Text: H.R.3574 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/18/2007)

1st Session
H. R. 3574

To continue the work to enhance access to the Willamette River that has been initiated by the Willamette River Basin communities, State, regional, local, and Indian tribal governments and non-government partnerships, and for other purposes.


September 18, 2007

Ms. Hooley (for herself, Mr. DeFazio, Mr. Blumenauer, and Mr. Wu) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 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


To continue the work to enhance access to the Willamette River that has been initiated by the Willamette River Basin communities, State, regional, local, and Indian tribal governments and non-government partnerships, 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; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Willamette River United Act”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Purposes.

Sec. 4. Definitions.

Sec. 5. Grant authorization.

Sec. 6. Private property protection and lack of regulatory effect.

Sec. 7. Tribal Rights and Interests.

Sec. 8. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 9. Agency partnership authorization.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The Willamette River basin has been inhabited by humans for at least 12,000 years, providing natural resources for the cultural life-ways for the Native American tribes of the Willamette Valley, Euro-Americans, pioneers, and other citizens. The area has sustained a cultural history that predates the Ice Age Floods of Missoula, Montana.

(2) The Willamette River Basin comprises almost 12,000 square miles, is home to almost 70 percent of Oregon’s population, and generates approximately 75 percent of the economic activity of the State.

(3) By 2050, an additional 1,700,000 people are expected to inhabit the Willamette River Basin, bringing the total population to approximately 4,000,000.

(4) The Willamette River is the 13th largest river, based on stream flow and produces the most runoff for its land area of any river in the Continental United States. Thirteen major tributaries feed into the mainstem Willamette.

(5) The river and surrounding tributaries are home to a wide variety of fish and wildlife. In particular, the river is part of a migratory route for a variety of anadromous fish and provides spawning grounds for coho salmon, lamprey, sturgeon, spring and fall run chinook, and steelhead and cutthrout trout.

(6) The Willamette River is one of 14 rivers designated an American Heritage River in 1998. The American Heritage Rivers initiative is an innovative response to help river communities that seek Federal assistance and other resources to meet tough challenges, without imposing new regulations on private property owners and businesses.

(7) State, local, and tribal governments and local private for-profit and non-profit organizations have provided significant resources and technical assistance to address natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, archaeological resource protection, and historic and cultural preservation through collaborative partnerships.

(8) None of the accomplishments realized by the Willamette River through the American Heritage Rivers initiative could have occurred without the strong commitment of the Federal Government agencies to facilitate cooperative conservation actions that relate to use, enhancement, and enjoyment of natural resources, protection of the environment, or both, and that involve collaborative activity among Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other non-governmental entities and individuals.

(9) The natural resource federal agencies provide critical studies, analysis, technical assistance and expertise such that the scope of work that can be accomplished by local river communities is limited when these agencies are not adequately funded.

(10) Despite continued population growth, ongoing cleanup efforts have resulted in improvement toward several measures of watershed health, but more must be done to restore the river’s long-term health.

(11) Nature observation and sightseeing are among the fastest growing recreation activities in the Willamette Basin, increasing by 254 percent and 69 percent respectively, in the last 15 years.

(12) The Willamette River is experiencing renewed investments of State, regional, and non-government funding to capitalize on this increasing interest in the river from visitors and residents.

(13) Such investments include a $227,400,000 bond measure voters approved in 2006 to protect natural areas and lands near rivers and streams throughout the Portland metro region, safeguarding the quality of water while managing the impacts of growth and maintaining the area's quality of life for future generations.

SEC. 3. Purposes.

The purposes of this Act are:

(1) To continue the work to enhance access to the Willamette River that has been initiated by the Willamette River Basin communities, State, regional, local, and Indian tribal governments and non-government partnerships, and for other purposes.

(2) To assist the State of Oregon and the communities of the Willamette River Basin in restoring, preserving, protecting, promoting, and interpreting these historic, recreational, and natural resources for the benefit of the Nation.

(3) To authorize partnerships among Federal agencies, State, local, and Indian tribal governments, local communities, conservation organizations, and other non-Federal entities to carry-out the above-mentioned purposes.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

For the purposes of this Act:

(1) INDIAN TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.—The term “Indian tribal governments” means the governing body of one or more of the following federally recognized Indian tribes:

(A) The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.

(B) The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians.

(C) The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

(D) The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

(E) The Nez Perce Tribe.

(F) The Yakama Indian Nation.

(2) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Interior.

(3) WILLAMETTE RIVER.—The term “Willamette River” means the approximately 187 miles from the headwaters at three separate forks, (Middle, North and Coast Forks in the mountains south and southeast of Eugene) at the southern end of the Willamette Valley to the confluence with the Columbia River at St. Helens (north of Portland).

(4) WILLAMETTE RIVER TRIBUTARIES.—The term “Willamette River Tributaries” includes Calapooia, Clackamas, Coast Fork Willamette, Long Tom, Luckiamute, McKenzie, Marys, Middle Fork Willamette, Molalla, Pudding, Santiam, Tualatin, and Yamhill rivers.

(5) WILLAMETTE RIVER BASIN.—The term “Willamette River Basin” means the area in which all surface water, approximately 11,000 miles of wetlands, creeks, streams, and rivers feed the Willamette River mainstem flows from its headwaters in the Cascades and Coast Range.

