(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.)
Calendar No. 323
106th Congress Report
1st Session 106-189
ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION PARTNERSHIP
ACT OF 1999
October 14, 1999.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Chafee, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[to accompany S. 835]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was
referred the bill (S. 835) to encourage restoration of estuary
habitat through more efficient project financing and enhanced
coordination of Federal and non-Federal restoration programs,
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports
favorably thereon with an amendment, and recommends the bill,
as amended, do pass.
General Statement and Background
Estuaries are those bays, gulfs, sounds, and inlets where
fresh water meets and mixes with salt water from the ocean.
They provide some of the most economically and ecologically
productive habitat for an extensive variety of species of
plants, fish, wildlife, and waterfowl. According to the U.S.
Department of Commerce, more than 75 percent of the commercial
fish and shellfish catch and 80 to 90 percent of the
recreational fish catch in the United States depend on
estuaries at some stage in their lifecycles. The commercial
fishing industry alone contributes $111 billion per year to the
Estuary habitat is the complex of physical and hydrologic
features and living organisms within estuaries and their
associated ecosystems. The various kinds of estuary habitats--
river deltas, sea grass meadows, forested wetlands, shellfish
beds, marshes and beaches--support a flourishing range of
wildlife and plants. Estuaries are home to a large percentage
of endangered and threatened species and half of the
neotropical migratory birds in the United States. Because fish
and birds migrate, the health of these habitats is intertwined
with the health of other ecosystems thousands of miles away.
Estuaries are also essential to the nation's quality of
life. Over half the population of the United States lives near
a coastal area. In 1993, 180 million Americans, 70 percent of
the nation's population, visited estuaries to fish, swim, hunt,
dive, view wildlife, bike and learn.
Regrettably, estuaries are in danger. From colonial times
until 1990, over 55 million acres of wetlands in the coastal
mainland States were degraded or destroyed. This accounts for
more than 50 percent of the total wetlands losses throughout
the nation. Recent population growth in coastal watersheds;
dredging; draining; bulldozing and paving; pollution; dams;
sewage discharges and other activities have lead to extensive
loss and continuing destruction of estuary habitat, which has
reached more than 90 percent over the last 100 years in certain
areas of the United States. For instance, since 1900, San
Francisco Bay has lost 95 percent of its original wetlands, and
Galveston Bay has lost 85 percent of its sea grass meadows.
The latest National Water Quality Inventory Report to
Congress by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that as
of 1996, almost 40 percent of the nation's surveyed estuarine
waters were too polluted for basic uses, such as fishing and
swimming. Fish catches are at extremely low levels, many
shellfish beds have been closed, and the economic livelihood
and quality of life of our coastal communities is threatened.
National Estuary Program
The National Estuary Program (NEP) was created by the Water
Quality Amendments of 1987. Participation in the program is
voluntary and emphasizes watershed planning and community
involvement. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
periodically calls for nominations to the program from State
governors. If an estuary meets the agency's criteria, EPA may
then designate it to be included in the program. Once
designation has been made, a management conference is formed
from government agencies at the Federal, State, and local
level; community residents; user groups; scientific and
technical institutions; business and industry; and
environmental groups. The management conference defines the
program goals and objectives, identifies estuary problems, and
designs action plans to control pollution and restore estuary
habitat. The action plans are integrated into a comprehensive
conservation and management plan (CCMP). The NEP includes 28
estuaries in 18 States and Puerto Rico. As of 1999, 18
estuaries have completed comprehensive conservation management
plans, the other 10 estuaries are expected to complete their
plans over the next 2 years.
The NEP provides a framework for conducting a variety of
different activities aimed at improving the health of
estuaries. In testimony submitted to the Committee on
Environment and Public Works, the Association of National
Estuary Programs described some of the projects under the NEP.
