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106th Congress                                            Rept. 106-561
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 2

======================================================================



 
                    ESTUARY RESTORATION ACT OF 2000
                                _______
                                

  June 9, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1775]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 1775) to catalyze restoration of estuary habitat through 
more efficient financing of projects and enhanced coordination 
of Federal and non-Federal restoration programs, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Estuary Restoration Act of 2000''.

 SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

  The purposes of this Act are--
          (1) to establish an Estuary Restoration Council to coordinate 
        existing Federal estuary restoration programs and to select 
        estuary restoration projects for Federal assistance;
          (2) to develop a national estuary restoration strategy for 
        creating and maintaining effective estuary restoration 
        partnerships among public agencies at all levels of government 
        and to establish new partnerships between the public and 
        private sectors, including agricultural interests and estuary 
        users;
          (3) to provide Federal assistance for estuary restoration 
        projects and to promote efficient financing of such projects; 
        and
          (4) to develop and enhance monitoring and research 
        capabilities for estuary restoration projects to ensure that 
        such projects are based on sound science and to create a 
        national database of estuary restoration information.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

  For the purposes of this Act, the following definitions apply:
          (1) Council.--The term ``Council'' means the Estuary 
        Restoration Council established by section 4.
          (2) Estuary.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``estuary'' has the meaning 
                given the terms ``estuarine zones'' and ``estuary'' in 
                section 104(n)(4) of the Federal Water Pollution 
                Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1254(n)(4)).
                  (B) Near coastal waters and wetlands of the great 
                lakes.--In addition to areas covered under subparagraph 
                (A), near coastal waters and wetlands of the Great 
                Lakes that are similar in form and function to 
                estuaries shall be eligible for assistance under this 
                Act.
          (3) Estuary restoration.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``estuary restoration'' 
                means an activity that results in improving degraded 
                estuaries or creating habitat (including both physical 
                and functional restoration), with the goal of attaining 
                a self-sustaining system integrated into the 
                surrounding landscape.
                  (B) Included activities.--The term ``estuary 
                restoration'' includes--
                          (i) the reestablishment of the physical 
                        features, hydrology, chemistry, and biological 
                        components associated with an estuary;
                          (ii) except as provided in subparagraph (C), 
                        the cleanup of contamination related to the 
                        restoration an estuary;
                          (iii) the control of non-native and invasive 
                        species in the estuary;
                          (iv) the reintroduction of species native to 
                        the estuary, including through such means as 
                        planting or promoting natural succession;
                          (v) the construction of reefs to promote fish 
                        and shellfish production and to provide habitat 
                        for living resources; and
                          (vi) other activities that improve the 
                        quality of an estuary for human users, fish, 
                        wildlife, and other living resources.
                  (C) Excluded activities.--The term ``estuary 
                restoration'' does not include--
                          (i) an act that constitutes mitigation for 
                        the adverse effects of an activity regulated or 
                        otherwise required by Federal or State law; or
                          (ii) an act that constitutes restitution for 
                        natural resource damages required under any 
                        Federal or State law.
          (4) Project.--The term ``project'' means an estuary 
        restoration project under consideration or selected by the 
        Council under section 5 to receive financial, technical, or 
        another form of assistance.
          (5) Federal estuary management or habitat restoration plan.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``Federal estuary 
                management or habitat restoration plan'' means any 
                Federal plan for the restoration of an estuary or 
                degraded estuary habitat that was developed with the 
                substantial participation of appropriate public and 
                private stakeholders.
                  (B) Included plans and programs.--The term ``Federal 
                estuary management or habitat restoration plan'' 
                includes--
                          (i) a comprehensive conservation and 
                        management plan approved under section 320 of 
                        the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
                        U.S.C. 1330);
                          (ii) a plan submitted under section 118 of 
                        the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
                        U.S.C. 1268);
                          (iii) a management program containing estuary 
                        restoration components approved under the 
                        Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 
                        1451 et seq.); and
                          (iv) the interstate management plan developed 
                        pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay Program under 
                        section 117 of the Federal Water Pollution 
                        Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1267).
          (6) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' has the meaning 
        given such term by section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination 
        and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).
          (7) Non-federal interest.--The term ``non-Federal interest'' 
        means a State, a political subdivision of a State, an Indian 
        tribe, or a regional or interstate agency.
          (8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Army.
          (9) State.--The term ``State'' has the meaning given the term 
        ``coastal State'' under section 304(4) of the Coastal Zone 
        Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1453(4)), except that for the 
        purposes of this Act, such term shall include the District of 
        Columbia.
          (10) Under secretary.--The term ``Under Secretary'' means the 
        Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department of 
        Commerce.

 SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF ESTUARY RESTORATION COUNCIL.

