Press Releases

Hickenlooper Speaks on Importance of Endangered Fish Recovery Programs in Senate ENR Hearing

Jul 20, 2023

Questions Bureau of Reclamation on Arkansas Valley Conduit, Colorado River drought funding

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper participated in a hearing on water legislation held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton joined as a witness, and the two discussed the Hickenlooper-Romney Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Reauthorization Act, progress at the Arkansas Valley Conduit, and drought funding for the Colorado River Basin that Hickenlooper helped secure in the Inflation Reduction Act.

View Hickenlooper and Touton’s full exchange HERE.

On his Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Reauthorization Act:

Hickenlooper: “As you well know, for over three decades, a coalition of Tribes, all levels of government, water users, and stakeholders have worked to try to recover four endangered and threatened fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins. In return for actions to help the fish, like restoring habitat and stocking fish, the programs have enabled Upper Basin water users to secure Endangered Species Act compliance for over 2,500 water projects, using well over three and a half million acre-feet of water each year. This is obviously a big deal for the Upper Basin…It’s not surprising the programs have such broad support. They are critical to our economies and our native fish, and I look forward to advancing this bill to make sure they have the resources they need.”

Touton: “Senator, I think you said it best already. This program provides our ability to meet our mission with compliance to 2,500 projects, but it’s also a successful program in bringing back the species.”

On the Arkansas Valley Conduit:

Hickenlooper: “Back in April, you and I met up in Southeastern Colorado to break ground on the Arkansas Valley Conduit, which is a major water infrastructure project that a lot of people in the rest of the country haven’t heard of, but it’s going to deliver clean water to 50,000 Coloradans who really haven’t had a reliable, consistent source of clean water. We’ve worked with you to get Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to move this project along, recognizing it has been six decades since the Conduit was first authorized. When we were on the ground together in the spring, I asked you to help us shorten the timeline because it already has been so long…I know you don’t have specifics but I think a general update is useful.” 

Touton: “Thank you Senator for your support on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…When we talk about generational investments, this is one of them…Stay tuned Senator because we’re hoping to be able to make more investments on Arkansas Valley Conduit.” 

On Inflation Reduction Act investments for Colorado River drought resiliency:

Hickenlooper: “Congress provided $4 billion in funding for drought in the Colorado River Basin through the Inflation Reduction Act, including long- term, durable water conservation solutions. How is the work you’re doing now with funds from the IRA supporting a more resilient future?…When can we expect to see the long-term IRA funding opportunities roll out in the Upper Basin?”

Touton: “Thank you for that level of funding because it has allowed us to make significant progress within the entire basin. The approach of Congress there is to be able to utilize a significant part of that funding for long-term durable projects…Our goal is to release a request for proposals later this summer in the Upper Basin for those long-term durable projects in order for us to make decisions on awarding those funds later this year.”


Recent Press Releases