In New Jersey, more than 32,000 acres of critical habitat area
have been preserved in Barnegat Bay by the Barnegat Bay
National Estuary Program. Maine's Casco Bay Estuary Program
collaborated with local lobstermen to study lobster habitat in
Portland Harbor. When the Harbor was dredged, the Estuary
Program and the lobstermen relocated thousands of lobsters to
other areas. The San Francisco Estuary Project has partnered
with local land commissions to provide 25 educational workshops
for 1400 developers, contractors and local officials. These
workshops have helped improve compliance with erosion and
sediment control requirements in the San Francisco Bay area,
increasing compliance rates from 30-40 percent in the early
1990s to 90 percent in 1998.
Need for Legislation
Despite the critical need for estuary habitat restoration,
there are few programs that specifically address estuaries. The
primary program for protecting and restoring estuaries is the
NEP. In testimony submitted to the Committee on July 22,
Richard Ribb, Director of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program,
indicated that the NEP does not have sufficient resources to
adequately address habitat restoration in addition to
addressing the broad range of other problems included under its
mandate. Furthermore, the NEP can only accommodate a limited
number of the estimated 130 estuaries in the United States.
Estuaries that are not included in the NEP program must compete
for funding with a variety of different waterbodies.
S. 835 is identical to provisions relating to estuary
habitat restoration included in S. 1222, a bill introduced by
Senator Chafee in the 105 th Congress. S. 1222 passed the
Senate by unanimous consent, but was not acted on by the House.
Objective of Legislation
The objective of the legislation is to establish a
voluntary program to restore 1 million acres of estuary habitat
by 2010. The bill also expands EPA's authority to provide
grants for the implementation of comprehensive conservation
management plans developed under the National Estuary Program.
Section 1. Short Title
This section provides that the bill may be cited as the
"Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1999.
Section 2. Findings
This section sets forth findings with respect to the
economic and ecological value of estuaries.
Section 3. Purposes
The bill establishes a program to restore 1 million acres
of estuary habitat by the year 2010. The bill requires the
coordination of existing Federal, State and local plans,
programs, and studies. It authorizes partnerships among public
agencies at all levels of government and between the public and
private sectors. The bill also authorizes estuary habitat
restoration activities, and requires project participants to
possess adequate monitoring and research capabilities to ensure
that restoration efforts are based on reliable science.
Section 4. Definitions
This section defines terms used throughout the Act
``Estuary'' is defined as a body of water and its
associated physical, biological, and chemical elements, in
which fresh water from a river or stream meets and mixes with
salt water from the ocean. An exception to this definition is
made for estuary-like areas in the Great Lakes biogeographic
regions that are part of the National Estuarine Research
Reserve system at the time of enactment of this legislation.
``Estuary Habitat'' is defined as the complex of physical
and hydrologic features within estuaries and their associated
ecosystems, including salt and fresh water coastal marshes,
coastal forested wetlands and other coastal wetlands, tidal
flats, natural shoreline areas, sea grass meadows, kelp beds,
river deltas, and river and stream banks under tidal influence.
``Estuary Habitat Restoration Activities'' is defined as an
activity that results in improving an estuary's habitat,
including both physical and functional restoration, with a goal
toward a self-sustaining ecologically-based system that is
integrated with the surrounding landscape. Eligible activities
include: the control of non-native and invasive species, such
as phragmites; the reestablishment of physical features and
biological and hydrologic functions; the cleanup of
contamination; and the reintroduction of native species, such
as the planting of eel grass.
Section 5. Establishment of the Collaborative Council
This section establishes an interagency Collaborative
Council chaired by the Secretary of the Army, with the
participation of the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere,
Department of Commerce; the Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency; and the Secretary of the Interior, through
the Fish and Wildlife Service. The two principal functions of
the Council are: (1) to develop a national strategy to restore
estuary habitat; and (2) to select habitat restoration projects
that will receive the funds provided in the bill. The Army
Corps of Engineers is to chair the Council and to work
cooperatively with the other members of the Council.
Section 6. Duties of the Collaborative Council
This section establishes a process to coordinate existing
Federal, State and local resources and activities directed
toward estuary habitat restoration. It also sets forth the
process by which projects are to be selected by the Council for
funding under this title.
