WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate last night passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2006, which authorizes the activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bill, co-authored and managed on the floor by Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., includes a number of Vermont projects, making them eligible for $67 million in funding. WRDA authorizes the Corps to conduct projects for water resources development, conservation, and other purposes, including flood and storm protection and ecosystem restoration. The legislation contains key coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects to help affected areas recover from Hurricane Katrina. It addresses levee systems, some of which failed during the 2005 hurricane, and establishes the National Levee Safety Committee, consisting of representatives of federal agencies and state, tribal, and local governments. The bill also provides funding to state levee safety agencies. “Hurricane Katrina reminded us about the importance of water resources development. This bill will support the Corps of Engineers and leave us better prepared to deal with disasters in the future,” said Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which had jurisdiction over the bill. “The Vermont projects in this legislation will protect our rivers, streams, and lakes, and help in the fight against invasive species.” Vermont projects in the bill include: - Support for Lake Champlain, including $2 million for geographic mapping; $10 million for streambank stabilization projects; and the authorization of a study and construction of a dispersal barrier in the Lake Champlain Canal to help prevent invasive species from entering the lake.

- Connecticut River funds, including $30 million to modify dams; $20 million for ecosystem restoration; and $5 million for a wetlands restoration partnership.

- The addition of nine dams to the jurisdiction of the Vermont Dams Remediation Authority, allowing it to protect ecosystems affected by the dams.

-The addition of Lake Morey and Lake Fairlee to the Vermont Lakes to Lakes Program, making them eligible to receive cleanup funds.