Home > 105th Congressional Bills > H.R. 836 (ih) To amend title 38, United States Code, to deem certain service in the ...

H.R. 836 (ih) To amend title 38, United States Code, to deem certain service in the ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 835

  To provide for enhanced collaborative forest stewardship management 
within the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests in Idaho, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           February 13, 2003

Mr. Otter (for himself and Mr. Simpson) introduced the following bill; 
 which was referred to the Committee on Resources, and in addition to 
     the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently 
   determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such 
 provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To provide for enhanced collaborative forest stewardship management 
within the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests in Idaho, 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 ``Clearwater Basin Project Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND DEFINITIONS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) Elk populations within the Clearwater Basin in the 
        State of Idaho have diminished drastically, in part because of 
        lack of forage and habitat within the Clearwater and Nez Perce 
        National Forests.
            (2) Populations of salmon and steelhead within the 
        Clearwater Basin are listed as endangered or threatened, and 
        restoration and protection of habitat within the Clearwater and 
        Nez Perce National Forests will assist the recovery of these 
        species.
            (3) The Red and American River drainages within the 
        Clearwater Basin are experiencing large forest insect 
        infestations and fuel loads that increase the risk of 
        catastrophic fire and extensive destruction of fish, wildlife, 
        and other forest ecosystem and community values.
            (4) Other Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forest areas 
        within the Clearwater Basin present similar issues that are 
        related to forest conditions outside the historic range of 
        variability and other factors.
            (5) Communities within the Clearwater Basin are dependent 
        upon sustainable, healthy forest conditions for employment and 
        other economic benefits, protection of property, and quality of 
        life.
            (6) The Clearwater Basin is an area of significant 
        importance to the Nez Perce Tribe and members of that Tribe 
        continue to exercise treaty-reserved hunting and fishing rights 
        in the Basin.
            (7) In order to protect and improve habitat for elk, 
        salmon, steelhead and other key fish and wildlife species, 
        reduce threats of catastrophic fire, and achieve other forest 
        stewardship objectives, there is a need for vegetation 
        treatments and other restoration and enhancement actions on 
        National Forest System land in the Clearwater Basin.
            (8) A pilot project, in which an advisory group and the 
        Forest Service engage with the Nez Perce Tribe and other 
        interested parties to identify and complete high priority 
        activities through a collaborative approach, will address a 
        compelling need to improve ecosystem health for fish, wildlife, 
        and other community values and complement existing management 
        of the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests.
    (b) Definitions.--In this Act:
            (1) The terms ``Clearwater Advisory Panel'' and ``CAP'' 
        mean the advisory group established by the Secretary under 
        section 3.
            (2) The terms ``Clearwater Basin Pilot Project'' and 
        ``pilot project'' mean the pilot project for certain National 
        Forest System lands in the Clearwater Basin authorized by 
        section 4.
            (3) The term ``pilot project area'' means the area 
        described in section 4(a) in which the pilot project will be 
        conducted.
            (4) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Agriculture.
            (5) The term ``stewardship contract'' means a contract to 
        achieve land management goals for National Forest System lands 
        that meet local and rural community needs, as further described 
        in section 347 of the Department of the Interior and Related 
        Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (as contained in section 
        101(e) of division A of Public Law 105-277; 16 U.S.C. 2104 
        note).
            (6) The term ``stewardship objectives'' means objectives 
        that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land 
        health and water quality, such as--
                    (A) road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or 
                obliteration;
                    (B) soil productivity improvement;
                    (C) improvements in forest ecosystem health;
                    (D) watershed restoration and maintenance;
                    (E) restoration, maintenance and improvement of 
                wildlife and fish habitat;
                    (F) control of noxious weeds; and
                    (G) reestablishment of native species.

SEC. 3. CLEARWATER ADVISORY PANEL.