  (a) In General.--There is established an interagency council to be 
known as the Estuary Restoration Council.
  (b) Duties.--The Council shall--
          (1) develop and transmit to the Committee on Resources and 
        the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House 
        of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public 
        Works of the Senate a national strategy for estuary restoration 
        pursuant to section 5 and periodically review and update the 
        strategy;
          (2) determine the eligibility and priority of project 
        applications submitted under section 6;
          (3) provide advice in the development of the database and 
        monitoring standards under section 7; and
          (4) prepare and submit the report required under section 8.
  (c) Membership.--
          (1) In general.--The Council shall be composed of the 
        following members:
                  (A) The Secretary.
                  (B) The Under Secretary.
                  (C) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
                Agency.
                  (D) The Secretary of the Interior (acting through the 
                Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife 
                Service).
                  (E) The Secretary of Agriculture.
          (2) Ex officio members.--The President may designate the head 
        of any other Federal agency to serve as an ex officio member of 
        the Council.
          (3) Chairperson and vice-chairperson.--The Secretary shall 
        serve as the chairperson of the Council. The Under Secretary 
        shall serve as the vice-chairperson of the Council.
  (d) Meetings.--The chair or vice-chair shall--
          (1) convene the first meeting of the Council not later than 
        90 days after the date of enactment of this Act; and
          (2) convene additional meetings, as often as appropriate (but 
        not less often than annually), to select projects, and develop 
        a priority order of such projects, for funding under section 6 
        .
  (e) Procedures.--
          (1) Quorum.--Three members of the Council shall constitute a 
        quorum.
          (2) Voting and meeting procedures.--The Council shall 
        establish procedures for voting and the conduct of meetings.
  (f) Advisory Board.--
          (1) In general.--The Council may establish an advisory board 
        (in this subsection referred to as the ``board'') to provide 
        advice and recommendations to the Council on the strategy 
        developed pursuant to section 5 and on the selection and 
        prioritization of projects submitted under section 6.
          (2) Members.--The Council shall appoint members of the board 
        representing diverse public and private interests. Members of 
        the board shall be selected such that the board consists of--
                  (A) 2 members representing State agencies with 
                expertise in aquatic habitat restoration;
                  (B) 2 members representing local or regional 
                government agencies with expertise in aquatic habitat 
                restoration;
                  (C) 2 members with recognized academic scientific 
                expertise in aquatic habitat restoration;
                  (D) 2 members representing nongovernmental 
                organizations with expertise in aquatic habitat 
                restoration;
                  (E) 2 members representing estuary users;
                  (F) 1 member representing agricultural interests;
                  (G) 1 member representing Indian tribes; and
                  (H) 1 at-large member.
          (3) Terms.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided by subparagraph 
                (B), members of the board shall be appointed for a term 
                of 3 years.
                  (B) Initial members.--As designated by the 
                chairperson of the Council at the time of appointment, 
                of the members first appointed--
                          (i) 4 shall be appointed for a term of 1 
                        year; and
                          (ii) 4 shall be appointed for a term of 2 
                        years.
          (4) Vacancies.--Whenever a vacancy occurs among members of 
        the board, the Council shall appoint an appropriate individual 
        to fill that vacancy for the remainder of the applicable term.
          (5) Board leadership.--The board shall elect among its 
        members a chairperson of the board and a vice-chairperson of 
        the board to represent the board in matters related to its 
        duties under this Act.
          (6) Compensation.--Members of the board shall not be 
        construed to be employees of the United States, and may not 
        receive compensation for their service as members of the board, 
        except that while engaged in the performance of their duties 
        away from their homes or regular place of business, members of 
        the board may be allowed necessary travel expenses as 
        authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

 SEC. 5. ESTUARY RESTORATION STRATEGY.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Council shall develop and transmit to the Committee on 
Resources and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public 
Works of the Senate an estuary restoration strategy designed to promote 
estuary restoration nationwide and improve coordination among existing 
Federal estuary restoration activities and between Federal and non-
Federal estuary restoration activities. Such strategy shall include 
proposals for--
          (1) using programs established under this Act or any other 
        Act to maximize the incentives for the creation of new public-
        private partnerships to carry out estuary restoration projects;
          (2) using Federal resources to encourage increased private 
        sector involvement in estuary restoration activities;
          (3) ensuring that the strategy will be implemented in a 
        manner that is consistent with the requirements of Federal 
        estuary management or habitat restoration plans;
          (4) ensuring the long term conservation of lands and waters 
        restored, enhanced, or otherwise managed under this Act; and
          (5) ensuring an equitable geographic distribution of projects 
        funded under this Act.
  (b) Consideration of Existing Federal Plans, Programs, and 
Partnerships.--In developing the estuary restoration strategy, the 
Council shall conduct a review of--
          (1) Federal estuary management or habitat restoration plans; 
        and
          (2) Federal programs established under other laws that 
        provide funding for estuary or coastal wetland restoration 
        activities.
  (c) Public Participation.--The Council shall publish in the Federal 
Register a draft of the estuary restoration strategy and provide an 
opportunity for public review and comment. In developing the estuary 
restoration strategy, the Council shall seek advice from the advisory 
board established under section 4(f).
  (d) Periodic Revision.--Using data and information developed through 
project monitoring and management, and other relevant information, the 
Council may, as necessary, seek advice from the advisory board to 
periodically review and update the estuary restoration strategy. The 
Council shall transmit any updates of the estuary restoration strategy 
to Congress, after providing for appropriate public review and comment.

SEC. 6. ESTUARY RESTORATION PROJECTS.

