Biden administration invests $11.1M in bolstering Colorado River basin drought resilience

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its charitable partner will invest $11.1 million in bolstering drought resilience across the Colorado River basin, the parties announced Thursday.

The funds, which will come from the Inflation Reduction Act, will enable the Foundation for America’s Public Lands to deploy technical expertise and implement drought-related restoration projects over the next five years.

“Westerners rely on clean, cold water for everything from drinking to fishing to running businesses,” BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement.

The collaboration with the foundation, Stone-Manning continued, will enable the BLM “to leverage these critical funds to Invest in America and the health of our public lands and waters in the Colorado River basin.”

Chartered by Congress in 2017 and formed in 2022, the Foundation for America’s Public Lands is the BLM’s official charitable partner. The entity operates and raises private funds to encourage stewardship over more than 245 million acre of U.S. public lands and waters, per the BLM.

The Colorado River project, which will involve collaborations with other organizations, will span multiple state borders and invest in communities that manage, recreate and work on the land.

“Nearly 40 million Americans rely on a healthy Colorado River Basin to sustain their livelihoods,” said I Ling Thompson, CEO of the Foundation for America’s Public Lands, in a statement. “But unprecedented drought is posing an existential threat to their communities, landscapes and economies.”

Thompson stressed the importance of therefore investing in restoration projects together with local communities — with the goal of strengthening “the resilience of the American West so that future generations can thrive for years to come.”

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