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Calendar No. 433
107th Congress Report
2d Session 107-169
UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN PROTECTION
ACT OF 2001
June 21, 2002.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Jeffords, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[to accompany H.R. 3480]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was
referred a bill (H.R. 3480) to promote Department of the
Interior efforts to provide a scientific basis for the
management of sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper
Mississippi River Basin, having considered the same reports
favorably thereon and recommends that the bill do pass.
General Statement and Background
Nutrient runoff and soil erosion in the Upper Mississippi
River Basin (UMRB) account for the loss of more than $300
million in applied nitrogen and the degradation of valuable
agricultural lands. Excess nutrients degrade water quality,
increasing costs for treating drinking water and threatening
fish and wildlife resources that support the Basin's
economically significant recreation and tourism industries. The
UMRB contributes 22 percent of the water flowing into the Lower
Mississippi River, yet it contributes 31 percent of the
nitrogen. These excess nutrients have been linked to degraded
water quality and oxygen depletion in the Gulf of Mexico,
resulting in what is known as Gulf hypoxia Sediment accumulates
in the main shipping channel of the Mississippi River,
resulting in over $100 million each year of dredging costs.
Sediment also fills wetlands and backwaters throughout the
entire Mississippi River Basin, resulting in habitat decline
The need for enhanced sediment and nutrient monitoring in
the UMRB is widely recognized. State and Federal agencies
participating in the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed
Nutrient Task Force have called for ``increasing the scale and
frequency of monitoring of both the extent of the hypoxic zone
and the sources of nutrients and conditions of waters
throughout the basin.'' At present, there is inadequate
scientific data on the amounts and sources of sediments and
nutrients flowing into the UMRB. Local, State, and Federal
water quality monitoring and modeling efforts are not
sufficiently coordinated or standardized.
Objectives of the Legislation
Relying on existing Federal, State and local programs, H.R.
3480 establishes a sediment and nutrient monitoring network and
an integrated computer modeling program. These monitoring and
modeling efforts will provide the baseline data needed to make
scientifically sound and cost-effective decisions aimed at
improving water quality, restoring habitat, and improving
voluntary best management practices by landowners.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be responsible for
establishing the sediment and nutrient monitoring network,
utilizing existing and newly established gauges and monitoring
stations. USGS will develop guidelines and an electronic system
for data collection and storage. Using this data, USGS will
also create computer models to assess sediment and nutrient
sources, mobilization, and transport. Supplementary information
on land use, soil use, elevation, and nutrient reduction
efforts will also be collected in a GIS format to accompany the
modeling work. The findings of the monitoring network and the
modeling system will be used to assist with the implementation
of public and private sediment and nutrient reduction efforts.
This bill also directs the National Research Council of the
National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive water
resources assessment of the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
$6.25 million is authorized to carry out this program and
$650,000 is authorized for the National Research Council
Section 1. Short Title: Table of Contents
This section cites the Act as the ``Upper Mississippi River
Basin Protection Act of 2001'' and provides a table of contents
for the bill.
Section 2. Definitions
This section defines several terms used throughout the
Section 3. Reliance on Sound Science
This section states the policy of Congress that Federal
investments in the Upper Mississippi River Basin must be guided
by sound science. Sound Science is defined in section 2,
TITLE I--SEDIMENT AND NUTRIENT MONITORING NETWORK
Section 101. Establishment of Monitoring Network
This section directs the Secretary of Interior to establish
a sediment and nutrient monitoring network for the Upper
Mississippi River Basin for the purposes of identifying and
evaluating significant sources of sediment and nutrients in the
Upper Mississippi River Basin; quantifying the processes
affecting mobilization, transport, and fate of those sediments
and nutrients on land and in water; quantifying the transport
of those sediments and nutrients to and through the Upper
Mississippi River Basin; recording changes to sediment and
nutrient loss over time; providing coordinated data to be used
in computer modeling of the Basin, pursuant to section 201; and
identifying major sources of sediment and nutrients within the
Basin for the purpose of targeting resources to reduce sediment
and nutrient loss.
This section further directs the Secretary to carry out
Title 1 acting through the office of the Director of the United
States Geological Survey, and establishes that the sediment and
nutrient monitoring network shall be headquartered at the Upper
Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) near La Crosse,
Wisconsin. The UMESC includes state-of-the-art facilities, and
has extensive experience in water quality analysis and data
management in the region. The UMESC administers the Long Term
Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP). As the nation's largest
program for river ecosystem monitoring, LTRMP includes research
and monitoring activities currently being conducted on water
levels and quality, sedimentation, biological indicators, and
land cover/use. It also represents an information-management
partnership between six States, the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, USGS, and USFWS. H.R. 3480 would build on the
existing program capacities, expanding the monitoring system
beyond the main stems of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to
the broader UMR basin.
Section 102. Data Collection and Storage Responsibilities
This section provides that guidelines shall be established
by the Secretary of Interior for the effective design of data
collection activities regarding sediment and nutrient
monitoring, for the use of suitable and consistent methods for
data collection, and for consistent reporting, data storage,
and archiving practices. The data that is collected shall be
released to the public using generic station identifiers and
hydrologic unit codes. In the case of a monitoring station
located on private lands, information regarding the location of
the station shall not be disseminated without the landowner's
The privacy protections included in this section are meant
to enhance data collection efforts by protecting the anonymity
of willing, private land-owners that participate in the data
collection activities anticipated in this act. These
protections are in place to ensure that monitoring data
collected for the purposes of this act is not to be used by
Federal agencies in the administration of their regulatory
Section 103. Relationship to Existing Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring
Inventory of the sediment and nutrient monitoring efforts
of Federal, State, local, and non-governmental entities, shall
be conducted by the Secretary of Interior in order to create a
baseline understanding of overlap, data gaps, and redundancies.
