| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1775 (ih) To catalyze restoration of estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects and enhanced coordination of Federal and non- Federal restoration programs, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...
H.R. 1775 (ih) To catalyze restoration of estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects and enhanced coordination of Federal and non- Federal restoration programs, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...
106th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 1775 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To catalyze restoration of estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects and enhanced coordination of Federal and non- Federal restoration programs, and for other purposes. 106th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 1775 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To catalyze restoration of estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects and enhanced coordination of Federal and non- Federal restoration programs, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Estuary Restoration Act of 2000''. SEC. 2. PURPOSES. The purposes of this Act are-- (1) to promote the restoration of estuary habitat; (2) to develop a national estuary habitat restoration strategy for creating and maintaining effective estuary habitat restoration partnerships among public agencies at all levels of government and to establish new partnerships between the public and private sectors; (3) to provide Federal assistance for estuary habitat restoration projects and to promote efficient financing of such projects; and (4) to develop and enhance monitoring and research capabilities to ensure that estuary habitat restoration efforts are based on sound scientific understanding and to create a national database of estuary habitat restoration information. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act, the following definitions apply: (1) Council.--The term ``Council'' means the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council established by section 5. (2) Estuary.--The term ``estuary'' means a part of a river or stream or other body of water that has an unimpaired connection with the open sea and where the sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water derived from land drainage. The term also includes near coastal waters and wetlands of the Great Lakes that are similar in form and function to estuaries. (3) Estuary habitat.--The term ``estuary habitat'' means the physical, biological, and chemical elements associated with an estuary, including the complex of physical and hydrologic features and living organisms within the estuary and associated ecosystems. (4) Estuary habitat restoration activity.-- (A) In general.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration activity'' means an activity that results in improving degraded estuaries or estuary habitat or creating estuary habitat (including both physical and functional restoration), with the goal of attaining a self-sustaining system integrated into the surrounding landscape. (B) Included activities.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration activity'' includes-- (i) the reestablishment of chemical, physical, hydrologic, and biological features and components associated with an estuary; (ii) except as provided in subparagraph (C), the cleanup of pollution for the benefit of estuary habitat; (iii) the control of nonnative and invasive species in the estuary; (iv) the reintroduction of species native to the estuary, including through such means as planting or promoting natural succession; (v) the construction of reefs to promote fish and shellfish production and to provide estuary habitat for living resources; and (vi) other activities that improve estuary habitat. (C) Excluded activities.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration activity'' does not include an activity that-- (i) constitutes mitigation required under any Federal or State law for the adverse effects of an activity regulated or otherwise governed by Federal or State law; or (ii) constitutes restoration for natural resource damages required under any Federal or State law. (5) Estuary habitat restoration project.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration project'' means a project to carry out an estuary habitat restoration activity. (6) Estuary habitat restoration plan.-- (A) In general.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration plan'' means any Federal or State plan for restoration of degraded estuary habitat that was developed with the substantial participation of appropriate public and private stakeholders. (B) Included plans and programs.--The term ``estuary habitat restoration plan'' includes estuary habitat restoration components of-- (i) a comprehensive conservation and management plan approved under section 320 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1330); (ii) a lakewide management plan or remedial action plan developed under section 118 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1268); (iii) a management plan approved under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.); and (iv) the interstate management plan developed pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay program under section 117 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1267). (8) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' has the meaning given such term by section 4 of the Indian Self- Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b). (9) Non-federal interest.--The term ``non-federal interest'' means a State, a political subdivision of a State, an Indian tribe, a regional or interstate agency, or, as provided in section 4(g)(2), a nongovernmental organization. (10) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Army. (11) State.--The term ``State'' means the States of Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. SEC. 4. ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION PROGRAM. (a) Establishment.