  (a) In General.--The Council may provide assistance to non-Federal 
interests for carrying out estuary restoration projects that are 
consistent with this Act. In carrying out this section, the Council 
shall develop guidelines for reviewing and prioritizing estuary 
restoration projects. Such guidelines shall ensure a comprehensive 
approach to the selection and prioritization of estuary restoration 
projects.
  (b) Applications for Assistance.--A non-Federal interest may submit 
to the Council for consideration under subsection (c) an application 
for assistance in carrying out an estuary restoration project.
  (c) Selection of Projects.--
          (1) In general.--The Council shall review applications for 
        estuary restoration projects submitted under subsection (b). 
        Based on the criteria specified in paragraphs (2) and (3), the 
        Council shall determine the eligibility of each project and 
        establish a priority order for carrying out such projects.
          (2) Selection criteria.--The Council may not select a project 
        for funding under this section unless--
                  (A) the project addresses restoration needs 
                identified in an approved Federal estuary management or 
                habitat restoration plan;
                  (B) the project promotes--
                          (i) the restoration of habitat for fish and 
                        wildlife, including shellfish, endangered and 
                        threatened species, migratory and resident 
                        birds, and commercial and sport fish species;
                          (ii) the improvement of surface and ground 
                        water quality and quantity; or
                          (iii) the restoration of physical features 
                        and hydrologic functions, including flood 
                        control;
                  (C) after the Council publishes the estuary 
                restoration strategy under section 5, the project is 
                consistent with the strategy;
                  (D) the project is cost effective, based on sound 
                science, and technically feasible;
                  (E) the non-Federal interest proposing the project 
                demonstrates that adequate personnel, funding, and 
                authority exists to carry out and properly maintain the 
                project;
                  (F) the State in which the non-Federal interest is 
                proposing the project has a dedicated source of funding 
                to acquire or restore habitat, natural areas, and open 
                spaces;
                  (G) the project will encourage the increased 
                coordination and cooperation of Federal, State, and 
                local government agencies;
                  (H) the project includes a monitoring plan to ensure 
                that short-term and long-term restoration goals are 
                achieved; and
                  (I) there is an effective program or plan within the 
                watershed of the project to ensure the long-term 
                conservation of lands and waters restored, enhanced, or 
                otherwise managed by the project.
          (3) Priority estuary restoration projects.--An estuary 
        restoration project shall be given a higher priority in receipt 
        of funding under this section if, in addition to meeting the 
        selection criteria specified in paragraph (2)--
                  (A) the non-Federal share of the total costs of the 
                project exceeds 50 percent; or
                  (B) the project includes pilot testing or a 
                demonstration of an innovative technology having the 
                potential for improved cost-effectiveness in estuary 
                restoration.
  (d) Non-Federal Interest.--The Council may, upon recommendation of 
the Governor of the State and in consultation with responsible 
officials from local political jurisdictions in which a project would 
occur, allow a nongovernmental organization to serve as the non-Federal 
interest.
  (e) Lead Federal Agency.--The Council shall designate a lead Council 
member for each estuary restoration project funded under this section. 
The lead Council member shall have primary responsibility for 
overseeing and assisting in project implementation.
  (f) Cost Sharing of Estuary Habitat Restoration Projects.--
          (1) Written agreement.--
                  (A) Construction costs.--The Council shall not 
                provide any assistance for an estuary restoration 
                project until all appropriate non-Federal interests 
                have entered into a written agreement with the lead 
                Federal agency designated under subsection (e) in which 
                the non-Federal interests agree to provide the required 
                non-Federal share of the cost of the project.
                  (B) Operation, maintenance, replacement, and 
                rehabilitation costs.--An agreement entered into under 
                this paragraph shall require that the non-Federal 
                interest pay 100 percent of any operation, maintenance, 
                replacement, and rehabilitation costs of the estuary 
                restoration project to the extent prescribed by the 
                Council.
          (2) Federal share.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B), the Federal share of the cost of an estuary 
                restoration project under this section shall not exceed 
                50 percent of the total cost of the project.
                  (B) Interim actions.--Pending completion of the 
                estuary restoration strategy under section 5, the 
                Federal share of the cost of an interim action to carry 
                out an estuary restoration project shall not exceed 25 
                percent of the cost of the interim action.
          (3) Non-federal share.--A non-Federal interest shall provide 
        at least 50 percent of the cost of any project carried out 
        under this section including provision of all lands, easements, 
        rights-of-way, services, and relocations.

SEC. 7. MONITORING, RESEARCH, AND PEER REVIEW OF ESTUARY RESTORATION 
                    PROJECTS.