    (a) Establishment and Purpose.--The Secretary shall establish an 
advisory group, to be known as the ``Clearwater Advisory Panel'', for 
the purpose of improving collaborative relationships and providing 
advice and recommendations to the Forest Service regarding the 
Clearwater Basin pilot project and activities under the pilot project, 
as authorized by and consistent with this Act.
    (b) Duties.--The CAP shall--
            (1) review and make recommendations to the Forest Service 
        regarding activities proposed for high priority implementation 
        as part of the pilot project under this Act;
            (2) provide early and continuous coordination with 
        appropriate Forest Service and other agency officials in 
        reviewing and recommending activities for high priority 
        implementation under this Act;
            (3) provide frequent opportunities for citizens, 
        organizations, tribes, agencies, and other interested parties 
        to participate openly and meaningfully, beginning at the early 
        stages of the activity schedule development process under this 
        Act.
    (c) Appointment of Members.--
            (1) Appointment and term.--Consistent with subsection (d), 
        the Secretary shall appoint the members of the CAP. A member of 
        the CAP shall serve for a term of three years beginning on the 
        date of appointment. The Secretary may reappoint members to 
        subsequent three-year terms.
            (2) Initial appointment.--The Secretary shall make initial 
        appointments to the CAP not later than 90 days after the date 
        of the enactment of this Act.
            (3) Vacancies.--The Secretary shall make appointments to 
        fill vacancies on the CAP as soon as practicable after the 
        vacancy has occurred.
            (4) Compensation.--Members of the CAP shall serve without 
        compensation.
    (d) Composition.--
            (1) Number.--The CAP shall be comprised of 15 members.
            (2) Community interests represented.--Committee members 
        shall be representative of the interests of the following three 
        categories:
                    (A) Five persons who--
                            (i) represent organized labor;
                            (ii) represent developed outdoor 
                        recreation, off highway vehicle users, or 
                        commercial recreation activities;
                            (iii) represent energy and mineral 
                        development interests;
                            (iv) represent the commercial timber 
                        industry; or
                            (v) hold Federal grazing permits, or other 
                        land use permits within the pilot project area.
                    (B) Five persons representing--
                            (i) nationally recognized environmental 
                        organizations;
                            (ii) regionally or locally recognized 
                        environmental organizations;
                            (iii) dispersed recreational activities;
                            (iv) archeaological and historical 
                        interests; or
                            (v) nationally or regionally recognized 
                        fish and wildlife interest groups.
                    (C) Five persons who--
                            (i) hold State elected office or their 
                        designee;
                            (ii) hold county or local elected office;
                            (iii) represent Indian Tribes within or 
                        adjacent to the pilot project area;
                            (iv) are school officials or teachers; or
                            (v) represent the affected public at large.
            (3) Balanced representation.--The Secretary shall provide 
        for balanced and broad representation from within each category 
        described in paragraph (2).
            (4) Geographic distribution.--The members of the CAP shall 
        reside within the State of Idaho and, to the extent 
        practicable, within or adjacent to the pilot project area.
    (e) Approval Procedures.--
            (1) Establishment.--Subject to paragraph (2) and the other 
        requirements of this Act, the CAP shall establish procedures 
        for proposing, developing, and reviewing activities and 
        schedules for recommendation to the Forest Service for approval 
        and implementation under the pilot project. A quorum must be 
        present to constitute an official meeting of the CAP.
            (2) Majority vote.--An activity or schedule may be 
        recommended by the CAP to the applicable Forest Supervisor for 
        approval and implementation under the pilot program if it has 
        been approved by a majority of CAP members from each of the 
        three categories described in subsection (d)(2).
    (f) Other Authorities and Requirements.--
            (1) Staff assistance.--The CAP may submit to the Secretary 
        a request for staff assistance from Federal employees under the 
        jurisdiction of the Secretary.
            (2) Meetings.--All meetings of the CAP shall be announced 
        at least one week in advance in a local newspaper of record and 
        shall be open to the public.
            (3) Records.--The CAP shall maintain records of the 
        meetings of the panel and make the records available for public 
        inspection.
            (4) Chairperson.--A majority on the CAP shall select the 
        chairperson of the CAP.