--There is established an estuary habitat restoration program under which the Secretary may carry out estuary habitat restoration projects and provide technical assistance in accordance with the requirements of this Act. (b) Origin of Projects.--A proposed estuary habitat restoration project shall originate from a non-Federal interest consistent with State or local laws. (c) Required Elements of Project Proposals.--To be eligible for the estuary habitat restoration program established under this Act, each proposed estuary habitat restoration project must-- (1) address restoration needs identified in an estuary habitat restoration plan; (2) be consistent with the estuary habitat restoration strategy developed under section 7; (3) be technically feasible; (4) include a monitoring plan that is consistent with standards for monitoring developed under section 8 to ensure that short-term and long-term restoration goals are achieved; and (5) include satisfactory assurance from the non-Federal interests proposing the project that the non-Federal interests will have adequate personnel, funding, and authority to carry out and properly maintain the project. (d) Selection of Projects.-- (1) In general.--The Secretary, after considering the advice and recommendations of the Council, shall select estuary habitat restoration projects taking into account the following factors: (A) The scientific merit of the project. (B) Whether the project will encourage increased coordination and cooperation among Federal, State, and local government agencies. (C) Whether the project fosters public-private partnerships and uses Federal resources to encourage increased private sector involvement, including consideration of the amount of private funds or in-kind contributions for an estuary habitat restoration activity. (D) Whether the project is cost-effective. (E) Whether the State in which the non-Federal interest is proposing the project has a dedicated source of funding to acquire or restore estuary habitat, natural areas, and open spaces for the benefit of estuary habitat restoration or protection. (F) Other factors that the Secretary determines to be reasonable and necessary for consideration. (2) Priority.--In selecting estuary habitat restoration projects to be carried out under this Act, the Secretary shall give priority consideration to a project if, in addition to meriting selection based on the factors under paragraph (1)-- (A) the project occurs within a watershed in which there is a program being carried out that addresses sources of pollution and other activities that otherwise would re-impair the restored habitat; or (B) the project includes pilot testing or a demonstration of an innovative technology having the potential for improved cost-effectiveness in estuary habitat restoration. (e) Cost Sharing.-- (1) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of an estuary habitat restoration project carried out under this Act shall not exceed 65 percent of such cost. (2) Non-federal share.--The non-Federal share of the cost of an estuary habitat restoration project carried out under this Act shall include lands, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations and may include services, or any other form of in- kind contribution determined by the Secretary to be an appropriate contribution equivalent to the monetary amount required for the non-Federal share of the activity. (f) Interim Actions.-- (1) In general.--Pending completion of the estuary habitat restoration strategy to be developed under section 7, the Secretary may take interim actions to carry out an estuary habitat restoration activity. (2) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of an estuary habitat restoration activity before the completion of the estuary habitat restoration strategy shall not exceed 25 percent of such cost. (g) Cooperation of Non-Federal Interests.-- (1) In general.--The Secretary shall not select an estuary habitat restoration project until a non-Federal interest has entered into a written agreement with the Secretary in which the non-Federal interest agrees to-- (A) provide all lands, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations and any other elements the Secretary determines appropriate under subsection (e)(2); and (B) provide for maintenance and monitoring of the project to the extent the Secretary determines necessary. (2) Nongovernmental organizations.--Notwithstanding section 221 of the Flood Control Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 1962d-5b(b)), for any project undertaken under this Act, the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Governor of the State in which the project is located and in consultation with appropriate officials of political subdivisions of such State, may allow a nongovernmental organization to serve as the non-Federal interest. (h) Delegation of Project Implementation.--In carrying out this Act, the Secretary may delegate project implementation to another Federal department or agency on a reimbursable basis if the Secretary, after considering the advice and recommendations of the Council, determines such delegation is appropriate. SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION COUNCIL. (a) Council.--There is established a council to be known as the ``Estuary Habitat Restoration Council''. (b) Duties.--The Council shall be responsible for-- (1) soliciting, reviewing, and evaluating project proposals and making recommendations concerning such proposals based on the factors specified in section 4(d)(1), including recommendations as to a priority order for carrying out such projects and as to whether a project should be carried out by the Secretary or by another Federal department or agency under section 4(h); (2) developing and transmitting to Congress a national strategy for restoration of estuary habitat; (3) periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the national strategy in meeting the purposes of this Act and, as
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