Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1288 (rs) To provide incentives for collaborative forest restoration projects on National Forest System and other public lands in New Mexico, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] ...

S. 1288 (rs) To provide incentives for collaborative forest restoration projects on National Forest System and other public lands in New Mexico, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] ...


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                                                 Union Calendar No. 577
106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 1288

                      [Report No. 106-947, Part I]


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            January 27, 2000

                 Referred to the Committee on Resources

                            October 6, 2000

  Reported and referred to the Committee on Agriculture for a period 
   ending not later than October 13, 2000, for consideration of such 
    provisions of the bill as fall within the jurisdiction of that 
               committee pursuant to clause 1(a), rule X

                            October 13, 2000

Committee on Agriculture discharged; committed to the Committee of the 
    Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To provide incentives for collaborative forest restoration projects on 
 National Forest System and other public lands in New Mexico, 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 ``Community Forest Restoration Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) A century of fire suppression, logging, and livestock 
        grazing has altered the ecological balance of New Mexico's 
        forests.
            (2) Some forest lands in New Mexico contain an unnaturally 
        high number of small diameter trees that are subject to large, 
        high intensity wildfires that can endanger human lives, 
        livelihoods, and ecological stability.
            (3) Forest lands that contain an unnaturally high number of 
        small diameter trees have reduced biodiversity and provide 
        fewer benefits to human communities, wildlife, and watersheds.
            (4) Healthy and productive watersheds minimize the threat 
        of large, high intensity wildfires, provide abundant and 
        diverse wildlife habitat, and produce a variety of timber and 
        non-timber products including better quality water and 
        increased water flows.
            (5) Restoration efforts are more successful when there is 
        involvement from neighboring communities and better stewardship 
        will evolve from more diverse involvement.
            (6) Designing demonstration restoration projects through a 
        collaborative approach may--
                    (A) lead to the development of cost effective 
                restoration activities;
                    (B) empower diverse organizations to implement 
                activities which value local and traditional knowledge;
                    (C) build ownership and civic pride; and
                    (D) ensure healthy, diverse, and productive forests 
                and watersheds.

SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to promote healthy watersheds and reduce the threat of 
        large, high intensity wildfires, insect infestation, and 
        disease in the forests in New Mexico;
            (2) to improve the functioning of forest ecosystems and 
        enhance plant and wildlife biodiversity by reducing the 
        unnaturally high number and density of small diameter trees on 
        Federal, Tribal, State, County, and Municipal forest lands;
            (3) to improve communication and joint problem solving 
        among individuals and groups who are interested in restoring 
        the diversity and productivity of forested watersheds in New 
        Mexico;
            (4) to improve the use of, or add value to, small diameter 
        trees;
            (5) to encourage sustainable communities and sustainable 
        forests through collaborative partnerships, whose objectives 
        are forest restoration; and
            (6) to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate ecologically 
        sound forest restoration techniques.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act--
            (1) the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Agriculture acting through the Chief of the Forest Service; and
            (2) the term ``stakeholder'' includes: tribal governments, 
        educational institutions, landowners, and other interested 
        public and private entities.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.

