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H.R. 3546 (eh) To provide for a national dialogue on Social Security and to establish the Bipartisan Panel to Design Long-Range Social Security Reform. ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3545

To establish a program of research and other activities to provide for 
                the recovery of the southern sea otter.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 20, 2003

   Mr. Farr introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                         Committee on Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To establish a program of research and other activities to provide for 
                the recovery of the southern sea otter.

    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 ``Southern Sea Otter Recovery and 
Research Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) Sea otters were hunted to near extinction in the 18th 
        and 19th centuries along the west coast of the United States. 
        Today a small population of southern sea otters exists along 
        the California coastline.
            (2) Southern sea otters are listed as a threatened species 
        under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and are recognized as 
        depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
            (3) Southern sea otters have educational, economic, 
        ecological, and scientific importance to the people of 
        California and the Nation.
            (4) Recent studies have--
                    (A) determined that an elevated level of mortality, 
                particularly in adult southern sea otters, is limiting 
                recovery of the population; and
                    (B) determined that the major threats to the 
                southern sea otter are largely due to degraded marine 
                ecosystems, including infectious diseases, 
                sequestration of contaminants, food resource 
                limitations, and coastal oil spills.
            (5) Enactment of provisions to implement the United States 
        Fish and Wildlife Service document entitled ``Final Revised 
        Recovery Plan for the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris 
        nereis'') could lead to delisting of the southern sea otter 
        under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
            (6) Research underlies every aspect of recovering southern 
        sea otter populations, educating citizens and stakeholders, and 
        restoring coastal ecosystems.

SEC. 3. SOUTHERN SEA OTTER RECOVERY PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior, acting through the 
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (in this Act referred to as the 
``Secretary''), shall carry out a recovery program for southern sea 
otter populations along the coast of California. The recovery program 
shall include the following:
            (1) Monitoring and analysis of southern sea otter 
        population demographics and life history parameters, including 
        a biannual population census.
            (2) Protection of southern sea otter populations.
            (3) Reduction or elimination of potential factors limiting 
        southern sea otter populations that are related to human 
        activities.
            (4) Assessment of southern sea otter health in accordance 
        with the Southern Sea Otter Health Assessment Plan developed 
        under subsection (c).
            (5) Education and outreach to the public about southern sea 
        otters and their survival.
    (b) Annual Report.--The Secretary shall annually submit to the 
Congress a report on the status of southern sea otter populations.
    (c) Health Assessment Plan.--The Secretary shall--
            (1) in consultation with the Southern Sea Otter Recovery 
        Implementation Team established under section 5, develop a 
        Southern Sea Otter Health Assessment Plan;
            (2) collect and analyze tissue samples from southern sea 
        otters;
            (3) after such analysis, submit the tissue samples to the 
        Secretary of Commerce for inclusion in the National Marine 
        Mammal Tissue Bank provided for under section 407 of the Marine 
        Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1421f) to allow for 
        managed access to the tissues by other researchers; and
            (4) review progress on the implementation of the Southern 
        Sea Otter Health Assessment Plan developed under paragraph (1) 
        and report the status of the plan as part of the report under 
        subsection (b).
    (d) Contents of Plan.--The Southern Sea Otter Health Assessment 
Plan developed under subsection (a)(1) shall include--
            (1) mechanisms to assess and evaluate, among other matters, 
        the immunology, virology, toxicology, parasitology, 
        endocrinology, and nutritional status of southern sea otters; 
        and
            (2) identification of centers of expertise and resources to 
        implement the plan.
    (e) Promotion of Ecosystem Sustainability.--In implementing this 
section, the Secretary shall seek to promote ecosystem sustainability, 
in cooperation with the Secretary of Commerce and State fisheries 
management agencies.

SEC. 4. SOUTHERN SEA OTTER RESEARCH PROGRAM.

    (a) Grant Authority.--The Secretary of the Interior shall award 
competitive grants to support research regarding southern sea otters.
    (b) Research Subjects.--Research funded with grants under this 
section--
            (1) shall be in accordance with the research goals 
        established by the Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team under 
        section 5; and
            (2) shall include the following topics:
                    (A) Southern sea otter demographics and natural 
                history.
                    (B) Contaminant sequestration.
                    (C) Infectious diseases and parasites affecting 
                southern sea otters.
                    (D) Limitations on the availability of food 
                resources for southern sea otters.
    (c) Recommendation of Grants by Advisory Board Required.--The 
Secretary--
            (1) shall submit each grant proposal submitted under this 
        section to the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team 
        established under section 5; and
            (2) may not make a grant under this section unless the 
        grant proposal has been recommended by such Team.

