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Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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The tribe, municipal officials and government agencies launched a broad-based, ambitious campaign to funnel $15 million federal dollars into a proposed water system for the Orofino area. "It's a long shot,'' Orofino City Administrator Rick Laam conceded in late May. "We know a system of this magnitude is very expensive.'' So far, there are nine groups in the Clearwater Valley Regional Water System Partnership: Nez Perce Tribe, Orofino, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Dworshak Dam, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, Idaho Department of Fish and Game at the Clearwater Fish Hatchery, Ahsahka Water District, Orofino-Whiskey Creek Water and Sewer District, Konkolville Water System and Lake View Water System. Currently, all have their own treatment plants and various water sources. Dworshak Dam water is the proposed source of the regional system. The chief task is finding funds. Idaho first must be recognized under the Water Resources Development Act of 1999, Laam said, adding that if Idaho can qualify under the act, $25 million would become available for projects statewide. Idaho also would ask for another $11.2 million specifically for the Orofino system. On top of that, the partnership seeks another $3.75 million in federal money so the local entities do not pay any matching money.

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