The Environmental Defense Fund and Trout Unlimited have joined California farm groups and water agencies in calling for Congress to add more infrastructure dollars for water, forestry and ecosystem restoration.
The Senate passed an infrastructure bill in August that included $8 billion for Western water needs. The coalition’s letter to congressional leaders is now asking to double the spending for conservation programs that help drought-stricken farmers. They are also asking for $30 billion for wildfire prevention efforts that improve forest and watershed health. Another $1.5 billion would offer relief for dry wells and compensation for reducing water use. The coalition also calls for $170 million for technology to improve weather forecasting and runoff projections.
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They argue the funding would provide jobs as well as environmental benefits.
“Importantly, it will spur economic recovery and prepare us to meet the water needs of the next generation in the face of a changing climate,” reads the letter.