  (a) National Clearinghouse of Estuary Restoration Project 
Information.--
          (1) In general.--The Under Secretary shall maintain a 
        database of information related to estuary restoration 
        projects, including projects funded under section 6. Such 
        database shall include information on project goals and 
        accomplishments, techniques used to restore habitat, costs of 
        project completion, monitoring data, and other information that 
        the Council determines to be relevant.
          (2) Monitoring data standards.--The Under Secretary, in 
        consultation with the Council, shall develop quality control 
        requirements and standard data formats for estuary restoration 
        monitoring data, along with requirements for types of data 
        collected and frequency of monitoring.
          (3) Coordination of data.--The Under Secretary shall compile 
        information pertaining to estuary restoration projects from 
        other Federal, State, and local sources provided that the 
        information meets the quality control requirements and data 
        standards established under this subsection.
          (4) Use of existing programs.--The Under Secretary shall use 
        existing programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration to create and maintain the database required 
        under this subsection.
          (5) Public availability.--The Under Secretary shall make the 
        information collected and maintained under this subsection 
        available to the public.
  (b) Estuary Restoration Research and Innovation.--The Under Secretary 
shall develop and enhance monitoring and research capabilities, through 
use of existing programs, including the environmental technology 
innovation program associated with the National Estuarine Research 
Reserve System established by section 315 of the Coastal Zone 
Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1461), to ensure that restoration 
efforts are based on sound science and innovative technologies.
  (c) Peer Review.--The Council shall establish a procedure for 
providing scientific peer review, coordinated through the National 
Estuary Research Reserve System established by section 315 of the 
Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1461), of estuary 
restoration projects submitted under section 6.

SEC. 8. REPORT.

  (a) In General.--The Council shall biennially transmit to the States, 
the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on 
Environment and Public Works of the Senate a report on the results of 
activities carried out under this Act.
  (b) Contents of Report.--A report transmitted under subsection (a) 
shall include--
          (1) the number of acres of estuary habitat restored under 
        this Act and the status of other acres in need of restoration;
          (2) descriptions of, and partners involved with, projects 
        selected, in progress, and completed under this Act;
          (3) information related to ongoing monitoring of projects to 
        ensure that short-term and long-term restoration goals are 
        achieved;
          (4) an estimate of the long-term success of varying 
        restoration techniques used in carrying out estuary restoration 
        projects;
          (5) a review of how the information described in paragraphs 
        (1) through (4) has been incorporated in the selection and 
        implementation of estuary habitat restoration projects;
          (6) a review of efforts made to maintain a database of 
        restoration projects; and
          (7) a review of the measures taken to provide the information 
        described in subparagraphs (1) through (4) to persons with 
        responsibility for restoring estuaries;

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  (a) Authorization for Restoration Projects.--
          (1) In general.--There is authorized to be appropriated to 
        the Secretary to carry out estuary restoration projects under 
        this Act $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 
        2004. Such amounts shall remain available until expended.
          (2) Set-aside for administrative expenses of the council.--Of 
        the amounts appropriated for a fiscal year under this 
        subsection, not more than $1,000,000 may be used by the 
        Secretary for administration and operation of the Council and 
        advisory board.
          (3) Distribution of appropriations for estuary restoration 
        activities.--The Secretary shall allocate funds made available 
        to carry out this Act to the members of the Council, based on 
        the need for the funds and such other factors as the Council 
        determines to be appropriate to carry out this Act.
  (b) Authorization for Monitoring Database.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Under Secretary for the acquisition, maintenance, 
and management of monitoring data on restoration projects carried out 
under this Act $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 
2004. Such amounts shall remain available until expended.

SEC. 10. AGENCY CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION.

  (a) In General.--In carrying out this Act, the Council shall, as 
necessary, consult with, cooperate with, and coordinate its activities 
with the activities of other appropriate Federal agencies.
  (b) Cooperative Agreements; Memoranda of Understanding.--In carrying 
out this Act, the Council may enter into cooperative agreements and 
memoranda of understanding with Federal agencies and non-Federal 
interests.
  (c) Federal Agency Facilities and Personnel.--Federal agencies may 
cooperate in carrying out scientific and other programs necessary to 
carry out this Act, and may provide facilities and personnel for the 
purpose of assisting the Council in carrying out its duties under this 
Act.
  (d) Reimbursement.--Federal agencies may accept reimbursement from 
the Council for providing services, facilities, and personnel under 
subsection (c).

