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