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Calendar No. 52
106th Congress Report
1st Session 106-25
SUDBURY, ASSABET, AND CONCORD WILD AND SCENIC RIVER ACT
March 17, 1999.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 193]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 193) to designate a portion of the
Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers as a component of the
Natural Wild and Scenic Rivers System, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and
recommends that the Act do pass.
Purpose of the Measure
The purpose of H.R. 193, as ordered reported, is to
designate 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers
in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as components of the Wild
and Scenic Rivers System.
Background and Need
Local and State interest in a national wild and scenic
river study for the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers date
back to the mid 1980's when a proposal was discussed to
reactivate the Sudbury Reservoir in order to supply water to
the Boston metropolitan area. Fears developed over withdrawals
from the reservoir that could create impacts on downstream
areas; including prime wildlife habitat. At the same time,
surging real estate values in the area triggered concerns about
impacts of development along the rivers irreplaceable natural
and cultural resources.
In 1990, Public Law 101-628 designated segments of the
Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers in Massachusetts for study
as potential components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
As a result of the study, 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet, and
Concord Rivers were found eligible for inclusion in the Wild
and Scenic Rivers System. The recommendation was based on the
free-flowing character of the rivers and the presence of
outstanding ecological, historical, literary, recreational, and
scenic values. The eligible segments include 16.6 miles of the
Sudbury River, 4.4 miles of the Assabet River, and 8 miles of
the Concord River.
The eligible segments of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord
Rivers are remarkably undeveloped, providing recreational
opportunities in a natural setting less than an hour's drive
from several million people living in the Boston area. Ten of
the river miles lie within the boundaries of Great Meadows
National Wildlife Refugee, established to protect the waterfowl
habitat and associated riparian wetlands. The rivers also
feature prominently in the works of nineteenth century authors
Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides for three possible
classifications of eligible river segments: wild, scenic, and
recreational. These classifications are based on the degree of
human modification of the river and adjacent shorelands. Under
these guidelines, 14.9 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet, and
Concord Rivers as recreational. During the spring of 1995,
eight towns along the study segments held meetings and each
passed resolutions requesting Congress to designate the rivers
as components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
A ``River Stewardship Council'' would coordinate the
actions of the State, local, and Federal Governments, along
with participation by local river protection groups. Under this
partnership approach, the Federal Government would retain
responsibility for ensuring that Federal water resource
projects do not impair the rivers' free-flowing character or
outstanding resources. The towns and State would retain their
existing land use authorities, along with primary
responsibility for recreation management. This arrangement
would be formalized and funded through cooperative agreements
between the National Park Service and other members of the
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 193 on February
23, 1999. The Subcommittee on Natural Parks, Historic
Preservation and Recreation held a hearing on H.R. 193 on
February 24, 1999.
During the 105th Congress, a similar bill, S. 469 was
introduced by Senators Kerry and Kennedy on March 18, 1997. The
Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation and
Recreation held a hearing on S. 469 on June 18, 1998.
At its business meeting on September 9, 1998, the Committee
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 469, as amended,
favorably reported. On October 2, 1998, S. 469 passed the
Senate by voice vote. The House of Representatives passed S.
469, as amended on October 10, 1998. No further action was
At its business meeting on March 4, 1999, the Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 193, favorably
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on March 4, 1999, by a unanimous voice vote of
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 193, as
Section 1 designates the bill's short title as the
``Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.''
Section 2 (a) contains Congressional findings.
Subsection (b) designates 29 miles of the river segments as
follows: 14.9-mile segment of the Sudbury River a scenic river;
1.7-mile segment of the Sudbury River as a recreational river;
4.4-mile segment of the Assabet River as a recreational river;
8-mile segment of the Concord River as a recreational river.
This subsection also directs that the rivers be administered by
the Secretary of the Interior in cooperation with the SUASCO
River Stewardship Council through cooperative agreements with
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its relevant political
subdivisions. The March 16, 1995 ``Sudbury, Assabet, and
Concord Wild and Scenic River Study, River Conservation Plan''
is deemed to satisfy the requirement for a comprehensive
Subsection (c) designates the Director of the National Park
Service or the Director's designee as representative of the
Secretary of the Interior in the implementation of the plan.