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purposes of H.R. 1775 are to catalyze restoration of 
estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects 
and enhanced coordination of federal and non-Federal 
restoration programs, and for other purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Estuaries are coastal waterbodies that occur where 
freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with saltwater from 
the ocean. These transition zones between inland and marine 
environments are strongly influenced by land use activities in 
their surrounding watersheds. Coastal waters and wetlands along 
the Great Lakes have similar characteristics and provide many 
of the same natural functions as estuaries. Estuaries provide 
some of the most biologically and economically productive 
habitat in the country, and are important for migratory birds, 
commercially valuable fish species, shellfish, and other 
wildlife. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, more than 75 percent of the commercially 
important fish and shellfish and 80 percent of recreational 
fish species depend on estuaries during some point in their 
life cycles. In 1998, U.S. commercial fishermen alone landed 
about 9.2 billion pounds of fish and shellfish at U.S. ports, 
which was valued at approximately $3.1 billion. The thousands 
of firms located throughout the United States which produce, 
process and distribute this fish and shellfish combined 
contribute more than $25 billion to the U.S. Gross National 
Product, a significant contribution to the national economy.
    Years of intensive use have degraded many of these 
sensitive areas. Estuaries in the United States suffer from a 
host of environmental problems including poor water quality, 
sediment contamination, habitat loss, harmful algal blooms, and 
altered freshwater flows. Out of the 30,000 square miles of 
estuaries in the United States, the Environmental Protection 
Agency has reported to Congress in the latest National Water 
Quality Inventory that nearly 40 percent are impaired. From 
pre-industrial times to the present, it is estimated that over 
55 million acres of coastal wetlands in the continental United 
States have been degraded or destroyed. In the Chesapeake Bay, 
habitat degradation and disease have resulted in a declining 
oyster harvest from approximately 133 million pounds in 1880 to 
2.86 million pounds in 1998. Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island 
suffers from hypoxia during the summer and has lost as much as 
70 percent of its eel grass beds, a significant reduction in 
habitat for juvenile fish. The Louisiana Department of Natural 
Resources estimates that the State is losing annually 25 to 30 
square miles of coastal wetlands and estuary habitat along the 
Mississippi River delta on the Gulf of Mexico due to 
subsidence, shoreline erosion, freshwater and sediment 
deprivation, saltwater intrusion, channelization and invasive 
species. Similar problems have been cited for Long Island 
Sound, Tampa Bay, Galveston Bay, San Francisco Bay, and many 
other coastal areas.
    Due to the importance of estuaries to fish, wildlife, human 
recreation, commercial activities, and the national economy, 
the Committee feels that there is a need for additional funding 
to carry out estuary restoration nationwide. However, the 
Committee believes that this funding should be coordinated with 
and be consistent with existing estuary and wetland restoration 
programs. As reported by the Resources Committee, H.R. 1775 
will supplement existing estuary programs, streamline the 
project selection and funding process, and provide equal 
opportunity for all of the federal agencies with expertise and 
responsibility for managing estuaries to develop the priority 
project list for funding. Over the last thirty years, Congress 
has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars to develop 
federal estuary management and habitat restoration plans 
through programs developed pursuant to the Coastal Zone 
Management Act, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and 
Restoration Act, and the Clean Water Act. Clean Water Act 
programs, including the National Estuary Program, the 
Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Great Lakes Program, have been 
successful at developing locally-led management plans, but 
funds appropriated for these programs have been insufficient to 
fully implement the restoration components identified in the 
plans. H.R. 1775 provides a unified approach to address the 
aquatic habitat restoration needs identified by these plans and 
fills a critical role for funding large-scale, complicated 
estuary restoration projects that could not otherwise be 
undertaken given the limited funding for these programs.
    The Estuary Restoration Council established by H.R. 1775 
will coordinate the estuary restoration activities of several 
federal agencies. H.R. 1775 builds upon existing Army Corps of 
Engineers authority and expertise for water resources 
development and construction, including aquatic ecosystem 
restoration (section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act 
of 1996), fish and wildlife mitigation (section 906 of the 
Water Resources Development Act of 1986), and the environmental 
protection mitigation fund (section 908 of the Water Resources 
Development Act of 1986). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) maintains a system of 25 National 
Estuarine Reserves, which are federal-State partnerships 
established under the 1972 Coastal Zone Management Act to study 
estuarine processes and ecosystems. NOAA also maintains an 
Office of Response and Restoration to address degraded marine 
habitat and is responsible for protecting important spawning 
and rearing habitat of many marine species through the National 
Marine Fisheries Service. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) 
is charged with protecting coastal habitat for migratory 
waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife that use estuaries at 
different times during the year. FWS also assists with measures 
to control invasive species that impact estuaries and Great 
Lakes habitat. The Environmental Protection Agency is 
responsible for managing and protecting the quality of the 
nation's waters. The Department of Agriculture provides 
assistance for such things as small watershed improvements, 
agricultural best management practices, invasive species 
control, conservation and wetland reserve programs, and other 
activities. These agencies also participate on the 
Administration's ``Coastal America'' partnership, which was 
created to unify federal coastal policy. The Committee believes 
that the Council should rely on the existing infrastructure 
created through Coastal America to implement the provisions of 
H.R. 1775 as appropriate.
    H.R. 1775 directs the Council to establish an advisory 
board to assist with the development of a national estuary 
restoration strategy and the selection of estuary restoration 
projects. The Committee believes that local, State, and non-
governmental input is important for carrying out successful 
habitat restoration projects. In 1987, Congress created the 
National Estuary Program (NEP) to promote comprehensive 
planning for the long term protection of 28 nationally 
significant estuaries through collaborative, voluntary 
partnerships between federal, State and local governments, 
private, and non- profitinterests. The management conferences 
for these estuaries have developed management and restoration plans 
with significant public input. Sufficient local and State input for 
estuary restoration projects can be derived from the use of a well-
balanced advisory board with expertise in aquatic ecosystem 
restoration, instead of regional estuary restoration councils. Members 
of the board should have knowledge of fresh or salt water aquatic 
habitat restoration, and the Committee encourages the Council to select 
members for the advisory board who represent a diverse range of views 
and geographic areas, including those who utilize estuarine areas.
    Projects selected for funding will be developed with a 
substantial amount of public review and input. H.R. 1775 
requires that projects be selected from among those restoration 
needs identified under federal estuary management or habitat 
restoration plans, such as State coastal zone management plans 
or the comprehensive conservation and management plans for 
estuaries in the NEP. Non-Federal interests (States, local 
governments, Indian tribes, and nongovernmental organizations) 
may submit applications (either singly or jointly) for 
assistance in carrying out an estuary restoration project to 
the Council. The Council may allow a non-governmental 
organization with estuary restoration experience to serve as 
the non-Federal interest with the concurrence of the Governor 
of the State and the support of the appropriate locally-elected 
officials. This ensures that only those projects with 
substantial support will be funded, and that an elected 
government official will ultimately be responsible for the 
implementation of the project.
    The Council, with input from the non-federal advisory 
board, will review, select, and prioritize eligible projects 
for funding. The Council should develop guidelines for 
determining whether a project is cost-effective that are 
consistent with the procedures used by the Army Corps of 
Engineers for other water resources development and aquatic 
restoration projects. The Council should also develop 
procedures for providing peer review of estuary restoration 
projects through the National Estuarine Research Reserve 
System. The Committee intends that the Council rely on 
restoration experts who receive funding through the National 
Estuarine Research Reserve System or who perform research at 
System sites (not the Reserve managers) to carry out the 
necessary peer review. These scientists participate in research 
projects at the Reserve System, and represent a broad range of 
academic disciplines and institutions.
    The Committee recognizes that many estuary restoration 
projects will be expensive. The Council has the discretion to 
determine the appropriate mechanisms for selecting a balance of 
small and large restoration projects, as well ensuring 
equitable geographic distribution of projects. Large 
restoration projects may require multi-year funding agreements 
and several construction seasons. The Committee envisions that 
projects that do not receive funding in a given fiscal year may 
remain eligible for funding in subsequent years, provided the 
non-Federal interest, State and local governments continue to 
support the project.
    H.R. 1775 directs the Under Secretary for Oceans and 
Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce to establish 
monitoring criteria, data standards and develop a national 
clearinghouse of estuary restoration information. The Under 
Secretary should make the information available to the public 
on the Internet in a format that is useful for academic 
research and other estuary restoration programs. The Committee 
strongly encourages the Under Secretary to use existing 
programs, such as the National Ocean Service's Office of 
Response and Restoration, the National Marine Fisheries 
Service's Restoration Center, and the National Estuarine 
Research Reserve System to carry out the monitoring and 
database directives of H.R. 1775.
    This legislation provides a balanced approach to selecting 
and prioritizing estuary restoration projects. It addresses the 
need for increased funding for estuary restoration, and relies 
upon the strengths of existing federal laws and programs to 
implement a coordinated, cost-effective program for restoring 
estuaries.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1775 was introduced on May 12, 1999, by Representative 
Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD). The bill was primarily referred to the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and additionally 
to the Committee on Resources. Within the Resources Committee, 
the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Fisheries 
Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans. On September 23, 1999, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On October 28, 1999, 
the Subcommittee met to mark up the bill. The bill was ordered 
favorably reported to the Full Committee by voice vote without 
amendment. On May 24, 1999, the Full Resources Committee met to 
consider the bill. Chairman Don Young (R-AK) offered an 
amendment in the nature of substitute to simplify the project 
selection process and enhance the role of NOAA in selecting and 
carrying out estuary restoration projects. Congressman George 
Miller (D-CA) offered an amendment to the amendment to clarify 
that Indian tribes and Alaska natives were eligible non-Federal 
interests and to add a seat on the advisory board for Indian 
tribes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote. The amendment 
in the nature of a substitute, as amended, was then adopted by 
voice vote. The bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives by voice vote.

        SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF BILL AS ORDERED REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    The short title of this Act is the ``Estuary Restoration 
Act of 2000''.

Section 2. Purposes

    The purposes of H.R. 1775 are to establish an Estuary 
Restoration Council to coordinate federal estuary restoration 
activities; to develop a national estuary restoration strategy; 
to provide federal assistance to implement voluntary estuary 
restoration projects; and to develop and enhance monitoring and 
research capabilities for estuary restoration projects.

Section 3. Definitions

    Section 3 defines the terms used in the Act. The term 
``estuary'' is defined to be consistent with the combined 
definition of the terms ``estuary'' and ``estuarine zone'' as 
they are used in the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1254(n)(4)). 
Estuaries are transitional zones between fresh and salt water. 
Projects funded under this Act will be carried out in estuaries 
and associated habitat which includes, but is not limited to, 
salt marshes, coastal forested wetlands, coastal and intertidal 
areas, bays, harbors, lagoons, inshore waters, and channels. 
Although they are not considered to be estuaries, coastal 
waters and wetlands on the Great Lakes provide similar habitat, 
hydrologic, and water quality functions. These areas are 
eligible for projects under this Act. Near-coastal waters and 
wetlands on the Great Lakes may include coastal wetlands, 
marshes, swamps, embayments, harbors, drowned river mouths and 
other geographical features that provide estuary-like habitat 
and have a direct hydrological connection with the Lakes.
    The term ``estuary restoration'' defines the types of 
projects that can be undertaken with assistance under this Act. 
Estuary restoration includes the control of non-native and 
invasive species, and reestablishing native estuarine species, 
including plants such as sea grass or spartina in cases where 
reestablishing native vegetation is important for the long-term 
protection of shorelines from erosion and for providing habitat 
to benefit fish and wildlife.
    The term ``non-Federal interest'' is defined to be 
consistent with existing uses of the term in other Army Corps 
of Engineers programs, except that for the purposes of H.R. 
1775, the term includes Indian tribes and native Alaskans as 
defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and 
Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)).

