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Calendar No. 909
106th Congress Report
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
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
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-
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
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.
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:
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.
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.