For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 13, 2004
The Columbia River Channel Deepening Project
August 13, 2004
FACT SHEET: THE COLUMBIA RIVER CHANNEL DEEPENING PROJECT: EXPORT
OPPORTUNITIES AND ESTUARY RESTORATION
Today's Presidential Action
Today, President Bush visited the Port of Portland in Oregon and
announced his proposal to deepen 104 miles of the Columbia River
Channel -- from the mouth of the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon,
and Vancouver, Washington. The Columbia River Channel Deepening
Project is expected to greatly expand export opportunities in the
Pacific Northwest, protect trade-dependent jobs in the region, and
enhance the environment. To begin this work, the President will submit
to Congress a $15 million amendment to the FY 2005 budget.
The President has acted aggressively to remove barriers that
disadvantage American workers and exporters, and today's announcement
underscores the President's commitment to America's economic strength,
trade, and job creation, while conserving and restoring the delicate
ecosystem of the Columbia River.
The President's FY 2005 budget also supports ecosystem restoration
and salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest with more than $600
million for Columbia River basin salmon. The President has also
proposed $100 million -- a $10 million increase over FY 2004 -- for the
Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to assist states, tribes, and
local governments with projects benefiting salmon in Washington,
Oregon, California, Idaho, and Alaska.
Background on Today's Presidential Action
America is economically stronger when participating fully in the
worldwide economy. Ninety-five percent of the world's population lives
outside the U.S. and represents a vast potential market for U.S.
farmers and businesses. The Office of Management and Budget has now
completed its review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan for the
Columbia River Channel Deepening Project and found it to be justified;
the President will submit to Congress a $15 million amendment to the FY
2005 budget to enable work to begin. The Project will provide national
transportation and trade improvements, as well as regional and
statewide environmental benefits.
Economic and Trade Benefits of the Columbia River Channel
Deepening Project. The President believes expanding markets for
U.S. products and services is an important part of sustaining America's
economic recovery and protecting and creating new jobs for American
workers. According to government statistics:
The Columbia-Snake River system is the world's second largest
grain export system, conducting more than $15 billion in trade
business in 2003. It carries goods from as far inland as Kansas,
Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
In the Columbia River region, more than 40,000 local jobs with an
average annual wage of $46,000 are dependent on the river's commerce,
and 59,000 more Northwest jobs are affected by such activity.
U.S. exports accounted for about 25 percent of U.S. economic growth during the 1990s and supported an estimated 12 million jobs.
American farmers plant one in three acres for export, and exports
generate nearly 25 percent of farmers' gross cash sales.
Sixteen percent of manufacturing shipments are exported, and jobs in manufacturing firms that export typically pay wages that average up to 18 percent more than jobs in non-exporting firms.
Environmental Benefits of the Columbia River Channel Deepening
Project. The President is committed to preserving and protecting our
public lands, coastal areas, and open spaces. The Columbia River
Channel Deepening Project includes significant ecosystem restoration,
evaluation and monitoring, and adaptations in management to complement
the Endangered Species Act Biological Opinions. Those opinions were
provided in consultation with NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service. The Channel Deepening Project is consistent with the
Columbia River Basin-wide Salmon Recovery Strategy for action by
Federal agencies, states and tribes on the impacts of hydropower,
habitat, harvest, and hatcheries on wild salmon.
Ecosystem Restoration. The President's proposal would create,
enhance, and restore approximately 2,000 acres of riparian and wetland
habitat. Six ecosystem restoration features are included in this
Migrating juvenile and adult salmon will be helped by tidegate
retrofits with fish slides installed along the lower Columbia River, at
Grizzly Slough, Tide Creek, and Hall Creek in Oregon, and at Burris
Creek and Deep River, Washington;
Juvenile salmon rearing will be helped by connecting channels
constructed at the upstream end of Walker-Lord and Hump-Fisher Islands
to improve juvenile salmonid access to their embayment-rearing
Juvenile salmon rearing will be helped by the dredging of Bachelor
Slough to improve flow and water quality and restoration of rearing
habitat in shallow water/flats and riparian forest habitat;
Restoration and maintenance of native tidal marsh will be helped
by implementation of an integrated pest management plan for purple
loosestrife control between Columbia River miles 18 and 52;
Migrating juvenile and adult salmon will be helped by
implementation of a 3-phase effort to improve water circulation
and fisheries ingress and egress at Tenasillahe Island, Columbian
white-tailed deer translocation will establish a secure and viable deer
population at Cottonwood-Howard Island, and tidal marsh habitat will be
restored at Tenasillahe Island via breaching the encircling dike; and
Waterfowl and wading birds will be helped by the restoration of
wetland habitat at Shillapoo Lake.
Salmon Recovery. Science shows that significant improvements in wild salmon populations can be achieved through restoration of the Columbia River estuary, where salmon spawn and transition between fresh water streams and the ocean. The Columbia River Basin-wide Recovery Strategy focuses on the most immediate, short- and long-term benefits for all threatened and endangered runs of salmon in the Columbia River basin. The President's FY 2005 budget supports the Lower Columbia Estuary Restoration Program with $2 million in funding. Federal estuary restoration projects that are already underway include:
Crims Island, where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working
with the Columbia Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Bonneville Power Administration, and other partners to protect and
restore approximately 425 acres of tidal emergent marsh, swamp, slough,
and riparian forest habitat on Crims Island in the upper Columbia River
Estuary to benefit salmon and Columbia white-tail deer.
Brownsmead, where the Columbia River Estuary Study Task Force
(CREST) will use Bonneville Power Administration funding and
technical engineering and environmental expertise from the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers to restore juvenile salmon habitat with tidal flow
to about 9.2 miles of sloughs in an area of about 2,068 acres of diked