Section 4. Establishment of Estuary Restoration Council

    Section 4 establishes a federal Estuary Restoration Council 
tasked with developing and implementing a national strategy for 
estuary restoration, selecting and prioritizing estuary 
restoration projects for funding, developing monitoring 
standards for restoration projects and incorporating monitoring 
information into a database, and reporting on the progress of 
the national estuary restoration strategy to Congress. The 
Council consists of the Secretary of the Army, the Under 
Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department of 
Commerce, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
Agency, the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the 
Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and the 
Secretary of Agriculture. The President may designate the head 
of any other federal agency as a non-voting, ex-officio member. 
The Secretary of the Army is designated as the Council chair, 
and the Under Secretary is designated as the vice-chair. The 
Council is directed to establish procedures for meetings, 
voting, and other administrative functions of the Council.
    H.R. 1775 allows the Council to establish an advisory board 
to provide recommendations to the Council on implementing the 
Act and selecting projects. The board will help to create 
partnerships between all levels of government and between the 
public and private sectors. The board consists of 13 members, 
representing geographically diverse state, local and regional 
governments, Indian tribes, non-profit organizations, well-
known scientists with expertise in aquatic restoration, estuary 
user groups, agricultural interests, and an at-large member.

Section 5. Estuary restoration strategy

    Section 5 directs the Estuary Restoration Council to 
develop a national estuary restoration strategy based on a 
review of current federal estuary management or habitat 
restoration plans, existing estuary and coastal wetland 
restoration programs, and the advice and recommendations of the 
advisory board. The strategy shall include proposals for 
establishing new public-private partnerships, using the 
projects authorized under this Act to increase private 
involvement in estuary restoration, and ensuring that the 
strategy will be implemented consistent with existing federal 
estuary management programs. The Council shall provide 
appropriate opportunity for public notice and comment, and 
submit the completed strategy to the Committees on 
Transportation and Infrastructure and Resources of the House 
and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the 
Senate. The Council may periodically review, update, and submit 
to the Committees changes to the estuary restoration strategy.

Section 6. Estuary restoration projects

    Section 6 authorizes the Council to provide assistance to 
non-Federal interests, including State, local and regional 
governments, to carry out estuary restoration projects. 
Eligible non-Federal interests are defined to be consistent 
with existing Army Corps of Engineers construction authorities. 
Non-Federal interests submit project proposals and applications 
for assistance to the Council for consideration. The assistance 
will be provided for specific estuary restoration projects 
through contracts and memoranda of agreement. A non-
governmental organization may serve as the non-Federal interest 
with the consent of the Governor of the State in which a 
project will be carried out. The Council is required to consult 
with the appropriate locally-elected officials prior to 
allowing a non-governmental organization to serve as the non-
Federal interest. The Council selects appropriate projects that 
meet the criteria for funding and prioritizes the list of 
projects. To be eligible to receive funding, the non-Federal 
interest must demonstrate the following:
     The project addresses restoration needs identified 
in an approved federal estuary management or habitat 
restoration plan;
     The project will promote the restoration of 
habitat for fish and wildlife, improve surface and ground water 
quality or quantity, or restore physical and hydrologic 
features;
     The project is consistent with the national 
estuary restoration strategy;
     The project is based on sound science and is 
technically feasible, including being cost-effective;
     The non-Federal interest has adequate personnel, 
funding, and authority to carry out and maintain the project;
     The State in which the project will be carried out 
has a dedicated source of funding to acquire or restore 
habitat, natural areas, and open spaces;
     The project will encourage increased coordination 
and cooperation between all levels of government;
     The project includes a monitoring plan to ensure 
that short and long-term goals are achieved; and
     There is an effective program or plan in the 
project's watershed which will ensure the long-term success of 
the project and prevent re-impairment of the habitat restored 
by the project.
    In addition to the selection criteria listed above, the 
Council shall give priority consideration to projects where the 
non-federal share will exceed 50 percent of the total cost of 
the project and to projects that include pilot testing or 
demonstration of innovative restoration technology.
    After a project has been selected for funding, the Council 
shall choose a lead federal agency from the members of the 
Council to oversee the implementation of the project. H.R. 1775 
directs the Secretary to redistribute funding through the lead 
agency, as appropriate, to carry out estuary restoration 
projects. The lead agency shall enter into written agreements 
with any appropriate non-Federal interest involved with project 
implementation under which the non-Federal interests agree to 
provide at least 50 percent of the total cost of the project, 
including the provision of all lands, easements, rights-of-way, 
services, and relocation. For example, the non-Federal interest 
would be expected to provide the lands necessary for disposal 
of dredged materials for an estuary project. The non-Federal 
interest shall also agree to pay 100 percent of the costs of 
operation and maintenance of the project, and in the event of 
failure, replacement or rehabilitation of the restored estuary. 
This requirement is similar to existing Army Corps of Engineers 
authorities for water resources projects. Pending the 
completion of the national estuary restoration strategy, the 
federal share of a project is limited to 25 percent of the 
total cost of the project.