Cooperative agreements may include provisions for financial or
other Federal assistance, not to exceed $100,000 each fiscal
year, to facilitate the protection, conservation and
enhancement of the river segments.
Subsection (d) directs the Secretary of the Interior to
consider the extent to which a water resource project is
consistent with the plan.
Subsection (e) deems that local zoning bylaws in effect on
the date of enactment of this Act are deemed to satisfy the
standards and requirements under section 6(c) of the Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1277(c)). This subsection also
provides that the United States shall not acquire title to
land, easements, or other interests in land along the river
Subsection (f) authorizes appropriations not to exceed
$100,000 for each fiscal year for the Secretary to carry out
Subsection (g) amends section 3(a) of the Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1274(a)) to make conforming changes.
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
congressional budget office cost estimate
H.R. 193--Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 193 would not have a
significant impact on the federal budget. Because H.R. 193
would not affect direct spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go
procedures would not apply. H.R. 193 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no significant
impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
H.R. 193 would designate 29 miles of river segments in
Massachusetts as scenic and recreational rivers. The segments
would be administered by the Secretary of the Interior in
cooperation with the SUASCO River Stewardship Council, as
provided for in a conservation plan prepared by the National
Park Service (NPS) and the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord River
Study Committee. The act would authorize the NPS to provide
financial and other assistance to the state and relevant local
governments under cooperative agreements to facilitate the
management of the newly designated river segments.
The act would authorize the appropriation of up to $100,000
each year to implement the river conservation plan, including
financial assistance to the state and local governments. For
purposes of this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 193 will be
enacted by the end of fiscal year 1999 and that the authorized
funding will be appropriated for fiscal year 2000 and each
subsequent year. We estimate that outlays to implement the plan
would total about $500,000 over the 2000-2004 period, assuming
appropriations of the authorized amounts.
On February 4, 1999, CBO prepared a cost estimate for H.R.
193 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on
February 3, 1999. The two versions of H.R. 193 are similar, and
the estimated costs are the same.
The CBO staff contact is Victoria Heid Hall. This estimate
was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant Director
for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory Impact Evaluation
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out H.R. 193. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from
enactment of H.R. 193, as ordered reported.
A representative of the National Park Service testified in
support of H.R. 193, on February 28, 1999 at a hearing before
the Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation, and
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
the Act H.R. 193, as ordered 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 in roman):
(Public Law 90-542, October 2, 1968)
Sec. 3. (a) The following rivers and the land adjacent
thereto are hereby designated as components of the national
wild and scenic rivers system:
* * * * * * *
``( ) Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers,
Massachusetts--The 29 miles of river segments in Massachusetts,
``(A) The 14.9 mile segment of the Sudbury River
beginning at the Danforth Street Bridge in the town of
Framington, downstream to the Route 2 Bridge in
Concord, as a scenic river;
``(B) The 1.7 mile segment of the Sudbury River from
the Route 2 Bridge downstream to its confluence with
the Assabet River at Egg Rock, as a recreational river;
``(C) The 4.4 mile segment of the Assabet River
beginning 1,000 feet downstream from the Damon Mill Dam
in the town of Concord, to its confluence with the
Sudbury River at Egg Rock in Concord, as a recreational
``(D) The 8.0 mile segment of the Concord River from
Egg Rock at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet
Rivers downstream to the Route 3 bridge in the town of
Billerica, as a recreational river.''
The segments shall be administered by the Secretary of the
Interior in cooperation with the SUASCO River Stewardship
Council provided for in the plan through cooperative agreements
under section 10(e) between the Secretary and the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts and its relevant political subdivisions
(including the towns of Framingham, Wayland, Sudbury, Lincoln,
Concord, Carlisle, Bedford, and Billerica). The segments shall
be managed in accordance with the plan entitled `Sudbury,
Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Study, River
Conservation Plan' dated March 16, 19995. The plan is deemed to
satisfy the requirement for a comprehensive management plan
under section 3(d)''.