Oregon dams 4 (copy)

Racquel Rancier, left, of the Oregon Water Resources Department takes a photo of a seepage hole inside Oregon’s Big Creek Dam intake tunnel while Rep. David Gomberg, D-Central Coast, right, shines his flashlight on the vulnerable area during a 2019 tour. The federal application period is open for projects to restore aging dams, canals and other water infrastructure.

SALEM — The Bureau of Reclamation — the federal agency responsible for the nation’s water management — has opened the first application period for agencies and organizations to apply for funding under the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Congress passed in November.

The first portion of funding can be used to rehabilitate canals, dams, levees and other facilities. The “extraordinary maintenance” projects can include aging water and power infrastructure, according to the Bureau.

“This month, Reclamation is taking direct action to keep our water and power infrastructure operating reliably into the 21st century,” Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said in a statement.

The Bureau is combining funding from the infrastructure bill with application requirements of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which became law in December 2020.

The first application period for “extraordinary maintenance” projects will close Jan. 31. These applications will then be reviewed during the second and third quarters of fiscal year 2022 before money is awarded.

At least once each year, there will be additional opportunities to apply for funding for those who miss the Jan. 31 deadline.

Touton said the Bureau plans to “be in lock step with local partners” throughout the application process and awarding of funds.

“Reclamation’s relationship with our partners is one of our greatest strengths, and we’re going to heavily leverage that partnership in putting this funding to work,” said Touton.

On Jan. 7, the agency will hold information sessions to help those interested in applying for funding. More information is available at: https://www.usbr.gov/bil/

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