(6) CONSERVATION PROJECTS.—The term “conservation projects” includes—

(A) projects to restore and protect the natural hydrologic functions of the Willamette River Basin;

(B) projects to restore and protect habitat for aquatic, riparian, wetland, and upland flora and fauna;

(C) acquisition from willing sellers of conservation easements or title to land; and

(D) projects to restore and protect water quality.

SEC. 5. Grant authorization.

(a) Authorization; cooperative agreement.—The Secretary shall enter into cooperative agreements with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to provide for those entities to administer the grant program authorized by this section.

(b) Eligible projects.—Grants under this section may be made for recreation, historic, archaeological, and cultural preservation or conservation projects that—

(1) provide restroom, dock, and trash facilities along the river;

(2) provide safety education;

(3) provide bicycle, pedestrian, and water trail signs on Willamette River and signs to commercial districts off the river;

(4) provide non-motorized craft acquisition for State agency enforcement and river education;

(5) design, plan, create, or complete bicycle, pedestrian, and water trails and bridges, recreation areas, parks, and conservation and wildlife reserves on and along the Willamette River and its tributaries and enrich their experiences;

(6) enhance recreation, conservation, interpretation, and tourism to draw people to the Willamette River;

(7) employ improved technologies, innovative partnerships, wetlands creation, and other creative devices to reduce pollution;

(8) restore, enhance, and protect water quality and watershed health and function through restoration and improvements by watershed councils, conservation districts, special districts, private land owners, tribal governments, local governments, and non-profit and non-governmental organizations, including research activities to better understand the ecosystem needs to restore fish and wildlife;

(9) provide outreach and education to promote and foster resource stewardship and to build social capacity to sustain and support environmental improvements;

(10) acquire, under priorities and eligibility conditions of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan or of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board’s Acquisitions program, interests in land, including easements, for the purposes of bike, pedestrian trails, parks, fish and wildlife habitat, conservation projects, and ecological restoration, including aquatic ecological restoration along the Willamette River and its tributaries;

(11) design of park and recreation and conservation projects, including the mapping, data collection, engineering, analysis of biology, hydrology and soils, and other technical evaluation;

(12) outreach to demonstrate the value of coordination and collaboration among communities pursuing common objectives along the length of the Willamette River; and

(13) outreach to interested and affected communities to solicit involvement in and to explain the projects authorized by this Act.

(c) Specific eligible grant projects.—Examples of grants that may be considered for these purposes include the following:

(1) South Waterfront Greenway in Portland.

(2) Salem Downtown Parks Connections Conversion.

(3) Willamette River national heritage area study to be conducted by National Park Service.

(4) Wilsonville Park to Boat Works Park pedestrian-bike bridge.

(d) Limitations.—Funds made available through grants made under this Act may not be used—

(1) to support regulatory actions or mitigation thereof; or

(2) for operations and maintenance costs.

(e) Matching requirements.—Projects funded with grants made under this Act shall have Federal, State, Tribal, regional, local, or private funding commitment based on grant authorization matching requirements of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department or the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Grants made under this Act for implementation shall require at least a 35 percent match from grantees. In-kind service may qualify as fulfillment of the 35 percent matching requirement and special consideration may be given to communities that can demonstrate local capacity building. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department or Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board may issue a rule by which the requirement under this subsection may be waived in whole or in part for land acquisition.

(f) Cooperative agreement.—Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board shall enter into a cooperative agreement to eliminate redundancy and enhance coordination to administer the grant program authorized by this section.

SEC. 6. Private property protection and lack of regulatory effect.

(a) Recognition of authority to control land use.—Nothing in this Act modifies any authority of Federal, State, or local governments to regulate land use.

(b) Voluntary participation of private property owners only.—Nothing in this Act requires the owner of any private property located in the Willamette Basin to participate in the land conservation, financial, or technical assistance or any other programs established under this Act.

(c) Purchase of land or interests in land from willing sellers only.—Funds appropriated to carry out this Act may be used to purchase land or interests in land only from willing sellers.

(d) Access to private property of participating landowners.—Private property landowners voluntarily participating in this Act shall permit access (including Federal, State, or local government access) to their property, at times agreeable to the landowner, to implement, inspect, monitor, or perform repairs or maintenance to projects funded under this Act.

(e) Liability.—Nothing in this Act creates any liability, or has any effect on liability under any other law, of a private property owner voluntarily participating in this Act with respect to any persons injured on the private property.

SEC. 7. Tribal Rights and Interests.

Nothing in this Act creates, alters, adjusts, or diminishes any treaty right or other right or interest of any Indian tribal government.

SEC. 8. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In general.—There is authorized to the Secretary $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2018, to remain available until expended. Of this amount $100,000 shall be available in each fiscal year to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality for reducing sources of pollution in the Willamette River. Of the remainder, the Secretary shall distribute 50 percent to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and 50 percent to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to carry out this Act.

(b) Administrative costs.—In addition to amounts authorized under subsection (a), there is authorized to be appropriated such funds as may be necessary for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to administer the grant program.

SEC. 9. Agency partnership authorization.

Federal agencies with administrative jurisdiction over natural resources or parks of the United States, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geologic Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers may—

(1) use funds not otherwise obligated to provide—

(A) technical and financial assistance, engineering and hydrology studies, and other assistance to the grant programs of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department when a private investment has been identified and private funds committed to that project; and

(B) financial assistance to Willamette River restoration, recreation, heritage and tourism efforts if the private or public partner can demonstrate strong support in the community; and

(2) enter into an agreement with Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board or Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to administer the Federal assistance but does not obligate the State agencies to any unfunded Federal authorization.