Rep. Christopher Cox
October 15, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me the time.
The Irvine Basin
Surface and Groundwater Improvement Act is a bill that, as its author, of
course, I am very pleased to see on the floor, but one also that I am very very grateful to the committee for producing. This is
going to make a very important contribution to improving water quality in
I would especially like
to thank and recognize the efforts of the gentleman from
This bill authorizes
the Federal Government to assist in designing a series of wetlands. As the
For those of my
colleagues who are not familiar with southern
The Upper Newport Bay is home to over 75 species of fish, nearly 200 species of birds, and a number of threatened and endangered species, including the light-footed clapper rail, Belding's Savannah sparrow, the American osprey, the California brown pelican and California's least tern. In addition, the Bay is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway for 50,000 migratory birds each year.
Thankfully, there is a
solution on the horizon to save the
The natural, beneficial bacteria in the soils of these wetlands, along with plants such as bulrush and cattails, will remove nitrogen and other pollutants from surface runoff. It is expected that this natural treatment system will reduce fecal coliform levels by over 26 percent and each year remove 126,000 pounds of nitrogen and 21,000 pounds of phosphorus from the San Diego Creek.
In this way, the
natural treatment system will help prevent unwanted sediment, nutrients and
contaminants from polluting and clogging up San Diego Creek and
For all of these reasons, the Natural Treatment System established by this
legislation is strongly supported by local environmental groups, including
Orange County Coastkeepers and the Newport Bay
Naturalists and Friends. This legislation is also fully supported by our
local public officials, including the Irvine Ranch Water District, the
This bill, Mr. Speaker, will be of tremendous help to our local environmental efforts. By allowing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which has extensive experience in wetlands restoration, to serve as a partner in this important regional project, H.R. 1598 is an important step toward assuring that the Natural Treatment System moves forward as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
Finally, I would like
to point out that the Natural Treatment System will also provide significant
cost savings for the Federal Government. Since the
Mr. Speaker, I strongly
urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1598 so that we can move forward with this
important environmental initiative for
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