Habitat Restoration Strategy.--Subsection (a) requires the
Council to draft a strategy that will serve as a national
framework for restoring estuaries. The strategy should
coordinate Federal, State, and local estuary plans programs and
studies. In developing the strategy, the Council should consult
with State, local and tribal governments and other non-Federal
entities, including representatives from coastal States
representing the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico;
local governments from coastal communities; and nonprofit
organizations that are actively participating in carrying out
estuary habitat restoration projects.
Selection of Projects.--This section also requires the
Council to establish application criteria for restoration
projects. The Council is required to consider a number of
factors in developing criteria. In addition to the factors
mentioned in the legislation, the Council is to consider both
the quantity and quality of habitat restored in relation to the
overall cost of a project. The consideration of these factors
will provide the information required to evaluate performance,
at both the project and program levels, and facilitate the
production of biennial reports in the strategy. Subsection
(b)(1) requires the project applicant to obtain the approval of
State or local agencies, where such approval is appropriate. In
States such as Oregon, where coastal beaches and estuaries are
publicly-owned and managed, proposals for estuary habitat
restoration projects require the approval of the State before
being submitted to the Council.
Priority Projects.--Among the projects that meet the
criteria listed above, the Council shall give priority for
funding to those projects that meet any of the factors cited in
subsection (b)(3) of this section.
One of the priority factors is that the project be part of
an approved estuary management or restoration plan. It is
envisioned that funding provided through this legislation would
assist all local communities in meeting the goals and
objectives of estuary restoration, with priority given to those
areas that have approved estuary management plans. For example,
the Sarasota Bay area in Florida is presently implementing a
comprehensive conservation management plan (CCMP), which
focuses on restoring lost habitat. This is being accomplished
by: reducing nitrogen pollution to increase sea grass coverage;
constructing salt water wetlands; and building artificial reefs
for juvenile fish habitat. Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island
also is in the process of implementing a CCMP. Current efforts
to improve the Bay's water quality and restore its habitat
address the uniqueness of the Narraganset Bay watershed.
Section 7. Cost Sharing of Estuary Habitat Restoration Projects
This section strengthens local and private sector
participation in estuary restoration efforts by building
public-private restoration partnerships. This section
establishes a Federal cost-share requirement of no more than 65
percent of the cost of a project. The non-Federal share is
required to be at least 35 percent of the cost of a project.
Lands, easements, services, or other in-kind contributions may
be used to meet non-Federal match requirement.
Section 8. Monitoring and Maintenance
This section assures that available information will be
used to improve the methods for assuring successful long-term
habitat restoration. The Under Secretary for Oceans and
Atmosphere (NOAA) shall maintain a database of restoration
projects carried out under this Act, including information on
project techniques, project completion, monitoring data, and
other relevant information.
The Council shall publish a biennial report to Congress
that includes program activities, including the number of acres
restored; the percent of restored habitat monitored under a
plan; the types of restoration methods employed; the activities
of governmental and non-governmental entities with respect to
habitat restoration; and the effectiveness of the restoration
Section 9. Memoranda of Understanding
This section authorizes the Council to enter into
cooperative agreements and execute any memoranda of
understanding with Federal and State agencies, private
institutions, and tribal entities, necessary to carry out the
requirements of the bill.
Section 10. Distribution of Appropriations for Estuary Habitat
This section authorizes the Secretary to disburse funds to
the other agencies responsible for carrying out the
requirements of the Act. The Council members are to work
together to develop an appropriate mechanism for the
disbursement of funds between Council members. For instance,
section 8 of the bill requires the Under Secretary to maintain
a data base of restoration projects carried out under this
legislation. NOAA shall utilize funds disbursed from the
Secretary to maintain the data base.
