Summary: H.R.2696 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 108-317 (10/05/2004)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on February 24, 2004. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Southwest Forest Health and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2004 - (Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, to: (1) establish Institutes to promote the use of adaptive ecosystem management to reduce the risk of wildfires and restore the health of forest and woodland ecosystems in the interior West (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah); and (2) assist the Institutes in promoting the use of collaborative processes and adaptive ecosystems management. Requires, initially, the establishment of three Institutes, with: (1) one in Arizona, at Northern Arizona University; (2) one in New Mexico, at New Mexico Highlands University, while engaging the full resources of the consortium of universities represented in the Institute of Natural Resource Analysis and Management; and (3) one in Colorado.

Defines the term "adaptive ecosystem management" to mean a natural resource management process under which planning, implementation, monitoring, research, evaluation, and incorporation of new knowledge are combined into a management approach that: (1) is based on scientific findings and the needs of society; (2) treats management actions as experiments; (3) acknowledges the complexity of these systems and scientific uncertainty; and (4) uses the resulting new knowledge to modify future management methods and policy. Prohibits the definition of such term for the purposes of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974.

Requires each Institute to: (1) develop, conduct research on, transfer, promote, and monitor restoration-based hazardous fuel reduction treatments to reduce the risk of severe wildfires and improve the health of dry forest and woodland ecosystems in the interior West; (2) synthesize and adapt scientific findings from conventional research to implement such fuel reduction treatments on a landscape scale using an adaptive ecosystem management framework; (3) translate for and transfer to affected entities (land managers, stakeholders, concerned citizens, and States of the interior West) any scientific and interdisciplinary knowledge about such fuel reduction treatments; (4) assist affected entities with the design of adaptive management approaches (including monitoring) for the implementation of such fuel reduction treatments; and (5) provide peer-reviewed annual reports.

Requires each Institute to: (1) develop and demonstrate capabilities in the natural, physical, social, and policy sciences, and explicitly integrate those disciplines in the performance of such duties; and (2) develop an annual work plan for review by the Secretary.

Authorizes the Secretary to establish one institute in each of the other interior West States, if after two years, the Secretary finds that the Institute model would be constructive for those States.

(Sec. 6) Provides for cooperation between the Institutes and Federal programs. Encourages cooperation and coordination between Federal programs relating to ecological restoration, wildfire risk reduction, and wildfire management technologies.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Secretary to evaluate and report to specified congressional committees every five years on the programs and activities of each Institute.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes appropriations.