Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/28/2009)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on June 23, 2009. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act - (Sec. 2) Requires the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), to carry out a Recovery and Research Program for southern sea otter populations along the coast of California that includes: (1) monitoring, analysis, and assessment of population demographics, health, mortality, and life history parameters; and (2) implementation of measures to reduce or eliminate potential factors limiting populations that are related to marine ecosystem health or human activities.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) appoint persons to a southern sea otter recovery implementation team as authorized under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 within a year; (2) establish a peer-reviewed, merit-based process to award competitive grants for research regarding such otters and for projects assisting the recovery of otter populations; and (3) establish a peer review panel to provide scientific advice and guidance to prioritize proposals for grants.

Authorizes research grant topics to include: (1) causes of sea otter mortality; (2) southern sea otter demographics and natural history; (3) effects and sources of pollutants, nutrients, and toxicants on such otters and sequestration of contaminants; (4) effects and sources of infectious diseases and parasites affecting such otters; (5) limitations on the availability of food resources for such otters and the impacts of food limitation on southern sea otter carrying capacity; (6) interactions between southern sea otters and coastal fisheries and other human activities in the marine environment; (7) assessment of the keystone ecological role of sea otters in southern and central California's coastal marine ecosystems; and (8) assessment of the adequacy of emergency response and contingency plans.

Authorizes funded recovery projects to include projects to: (1) protect and recover southern sea otters; (2) reduce, mitigate, or eliminate potential factors limiting southern sea otter populations that are related to human activities; and (3) implement emergency response and contingency plans.

Requires the Secretary, within 12 months, to report to Congress on: (1) the status of southern sea otter populations; (2) implementation of the research and grant programs; and (3) endangered species consultations regarding southern sea otters.

Requires the Secretary, within 24 months and every five years thereafter, to report to Congress and the public on: (1) an evaluation of southern sea otter health, causes of southern sea otter mortality, and the interactions of southern sea otters with California's coastal marine ecosystems; (2) an evaluation of actions taken to improve otter health, reduce mortality, and improve southern sea otter habitat; (3) recommendation for actions to improve otter health, reduce the occurrence of human-related mortality, and improve the health of such coastal marine ecosystems; and (4) recommendations for funding to implement this Act.

(Sec. 4) Authorizes appropriations for each of FY2010-FY2015.

(Sec. 5) Terminates this Act on the date the Secretary publishes a determination that the southern sea otter should be removed from the endangered species and threatened species lists.