Section 11. Authorization of Appropriations
A total of $315,000,000 for fiscal years 2000 through 2004
is authorized to carry out estuary habitat restoration projects
under this section. The $315,000,000 would be distributed as
follows: $40,000,000 for fiscal year 2000; $50,000,000 for
fiscal year 2001, and $75,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2002
Section 12. National Estuary Program
This section amends section 320(g)(2) of the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act to provide explicit authority for the
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue
grants for assisting activities necessary for the development
of comprehensive conservation and management plans (CCMPs) and
for the implementation of CCMPs. Implementation for purposes of
this section includes managing and overseeing the
implementation of CCMPs consistent with section 320(b)(6) of
the Act, which provides that management conferences, among
other things, are to ``monitor the effectiveness of actions
taken pursuant to the CCMP.'' Examples of implementation
activities include: enhanced monitoring activities; habitat
mapping; habitat acquisition; best management practices to
reduce urban and rural polluted runoff; and the organization of
workshops for local elected officials and professional water
quality managers about habitat and water quality issues.
The National Estuary Program is an important partnership
among Federal, State, and local governments to protect
estuaries of national significance threatened by pollution. A
major goal of the program has been to prepare CCMPs for the 28
nationally designated estuaries. To facilitate preparation of
the plans, the Federal Government has provided grant funds,
while State and local governments have developed the plans. The
partnership has been a success in that 18 of 28 nationally
designated estuaries have completed plans.
In order to continue and strengthen this partnership, grant
funds should be eligible for use in the implementation of the
completed plans as well as for their development. The bill
authorizes $25,000,000 annually for fiscal years 2000 and 2001
to develop and implement CCMPs. This increase reflects the
growth in the National Estuary Program since the program was
last authorized in 1987. In 1991 when the authorization
expired, 17 local estuary programs existed; now there are 28
programs. The cost of implementing the 28 estuary programs will
require significant resources. However, State and local
governments should take primary responsibility for implementing
Section 13. General Provisions
This section provides the Secretary of the Army with the
authority to carry out responsibilities under this Act, and
clarifies that habitat restoration is one of the Corps'
On April 20, 1999, Senator Chafee introduced S. 835, the
Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1999. On
Wednesday, September 29, 1999, the Committee on Environment and
Public Works held a business meeting to consider S. 835.
Senator Voinovich offered an amendment to include the Old
Woman's Creek Natural Estuarine Research Reserve in the
definition of an estuary. The amendment was adopted by voice
vote. S. 835, as amended, was favorably reported by voice vote.
No roll call votes were taken on the measure.
On July 22, 1999, the Environment and Public Works
Committee held a hearing on coastal legislation in Washington,
D.C. The hearing focused on six bills: S. 835, the Estuary
Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1999; S. 878, a bill to
amend the National Estuary Program; S. 492, the Chesapeake Bay
Restoration Act of 1999; S. 1119, a bill to reauthorize the
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act; S.
522, the Beaches Environmental Assessment, Closure, and Health
Act of 1999; and HR 999, the Beaches Environmental Awareness,
Cleanup, and Health Act of 1999. Testimony was provided by the
Honorable Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey; the Honorable John
B. Breaux, Louisiana; the Honorable Paul Sarbanes, Maryland;
the Honorable J. Charles Fox, Assistant Administrator for
Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Honorable
Michael L. Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Works,
Department of the Army; Mr. Martin L. Pagliughi, Mayor, Avalon,
New Jersey; Mr. Ted Danson, President, the American Oceans
Campaign; Ms. Linda Shead, Executive Director, the Galveston
Bay Foundation; Mr. Richard Ribb, Director, Narragansett Bay
Estuary Program, Rhode Island Department of Environmental
Management; Mr. Michael Hirshfield, Senior Vice President,
Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and Dr. Len Bahr, Coastal Advisor to
the Governor, State of Louisiana.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact of the reported bill. The
reported bill will have no regulatory impact. This bill will
not have any effect on the personal privacy of individuals.
In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
(Public Law 104-4), the committee makes the following
evaluation of the Federal mandates contained in the reported
bill. S. 835 imposes no Federal intergovernmental unfunded
mandates on State, local or tribal governments. All of its
governmental directives are imposed on Federal agencies. The
bill does not impose any Federal mandates on the private
The Congressional Budget Office has prepared the enclosed
cost estimate for S. 835, the Estuary Habitat Restoration
Partnership Act of 1999.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Susanne S.
