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                                                       Calendar No. 909
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     106-462

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



 
                 RED RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ACT

                                _______
                                

October 2 (legislative day, September 22), 2000.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, from the Committee on Environment and 
                 Public Works, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [to accompany H.R. 4318]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill to provide for the establishment of the Red 
River National Wildlife Refuge in the Red River flood plain 
between Alexandria, Louisiana and the Arkansas-Louisiana state 
boundary, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
and recommends that the bill do pass.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    On March 14, 1903, by Executive Order, President Theodore 
Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on 
Pelican Island. Pelican Island is a small island in Florida's 
Indian River; the refuge was established specifically to 
protect the brown pelican. At the turn of the century, brown 
pelicans were being hunted for their feathers for hats and 
quills, causing a significant decline in the population.
    Today, the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) 
has evolved into the most comprehensive system of lands devoted 
to wildlife protection and management in the world. Currently, 
there are 526 refuges in the United States and its territories, 
providing important habitat for 700 bird species, 220 mammal 
species, 250 species of amphibians and reptiles, and over 200 
fish species. The refuges range in size from less than one acre 
at the Mille Lac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, to 19.2 
million in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Each 
year, the Refuge System attracts more than 34 million visitors 
who participate in a variety of recreational activities 
including observing and photographing wildlife, fishing, 
hunting and taking part in system-sponsored educational 
programs.
    The operation and management of the Refuge System is 
governed by numerous laws, treaties and executive orders 
pertaining to the conservation and protection of natural and 
cultural resources. The most important orders and laws 
affecting the Refuge System are the Fish and Wildlife Act of 
1956, the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962, the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, and the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997. The management of individual refuges 
is determined by the legislation, executive order or 
legislative action that creates the refuge.
    H.R. 4318 would authorize the establishment of an 
approximately 50,000 acres National Wildlife Refuge located in 
the Red River flood plain between Alexandria, Louisiana and the 
Arkansas-Louisiana state boundary. This area is a migration 
corridor for more than 350 species of birds funneling through 
North America from as far north as the Arctic Circle to as far 
as Tierra del Fuego in South America. The birds that utilize 
this area include migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and 
neotropical migratory birds.
    Due to the lack of a national wildlife refuge or 
significant State or private sanctuaries, there is limited 
resting habitat for birds along this migration corridor. 
Additionally, the Red River Valley is the most degraded 
watershed in the region due primarily to the clearance of 
almost all forest cover. The Red River National Wildlife Refuge 
will consist of individual units to be managed from a central 
office located in the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana 
metropolitan area.
    Although the bill authorizes such sums as are necessary for 
the purchase of the refuge land, the United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service has indicated that the estimated cost is $40-
60 million.

                      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 adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that H.R. 4318 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments. All of the bills directives are 
imposed on Federal agencies. The bill does not directly impose 
any private sector mandates.

                          Legislative History

    On September 13, 2000, H.R. 4318 was referred to the Senate 
Committee on Environment and Public Works. No hearings were 
held on this bill. The Committee on Environment and Public 
Works held a business meeting to consider this bill on 
September 21; the business meeting was continued on September 
28, 2000. On September 28, 2000, H.R. 4318 was favorably 
reported by the committee on a voice vote.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 29, 2000.

Hon. Robert C. Smith, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has prepared 
the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4318, the Red River 
National Wildlife Refuge Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis, 
who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                            Dan L. Crippen.
                              ----------                              


               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

H.R. 4318 Red River National Wildlife Refuge Act, as ordered reported 
        by the Senate Committee or Environment and Public Works on 
        September 28, 2000
    H.R. 4318 would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(USFWS) to establish the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in 
Louisiana, effective on the date that the agency determines 
that it has acquired enough land within the boundaries of the 
proposed refuge to be managed efficiently. The Act would 
authorize the agency to acquire land, water, and related 
interests within the proposed 50,000-acre refuge. In addition 
to managing this acreage, the agency would restore native 
species and ecosystems and provide opportunities for 
environmental education and for recreational uses such as 
hunting and fishing. The legislation would require the agency 
to construct and operate a wildlife interpretation and 
education center at the new refuge. For the purposes of 
acquiring, developing, and operating the refuge, the Act would 
authorize the appropriation of whatever sums are necessary.
    The cost of implementing H.R. 4318 would depend on the 
outcome of formal property appraisals and on the degree of 
restoration and development undertaken at the proposed refuge. 
Based on information provided by the USFWS, CBO estimates that 
it would cost between $70 million and $100 million over the 
next 10 years to implement this legislation, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts. We estimate that about 
60 percent of the funds would be needed to acquire about 50,000 
acres. The agency would use between $20 million and $30 million 
to restore habitat and species within the new lands and to 
construct a wildlife interpretation and education center. 
During the acquisition and development period, managing the new 
acreage end related construction projects would cost $5 million 
over the 10 years. After this period, when all land has been 
acquired and developed, we estimate that the agency would spend 
between $3 million and $5 million annually to operate it and to 
make payments to local governments under the Refuge Revenue 
Sharing Act, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    H.R. 4318 would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. The 
legislation 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.
    On August 9, 2000, CBO prepared a cost estimate for H. R. 
4318, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources 
on July 26, 2000. The two versions of the legislation are very 
similar, and our cost estimates are identical.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis, 
who can be reached at 226-2860. The estimate was approved by 
Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate, provides that reports to the Senate should show changes 
in existing law made by the bill as reported. Passage of this 
bill will make no changes to existing law.