 SEC. 5. SOUTHERN SEA OTTER RECOVERY IMPLEMENTATION TEAM.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of the Interior shall establish 
the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team (in this section 
referred to as the ``Team''). The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 
App. U.S.C.) shall not apply to the Team.
    (b) Functions.--The Team shall--
            (1) make recommendations to the Secretary regarding overall 
        southern sea otter recovery program administration and research 
        goals;
            (2) serve as a link between the recovery program and 
        stakeholders;
            (3) review the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory 
        Committee established by section 6; and
            (4) make recommendations to the Secretary regarding funding 
        of scientific research under section 4.
    (c) Membership.--
            (1) In general.--The Team shall have balanced 
        representation and shall consist of no more than 13 members. 
        The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Marine Mammal 
        Commission, appoint members of the Team from among--
                    (A) individuals who are representatives of Federal, 
                State, or local agencies with expertise in sea otter 
                management;
                    (B) individuals who are representatives of local 
                marine user groups;
                    (C) individuals who are representatives of marine 
                conservation and other public interest organizations;
                    (D) individuals who are representatives of 
                organizations involved in southern sea otter rescue, 
                rehabilitation, and release; and
                    (E) individuals who are representatives of 
                scientific and educational organizations.
            (2) Chairman.--The Team shall elect a member of the Team as 
        chairman of the Team for a term of 3 years. A member of the 
        Team may not serve more than 2 terms as chairman.
    (d) Conflicts of Interest.--A member of the Team who participated 
in the development of a proposal may not participate in the review and 
recommendation of grants under section 4(c) with respect to the 
proposal by the Team.
    (e) Staffing and Assistance.--The Secretary may make available to 
the Team any staff, information, administrative services, or assistance 
the Secretary determines is reasonably required to enable the Team to 
carry out its function.
    (f) Administration.--
            (1) Internal administrative regulations.--The Team shall 
        adopt rules, procedures, and other internal administrative 
        regulations as may be necessary to carry out its functions.
            (2) Subsidiary bodies.--The Team may establish such 
        subsidiary bodies as it considers necessary to carry out its 
        functions.
    (g) Public Participation and Procedural Matters.--The following 
apply with respect to the conduct of business meetings of the Team:
            (1) Each meeting shall be open to the public, and 
        interested persons shall be allowed to present oral or written 
        statements on items on the agenda.
            (2) Regular business meetings of the Team shall occur at 
        least once a year. Other extraordinary meetings of the Team may 
        be held at the call of the chairman.
            (3) Timely notice of each meeting, including the time, 
        place, and agenda of the meeting, shall be published locally 
        and in the Federal Register.
            (4) Minutes of each meeting shall be kept, and shall 
        contain a summary of attendees and matters discussed.

SEC. 6. SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary shall establish the Southern Sea 
Otter Recovery Scientific Advisory Committee (in this section referred 
to as the ``Advisory Committee''). The Federal Advisory Committee Act 
(5 App. U.S.C.) shall not apply to the Advisory Committee.
    (b) Functions.--The Advisory Committee shall--
            (1) evaluate the scientific merit and quality of southern 
        sea otter research proposals submitted for funding in response 
        to a request by the Secretary for proposals, based on the 
        research goals established by the Secretary; and
            (2) make recommendations to the Southern Sea Otter Recovery 
        Implementation Team established by section 5 regarding funding 
        of such proposals.
    (c) Membership.--The Advisory Committee shall have balanced 
representation, and shall consist of no more than 11 members appointed 
by the Secretary from among individuals with a doctorate or equivalent 
education degree. The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Marine 
Mammal Commission and the Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team 
established under section 5, appoint members of the Team from among--
            (1) representatives of Federal, State, or local agencies 
        with expertise in sea otter management;
            (2) representatives of local marine user groups;
            (3) representatives of marine conservation and other public 
        interest organizations;
            (4) representatives of organizations involved in southern 
        sea otter rescue, rehabilitation, and release; and
            (5) representatives of scientific and educational 
        organizations.
    (d) Terms.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), the 
        term of a member of the Advisory Committee shall be 3 years.
            (2) Initial appointments.--Of the members first appointed 
        as members of the Advisory Committee--
                    (A) 3 shall be appointed to an initial term of 1 
                year; and
                    (B) 3 shall be appointed to an initial term of 2 
                years.
    (e) Conflicts of Interest.--A member of the Advisory Committee who 
participated in the development of a proposal may not participate in 
the review and recommendation of grants under section 4(c) with respect 
to the proposal by the Advisory Committee.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary of the Interior to carry out this Act $5,000,000 for each of 
fiscal years 2004 through 2009, of which $2,000,000 each fiscal year 
shall be for grants under section 4.
    (b) Administrative Expenses.--Of amounts available each fiscal year 
to carry out section 6, the Secretary may expend not more than 6 
percent or $80,000, whichever is greater, to pay the administrative 
expenses necessary to carry out section 6.
                                 <all>

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