Mehlman (for Federal costs), who can be reached at 226-2860,
and Shelley Finlayson (for the State and local impact), who can
be reached at 225-3220.
S. 835, Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership, as ordered
reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works on September 29, 1999
S. 835 would establish the Estuary Habitat Restoration
Collaborative Council, consisting of representatives from
multiple Federal agencies, that would develop a strategy for
restoring estuary habitats and provide financial assistance to
non-Federal entities for restoration projects. The bill also
would authorize the appropriation of $385 million over the
2000-2004 period. The bill would not affect direct spending or
receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
S. 835 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
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.
Estimated Cost to the Federal Government
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would result in
additional outlays of $329 million over the 2000-2004 period,
assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts each year. The
estimated budgetary impact of S. 835 is shown in the following
table. The costs of this legislation fall within budget
function 300 (natural resources and environment).
By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Spending Under Current Law:
Budget Authority a.......................................... 14 0 0 0 0 0
Estimated Outlays........................................... 13 7 3 1 0 0
Authorization Level......................................... 0 69 79 79 79 79
Estimated Outlays........................................... 0 36 61 74 79 79
Spending Under S. 835:
Authorization Level......................................... 14 69 79 79 79 79
Estimated Outlays........................................... 13 43 64 75 79 79
a The Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program has not yet received a full-year appropriation
for 2000. It received an appropriation of $14 million for 1999.
Basis of Estimate
The bill would authorize the appropriation of $4 million
annually over the 2000-2004 period to the Army Corps of
Engineers (Corps) for administering the Collaborative Council
and an additional $40 million in 2000, $50 million in 2001, and
$75 million annually over the 2002-2004 period for grants to
perform restoration projects. No amounts were appropriated for
these purposes in 1999, and no amounts have been provided to
the Corps for this effort in its 2000 appropriation. The bill
also would authorize $25 million in each of fiscal years 2000
and 2001 to the Environmental Protection Agency for the
National Estuary Program.
Pay-as-you-go Considerations: None.
Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact: This bill would
impose no intergovernmental or private-sector 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.
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Susanne S. Mehlman (226-
2860) Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Shelley
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown
Federal Water Pollution Control Act
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.)
[As Amended Through P.L. 105-394, November 13, 1998]
AN ACT To provide for water pollution control activities in the Public
Health Service of the Federal Security Agency and in the Federal Works
Agency, and for other purposes.
* * * * * * *
SEC. 320. NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM.
(a) * * *
* * * * * * *
(1) Recipients.--The Administrator is authorized to
make grants to State, interstate, and regional water
pollution control agencies and entities, State coastal
zone management agencies, interstate agencies, other
public or nonprofit private agencies, institutions,
organizations, and individuals.
(2) Purposes.--Grants under this subsection shall
be made to pay for assisting research, surveys,
studies, and modeling and other technical work
necessary for the development and implementation of a
conservation and management plan under this section.
(3) Federal share.--The amount of grants to any
person (including a State, interstate, or regional
agency or entity) under this subsection for a fiscal
year shall not exceed 75 percent of the costs of such
research, survey, studies, and work and shall be made
on condition that the non-Federal share of such costs
are provided from non-Federal sources.
* * * * * * *
(i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are
authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator not to
exceed $12,000,000 per fiscal year for each of fiscal years
[1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991] 1987 through 1991, such sums
as may be necessary for fiscal years 1992 through 1999, and
$25,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2000 and 2001 for--
(1) expenses related to the administration of
management conferences under this section, not to
exceed 10 percent of the amount appropriated under this
(2) making grants under subsection (g); and
(3) monitoring the implementation of a conservation
and management plan by the management conference or by
the Administrator, in any case in which the conference
has been terminated.
The Administrator shall provide up to $5,000,000 per fiscal
year of the sums authorized to be appropriated under this
subsection to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration to carry out subsection (j).
* * * * * * *