Summary: H.R.767 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (10/22/2007)

Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Act - (Sec. 4) Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide under the Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Grant Program or the REPAIR Program (established by this Act): (1) a grant to any eligible applicant to carry out a qualified control project to control harmful nonnative species; and (2) a grant to any state to carry out an assessment project to identify harmful nonnative species, assess the needs to restore, manage, or enhance native fish, wildlife, and habitats, identify priorities, and identify mechanisms to increase capacity building for native fish, wildlife, and habitats.

Requires the Secretary to consult with the Invasive Species Advisory Committee: (1) on the projects proposed for such grants, including the scientific merit, technical merit, feasibility, and priority of proposed projects; and (2) regarding the development of a database concerning control projects carried out with such grants.

Requires the Invasive Species Advisory Committee to: (1) consult with the Secretary on the creation of criteria and guidelines for such grants; (2) consult with the Secretary regarding whether proposed control projects are qualified control projects, as determined under this Act; and (3) carry out functions relating to the monitoring of control projects.

Specifies that eligible applicants for grants to carry out qualified control projects shall: (1) be a state, local government, interstate or regional agency, university, or private person; (2) have adequate personnel, funding, and authority to carry out and monitor or maintain a control project; and (3) have entered into an agreement with the Secretary or the Secretary's designee for a national wildlife refuge or refuge complex.

Sets forth requirements for determining the selection of qualified control projects, including the ranking of such projects.

Instructs the Secretary to ensure: (1) a balance of smaller and larger projects conducted; and (2) an equitable geographic distribution of projects carried out among all regions and states within which such projects are proposed to be conducted.

Sets forth requirements for: (1) the duration and renewal of grants; (2) reporting by grantees carrying out control and assessment projects; and (3) federal and non-federal cost sharing for such projects. Provides that the federal share of the cost of the portion of a control project that is carried out on national wildlife refuge lands or waters shall be 100%, including the cost of acquisition by the federal government of land or waters.

Requires the Secretary to report to Congress on the implementation of such Program. Requires such reports to include an assessment of specified, data, trends, and reviews concerning the control projects carried out under this Act.

Bars the Secretary from making a grant for a control project on national wildlife refuge lands or lands in proximity to refuge resources before a non-federal interest has entered into a written agreement with a national wildlife refuge or refuge complex under which the non-federal interest agrees to: (1) monitor and maintain the control project according to the plan required by this Act; and (2) provide any other items of cooperation the Secretary considers necessary to carry out the project.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes the Secretary to provide financial assistance to enable an immediate response to outbreaks of harmful nonnative species that threaten or may negatively impact refuge resources that are at a stage at which rapid eradication or control is possible, and to ensure eradication or immediate control of such species. Requires the provision of such assistance to local and state agencies, universities, or nongovernmental entities for the eradication of an immediate harmful nonnative species threat only under specified conditions, including that the proposed response to such threat minimizes adverse impacts to the structure and function of national wildlife refuge ecosystems and adverse effects on nontarget species. Makes the federal share of the cost of any activity carried out with such assistance 100%. Requires recipients of such assistance to monitor and report on activities carried out with such assistance.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary, consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998, to establish a cooperative volunteer harmful nonnative species monitoring and control program to administer and coordinate projects implemented by partner organizations concerned with national wildlife refuges to address such species that threaten national wildlife refuges or adjacent lands.

Requires each project administered and coordinated to include one of the following activities: (1) habitat surveys; (2) detection and identification of new introductions or infestations of harmful nonnative species; (3) harmful nonnative species control projects; or (4) public education and outreach to increase awareness concerning such species and their threat to the refuge system.

(Sec. 7) Describes this Act's effect with respect to: (1) other authorities, responsibilities, obligations, or powers of the Secretary under any other statute; and (2) preemption of any provision or enforcement of state law relating to management of fish and wildlife resources.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Secretary to submit biennial reports summarizing all grant activities relating to invasive species initiated under this Act.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes appropriations. Allows not more than 25% of amounts appropriated for carrying out this Act to be available in any fiscal year for immediate response assistance under this Act. Limits expenditure for administrative expenses.