Sinema secured provisions removing invasive salt cedar trees from the Gila River in Congressionally-approved Water Resources Development Act
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured a provision in the Congressionally-approved Water Resources Development Act that strengthens Arizona’s water supplies and addresses drought conditions through the removal of invasive salt cedars.
“Arizona’s future depends on securing our water supply. Eradicating salt cedars will restore our waterways and ensure Arizona has the resources to address drought conditions so we can continue expanding opportunities across our state,” said Sinema.
“The proliferation of Salt Cedars in the Gila River has turned our oasis in the desert to a wildfire and flood hazard. Meanwhile the Salt Cedars have consumed millions of acre feet of water and crowded out native vegetation to the point where large sections of the Gila River are now monocultures that can’t support native wildlife. We are very grateful to Senator Sinema for introducing the Drought Relief Through Innovative Projects (DRIP) Act and its inclusion in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA). This legislation will serve Buckeye, the state of Arizona and the Southwest United States well. Thank you Senator Sinema for your time and effort,” said City of Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn.
For decades, invasive salt cedar trees have depleted Arizona’s water resources, crowded out native plants, increased flood risks, and created a greater fire risk for Arizona communities, especially in Buckeye and other communities along the Gila River. Sinema ensured the bipartisan, Congressionally-approved Water Resources Development Act authorizes the US Fish and Wildlife Service to spend up to $10 million each year to remove and replace invasive plant species, prioritizing salt cedars, in riparian areas in the Lower Colorado River Basin. This language is inspired by Kyrsten’s DRIP Act, which authorizes a similar $10 million pilot program.