Section 7. Monitoring, research, and peer review of estuary restoration 
        projects

    Section 7 directs the Under Secretary to establish and 
maintain a database of estuary restoration projects and 
monitoring data that are deemed appropriate by the Council. The 
database shall be made available to the public. The Under 
Secretary shall establish data quality standards, monitoring 
criteria, and standardized formats for reporting estuary 
monitoring information. To the extent practicable, the Under 
Secretary shall include information from other sources 
pertaining to estuary restoration. The Under Secretary is 
directed to utilize existing programs within NOAA to carry out 
and implement this section.
    The Under Secretary shall also utilize the monitoring and 
research capabilities of the National Estuarine Research 
Reserve System to ensure that restoration efforts are based on 
sound science. Section 7 requires the Council to establish 
procedures for providing scientific peer review coordinated 
through the National Estuarine Research Reserve System to 
determine whether a project meets the selection criteria of 
being technically feasible and based on sound science 
(including cost-effectiveness).

Section 8. Report

    The Council shall transmit a biennial report to the States, 
the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Transportation 
and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, and the 
Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, on the 
activities carried out under this Act, including:
     The number of estuary habitat acres restored and 
the status of other acres in need of restoration;
     Descriptions of projects and partners receiving 
assistance under the Act;
     Information related to ongoing monitoring to 
measure progress towards achieving short and long-term goals;
     Estimates of the success of different restoration 
strategies; and
     A review of the implementation of an estuary 
restoration monitoring database.
    The report should include detailed descriptions of projects 
funded under this Act. These descriptions should include 
information about any land acquired with funds under this Act, 
the use of non-federal lands to implement the project, the 
long-term monitoring and maintenance requirements of each 
project, and any other information that the Council deems 
necessary.

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations

    Section 8 authorizes $50 million per year for each of 
fiscal years 2002 through 2004 to be appropriated to the 
Secretary to carry out estuary restoration projects. Not more 
than $1 million may be used for the administrative expenses of 
the Council and advisory board. The Secretary is directed to 
allocate funds made available to carry out this Act to members 
of the Council as necessary and appropriate to carry out 
estuary restoration projects. Additionally, section 9 
authorizes $1 million for each of fiscal years 2002 through 
2004 to be appropriated to the Under Secretary to develop and 
maintain an estuary restoration and monitoring database.

Section 10. Agency consultation and coordination

    Section 10 directs the Council to consult, coordinate, and 
cooperate with other federal agencies to carry out this Act. 
The Council is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements 
and memoranda of understanding with federal and non-Federal 
interests to implement the Act. Federal agencies may accept 
reimbursement from the Council for providing services, 
facilities, and personnel to implement estuary restoration 
projects.

            committee oversight findings and recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations 
are reflected in the body of this report.

                  federal advisory committee statement

    The functions of the proposed advisory committee authorized 
in the bill are not currently being nor could they be performed 
by one or more agencies, an advisory committee already in 
existence or by enlarging the mandate of an existing advisory 
committee.

                   constitutional authority statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    compliance with house rule xiii

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. Government Reform Oversight Findings. Under clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee has received no report of 
oversight findings and recommendations from the Committee on 
Government Reform on this bill.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, June 2, 2000.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1775, the Estuary 
Restoration Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Rachel 
Applebaum.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1775--Estuary Restoration Act of 2000

    Summary: H.R. 1775 would establish the Estuary Restoration 
Council, consisting of representatives of multiple federal 
agencies, to develop a strategy for restoring estuary habitats 
and provide financial assistance to nonfederal entities for 
restoration projects. The bill would authorize the 
appropriation of $150 million over the 2002-2004 period to the 
Corps of Engineers for that purpose. In addition, the bill 
would authorize the appropriation of $3 million over the same 
period to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
to collect information to monitor the effectiveness of estuary 
restoration projects. Assuming appropriation of the specified 
amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost 
$117 million over the 2001-2005 period, and $36 million after 
2005.
    H.R. 1775 contains no private-sector or intergovernmental 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
Any expenditures made by state and local governments to satisfy 
the matching requirements of grants authorized by this bill 
would be voluntary. The bill would not affect direct spending 
or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not 
apply.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1775 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation would fall within budget function 
300 (natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2001     2002     2003     2004     2005
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level................................................        0       51       51       51        0
Estimated Outlays..................................................        0        8       31       46       32
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would result in additional outlays of $117 million over the 
2001-2005 period, assuming appropriation of the amounts 
authorized for each year. Estimated outlays are based on 
historical spending patterns for similar activities.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1775 
contains no private-sector or intergovernmental mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Any expenditures made by state and local 
governments to satisfy the matching requirements of grants 
authorized by this bill would be voluntary.
    Previous CBO estimate: On March 27, 2000, CBO transmitted a 
cost estimate for H.R. 1775, as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on March 16, 
2000. The two versions of H.R. 1775 are similar; however, the 
version approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee would authorize the appropriation of $172 million 
more than the version approved by the Resources Committee.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Rachel Applebaum; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie 
Miller; and Impact on the Private Sector: Natalie Tawil.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.