SEC. 4. CLEARWATER BASIN PILOT PROJECT.

    (a) Pilot Project Required.--The Secretary shall conduct a pilot 
project under this section, to be known as the ``Clearwater Basin pilot 
project'', on those National Forest System lands encompassed by the 
North Fork, Powell, and Lochsa Ranger Districts of the Clearwater 
National Forest in the State of Idaho, and the Red River/Elk City, 
Moose Creek and Clearwater Ranger Districts of the Nez Perce National 
Forest in the State of Idaho.
    (b) Role of CAP.--The CAP shall review and recommend activities for 
high priority implementation within the pilot project area that are 
authorized under this Act, according to the requirements of this Act.
    (c) Authorized Activities.--The CAP may recommend activities for 
which funding is authorized and appropriated under this Act or other 
law. The activities that the CAP recommends for implementation under 
the pilot project shall be those activities that the CAP determines are 
high priority to implement stewardship objectives.
    (d) Stewardship Contracts.--A total of four stewardship contracts 
may be entered into as part of the pilot project. The stewardship 
contracts shall be divided equally between the two national forests 
referred to in subsection (a). These contracts are in addition to any 
stewardship contracts authorized under any other law.
    (e) Activity Schedules.--
            (1) Development.--Within two years after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, the CAP shall develop and submit for 
        Forest Supervisor review schedules of high priority activities 
        to be commenced within the pilot project area for the ensuing 
        five-year period. Separate schedules shall be developed for the 
        Clearwater National Forest portion of the pilot project area 
        and the Nez Perce National Forest portion of the pilot project 
        area. Thereafter, the CAP shall develop and submit in advance 
        schedules for subsequent following five-year periods.
            (2) Consultation.--The CAP shall prepare the schedules in 
        consultation with, and with technical assistance from, the 
        applicable Forest Supervisor. The CAP shall also consult with 
        the Nez Perce Tribe in developing and recommending each five-
        year schedule. The Forest Service shall consult with the Tribe 
        to assure that the activities in the schedule are consistent 
        with treaty and any other obligations to the Tribe.
            (3) Content.--Each five-year schedule shall be in 
        sufficient detail to describe the high priority activities to 
        be conducted in the pilot project area over the five-year 
        period and the timing for their implementation, and to allow 
        reasonable site-specific, project level evaluation of their 
        environmental effects. The scope of the activities included in 
        each schedule shall be reasonably adjusted to the extent that 
        the CAP and applicable Forest Supervisor determine necessary to 
        allow such evaluation to be completed within the time periods 
        provided by this Act.
            (4) Consistency with forest plan.--The activities included 
        within the five-year schedules shall be consistent with the 
        applicable forest land and resource management plan. The 
        schedule may include any amendment of the applicable forest 
        land and resource management plan that the CAP recommends or 
        that the applicable Forest Supervisor determines is necessary 
        to allow or facilitate implementation of one or more activities 
        in the schedule.
    (f) NEPA Requirements and Related Procedures.--
            (1) Process.--The Forest Service shall conduct any 
        applicable procedures under the National Environmental Policy 
        Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for the approval, at the 
        site-specific, project level, of the activities in each five-
        year schedule, tiered to the extent appropriate to the 
        environmental impact statement for the applicable forest land 
        and resource management plan. The procedures under such Act, 
        and any review, consultation, or coordination under other laws, 
        including the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning 
        Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), Endangered Species Act of 
        1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and National Historic 
        Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470), shall be completed within one 
        year after the Forest Service, in consultation with the CAP, 
        issues the public scoping notice regarding the proposed 
        schedule.
            (2) Resources.--The Forest Service, and any other Federal 
        agencies involved in the process described in paragraph (1), 
        shall provide sufficient personnel and other resources, 
        directly or through contracting, to complete the review, 
        consultation, or coordination within the required one-year 
        period, and without substantially delaying implementation of 
        other forest management activities in Region 1 of the Forest 

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