Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that several major grants will be going from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help tribal communities in Oregon improve water quality and restore wetland habitats. Merkley chairs the Senate’s Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the EPA and the grant programs that awarded this funding to Oregon tribes.
“Nothing is more critical to the health and vitality of a community than water,” said Merkley. “Too often, Native American communities across America have faced environmental threats to their water sources and wetland habitats. These grants will help ensure water quality and conservation for four of Oregon’s tribes, and I look forward to continuing to work with Oregon’s sovereign tribal nations to ensure they have the resources their communities need to thrive.”
“Tribes in Oregon and nationwide deserve top-notch protections for their drinking water as well as for their wetlands that support longstanding community fishing traditions,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified these federal investments to strengthen those protections are now dedicated to these communities in our state, and I’ll keep working to provide similar resources throughout Oregon.”
“The Tribes place a high priority on restoring water quality and water quantity on the former Reservation,” said Dr. Stan Swerdloff, the Klamath Tribes’ Aquatic Resources Director. “The Tribes are very appreciative of the funding provided by EPA, and the support of Senator Merkley. The water quality project will reduce nutrient loading from agricultural properties around Upper Klamath Lake, while the wetlands project will provide vital information on surface and groundwater balance in Upper Klamath Marsh.”
“These funds will help the Siletz Tribe protect and enhance fish habitat in the heart of our reservation land where climate change has negatively affected water quality and quantity,” said Dee Pigsley, tribal chairman, Siletz Tribe.