity measures.

Public Law 108-451, approved December 10, 2004 (118 Stat 3478), provided adjustments to the Central Arizona Water Project (CAP), authorized the Gila River Indian Community Water Rights Settlement, and amended the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act of 1982. With respect to the CAP, the amendment authorizes appropriations to comply with various biological opinions related to the project. Under the Gila River Agreement, the law directs the Secretary to: (1) provide for the rehabilitation of the San Carlos Irrigation Project water diversion and delivery works with funds provided under the Colorado River Basin Project Act; and (2) provide electric power for San Carlos Irrigation Project wells and irrigation pumps at the Secretary's direct cost of transmission, distribution, and administration, using the least expensive source of power available. The Southern Arizona Water Settlement Act of 1982 is amended to direct the Secretary to deliver annually from the main project works of water suitable for agricultural use to the San Xavier Reservation and the Eastern Schuk Toak District, as well as ratifies the Tohono O'odham settlement agreement.

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