Summary: S.37 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (05/22/2014)

Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2013 - Title I: Montana Forest Jobs and Restoration Initiative - (Sec. 103) Establishes the Montana Forest Jobs and Restoration Pilot Initiative to sustain the economic development and recreational use of National Forest System land and other public land in Montana. Requires the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), through the Chief of the Forest Service, to implement forest and watershed restoration projects and other land management projects on certain eligible lands within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenai National Forests.

Establishes performance requirements directing the Secretary to place under contract for treatment of vegetation a specified acreage annually in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Kootenai National Forest. Requires the treatments to: (1) reduce the density of trees in a project area or reduce hazardous fuels (reducing or modifying living and dead vegetation to protect against the risk of wildfires); (2) be accomplished through the cutting of vegetation with mechanized equipment or by hand with a power saw; and (3) yield products that have a commercial value in local markets. Prohibits the use of prescribed fire to accomplish the qualified treatments of vegetation required.

Requires the Secretary to seek to meet the majority of the performance requirements for the Kootenai National Forest by placing under contract land within the Three Rivers District. Authorizes the Secretary to place Kootenai National Forest land in the Libby District, the Rexford District, or the Cabinet District under contract to meet performance requirements.

Applies administrative and judicial review provisions from the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to Initiative projects.

Requires the Secretary to submit compliance and progress reports to Congress.

Prohibits the Secretary from diverting funding from a National Forest or grassland located outside of Montana to meet the performance requirements. Permits the Secretary to reprogram funds appropriated for the National Forest System and allocated to be used on eligible land.

Permits the Secretary to include the Seeley Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest within the Initiative if specified conditions are met.

Terminates the Initiative on the later of 15 years after enactment of this Act or when performance requirements have been achieved.

(Sec. 104) Directs the Secretary to annually implement one or more of the projects.

Requires the Secretary to implement in one or more watershed areas projects providing landscape-scale work with the goal of minimizing entries into the watershed.

Allows the Secretary to enter into stewardship contracts or agreements to carry out the projects.

Requires the Secretary to give priority to carrying out projects in areas: (1) in which the road density exceeds 1.5 miles per square mile, (2) in the wildland-urban interface that are at risk of wildfire that would threaten public infrastructure or private property, (3) in which fish and wildlife habitat connectivity is compromised as a result of past management practices, and (4) that contain forests identified on the National Insect and Disease Risk Map as having a significant risk of tree mortality.

Requires an environmental review of projects to be carried out under provisions for hazardous fuel reduction projects set forth in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, with specified exceptions.

Authorizes the Secretary to develop an aquatic and riparian habitat protection strategy to modify conservation requirements in existing forest plans if the modifications would meet or exceed existing protection requirements.

Prohibits the Secretary from constructing permanent roads under this Act unless specified conditions are met. Requires the Secretary to: (1) decommission any temporary road constructed to carry out the land management project, and (2) decommission certain National Forest System roads and unauthorized roads.

Directs the Secretary to design projects to produce commercial and noncommercial wood products.

Title II: Designation of Wilderness and Special Management Areas in Montana - (Sec. 203) Designates specified lands administered by the Forest Service or the BLM in Montana as wilderness areas and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Transfers jurisdiction over specified public land administered by the BLM to the Secretary of Agriculture and incorporates the land in the East Pioneers Wilderness.

Sets forth provisions for the management of the wilderness areas regarding the incorporation of acquired land and interests; fire, insects, and diseases; access to private land; fish and wildlife; livestock grazing; outfitting and guide activities; and water impoundment structures.

Withdraws the land designated as wilderness from all forms of: (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and (3) disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

Provides for continued motorized access to maintain water infrastructure for cattle to protect fluvial Arctic Grayling and other aquatic species in the Ruby River within the Snowcrest Wilderness Area. Permits the trailing of sheep across the area to reach existing grazing allotments in the Gravelly Mountains.

(Sec. 205) Releases certain BLM wilderness study areas from further study for designation as wilderness areas, and releases the Sapphire and West Pioneer Wilderness Study Areas from further study for inclusion as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

(Sec. 207) Designates specified federal lands in Montana as special management or recreation management areas.

Withdraws the land from: (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and (3) disposition under laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

Restricts timber harvesting in the designated areas.

Sets forth area-specific management requirements, including requirements related to motorized and mechanized recreational vehicles and campground development, for: (1) the Highland Special Management Area; (2) the Lost Creek, Thunderbolt, and West Pioneers Recreation Management Areas; (3) the Otatsy Recreation Management Area; (4) the Three Rivers and Roderick Special Management Areas; (5) the Snowcrest Special Management Area; (6) Tobacco Roots Recreation Management Area; and (7) the West Big Hole Recreation Management Area.

(Sec. 208) Requires a study on: (1) the opportunities for expanded all-terrain vehicle roads and trails across the Three Rivers District and adjacent areas on the Kootenai National Forest, (2) the interconnectedness of roads on private or state land, and (3) the opportunities for expanded access points to existing trails.