    (a) The Secretary shall establish a cooperative forest restoration 
program in New Mexico in order to provide cost-share grants to 
stakeholders for experimental forest restoration projects that are 
designed through a collaborative process (hereinafter referred to as 
the ``Collaborative Forest Restoration Program''). The projects may be 
entirely on, or on any combination of, Federal, Tribal, State, County, 
or Municipal forest lands. The Federal share of an individual project 
cost shall not exceed eighty percent of the total cost. The twenty 
percent matching may be in the form of cash or in-kind contribution.
    (b) Eligibility Requirements.--To be eligible to receive funding 
under this Act, a project shall--
            (1) address the following objectives--
                    (A) reduce the threat of large, high intensity 
                wildfires and the negative effects of excessive 
                competition between trees by restoring ecosystem 
                functions, structures, and species composition, 
                including the reduction of non-native species 
                populations;
                    (B) re-establish fire regimes approximating those 
                that shaped forest ecosystems prior to fire 
                suppression;
                    (C) preserve old and large trees;
                    (D) replant trees in deforested areas if they exist 
                in the proposed project area; and
                    (E) improve the use of, or add value to, small 
                diameter trees;
            (2) comply with all Federal and State environmental laws;
            (3) include a diverse and balanced group of stakeholders as 
        well as appropriate Federal, Tribal, State, County, and 
        Municipal government representatives in the design, 
        implementation, and monitoring of the project;
            (4) incorporate current scientific forest restoration 
        information; and
            (5) include a multi-party assessment to--
                    (A) identify both the existing ecological condition 
                of the proposed project area and the desired future 
                condition; and
                    (B) report, upon project completion, on the 
                positive or negative impact and effectiveness of the 
                project including improvements in local management 
                skills and on the ground results;
            (6) create local employment or training opportunities 
        within the context of accomplishing restoration objectives, 
        that are consistent with the purposes of this Act, including 
        summer youth jobs programs such as the Youth Conservation Corps 
        where appropriate;
            (7) not exceed four years in length;
            (8) not exceed a total annual cost of $150,000, with the 
        Federal portion not exceeding $120,000 annually, nor exceed a 
        total cost of $450,000 for the project, with the Federal 
        portion of the total cost not exceeding $360,000;
            (9) leverage Federal funding through in-kind or matching 
        contributions; and
            (10) include an agreement by each stakeholder to attend an 
        annual workshop with other stakeholders for the purpose of 
        discussing the cooperative forest restoration program and 
        projects implemented under this Act. The Secretary shall 
        coordinate and fund the annual workshop. Stakeholders may use 
        funding for projects authorized under this Act to pay for their 
        travel and per diem expenses to attend the workshop.

SEC. 6. SELECTION PROCESS.

    (a) After consulting with the technical advisory panel established 
in subsection (b), the Secretary shall select the proposals that will 
receive funding through the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program.
    (b) The Secretary shall convene a technical advisory panel to 
evaluate the proposals for forest restoration grants and provide 
recommendations regarding which proposals would best meet the 
objectives of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program. The 
technical advisory panel shall consider eligibility criteria 
established in section 5, the effect on long term management, and seek 
to use a consensus-based decision making process to develop such 
recommendations. The panel shall be composed of 12 to 15 members, to be 
appointed by the Secretary as follows:
            (1) A State Natural Resource official from the State of New 
        Mexico.
            (2) At least two representatives from Federal land 
        management agencies.
            (3) At least one tribal or pueblo representative.
            (4) At least two independent scientists with experience in 
        forest ecosystem restoration.
            (5) Equal representation from--
                    (A) conservation interests;
                    (B) local communities; and
                    (C) commodity interests.

SEC. 7. MONITORING AND EVALUATION.

    The Secretary shall establish a multi-party monitoring and 
evaluation process in order to assess the cumulative accomplishments or 
adverse impacts of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program. The 
Secretary shall include any interested individual or organization in 
the monitoring and evaluation process. The Secretary also shall conduct 
a monitoring program to assess the short and long term ecological 
effects of the restoration treatments, if any, or a minimum of 15 
years.

SEC. 8. REPORT.

    No later than five years after the first fiscal year in which 
funding is made available for this program, the Secretary shall submit 
a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the United 
States Senate and the Committee on Resources of the United States House 
of Representatives. The report shall include an assessment on whether, 
and to what extent, the projects funded pursuant to this Act are 
meeting the purposes of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 annually to 
carry out this Act.
                                                 Union Calendar No. 577

106th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                                S. 1288

                      [Report No. 106-947, Part I]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

To provide incentives for collaborative forest restoration projects on 
 National Forest System and other public lands in New Mexico, and for 
                            other purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                            October 13, 2000

Committee on Agriculture discharged; committed to the Committee of the 
    Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

Pages: 1

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