Mayor applauds Congress for passing waterways legislation

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry tonight expressed appreciation for the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which provides funding and support for the nation’s waterway infrastructure needs.

“The legislation that Congress has passed will help Fort Wayne protect our natural resources while ensuring our residents and visitors can continue to enjoy our rivers,” said Mayor Henry. “The rivers and the riverbanks contribute a great deal to our exceptional quality of life and community pride.”

Although Congress typically considers this legislation every two years, the last bill was enacted in 2007. The law also deals with flood control and environmental issues.

The House bill included an amendment introduced by Rep. Marlin Stutzman that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from requiring the removal of levee vegetation until the Corps completed its policy guidelines. Sen. Joe Donnelly helped ensure this provision was included in the version of the bill passed by the U.S. Senate last spring.

“Fort Wayne is committed to keeping our levees safe,” said Fort Wayne Public Works Director Bob Kennedy. “The Corps helped the City design and build our levees to include trees and other vegetation for stabilization. We were concerned not only about the costs of complying with the Corps’ orders to remove the vegetation, which may change again after they’ve finished reviewing and revising their guidelines, but also the impact on our community and the environment.”