Based on the inventory the Secretary shall integrate existing
sediment and nutrient monitoring efforts, to the maximum extent
practicable, into the sediment and nutrient monitoring network
required by section 101.
The Secretary is also directed to coordinate with the Lower
Estuary Assessment Group (LEAG) of Louisiana in carrying out
this section. For many purposes, the entire Mississippi River
Basin can be addressed as one ecosystem. However, H.R. 3480
focuses only on the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
Section 104. Collaboration with Other Public and Private Monitoring
Collaboration and coordination shall be done by the
Secretary in conjunction with Federal, State, tribal, local,
and private sediment and nutrient monitoring programs.
Section 105. Cost Share Requirements
The non-Federal sponsors of the monitoring network shall be
responsible for at least twenty-five percent of the costs of
maintaining the network. Up to 80 percent of these non-Federal
costs can be provided by in-kind contributions. A monitoring
effort that is being performed by a State or local entity,
which is in existence upon enactment of the Act, is eligible to
meet cost share requirements.
Section 106. Reporting Requirements
The Secretary must report to Congress on the development of
the monitoring network within 180 days of the enactment of the
Section 107. National Research Council Assessment
The National Research Council of the National Academy of
Sciences shall conduct a comprehensive water resources
assessment of the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
TITLE II--COMPUTER MODELING AND RESEARCH
Section 201. Computer Modeling and Research of Sediment and Nutrient
This section directs the Director of the United States
Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a modeling program to
identify significant sources of sediment and nutrients to the
Upper Mississippi River Basin. The sources shall be identified
using computer modeling, which shall also be available for
public and private sediment and nutrient reduction efforts.
The sediment and nutrient models for the UMRB shall include
three different models. The first and second respectively, are
to relate nutrient and sediment loss to landscape, land use,
and land management practices. The third is to define river
channel nutrient transformation processes.
All ancillary information that is gathered shall be
collected in a GIS format to support modeling and management
use of modeling results for land use data, soils data,
elevation data, information on sediment and nutrient reduction
improvement actions, and remotely sense data.
The information, which is developed by computer modeling
shall be headquartered at the Upper Midwest Environmental
Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Section 202. Use of Electronic Means To Distribute Information
Within 90 days of the enactment of the Act, the Director of
the USGS shall provide information on the Internet regarding
public and private programs designed to reduce sediment and
nutrient loss in the UMRB, sediment and nutrient levels in the
UMRB and its tributaries, and successful sediment and nutrient
Section 203. Reporting Requirements
One year after the enactment of the Act, the Director of
the USGS shall provide to Congress and make available to
public, a progress report regarding monitoring activities of
the UMRB. The Director shall then every 3 years provide
additional progress reports to Congress and the public,
regarding modeling activities.
TITLE III--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
Section 301. Authorization of Appropriations
The Secretary is authorized $6,250,000 each fiscal year to
carry out this Act. The National Research Council shall be
appropriated $650,000 to perform the assessment required by
H.R. 3480 was introduced on December 13, 2001, by
Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), and was referred to the House
Committee on Resources. On December 19, 2001, it was referred
within the committee to the Subcommittee on Water and Power. A
subcommittee hearing was conducted on March 7, 2002. On March
20, 2002, the Committee on Resources met to consider the bill.
By unanimous consent, the subcommittee was discharged from
further consideration of the bill and ordered the bill
favorably reported tot he House of Representatives by unanimous
consent. The bill passed under suspension of the rules on April
9, 2002 and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and
On April 25, 2002, the Committee on Environment and Public
Works met to consider H.R. 3480. The committee unanimously
approved the bill by a voice vote.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee finds the bill does
not create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it cause
any adverse impact on the personal privacy of individuals.
In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that H.R. 3480 would
not impose some Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on
State, local, or tribal governments.
H.R. 3480 contains intergovernmental mandates as defined in
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), but CBO estimates that
the costs to comply with those mandates would fall below the
threshold established by that act ($50 million in 1996,
adjusted annually for inflation). The bill contains no new
private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
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, April 30, 2002.
Hon. James M. Jeffords, 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. 3480, the Upper Mississippi
River Basin Protection Act of 2001.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Julie
Middleton, who can be reached at 226-2860.
Dan L. Crippen.
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
H.R. 3480, Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act of 2001, as
ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and
Public Works on April 25, 2002
H.R. 3480 would establish a sediment and nutrient
monitoring network as part of the Upper Mississippi River
Stewardship Initiative. This new monitoring network would
identify and evaluate significant sources of sediment and
nutrients in the Upper Mississippi River watershed. H.R. 3480
would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S.
Geological Survey, to establish guidelines for data collection,
storage, and analysis--as well as the integration of the new
data into current monitoring programs and coordination with
other public and private monitoring programs. In addition, the
act would authorize the National Research Council of the
National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive water
resources assessment of the Upper Mississippi River watershed.
The Act would authorize the appropriation of $6.25 million
a year to implement its provisions, plus additional amounts for
the required report. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3480
would cost $31 million over the 2003-2007 period, assuming
appropriation of the authorized amounts. CBO assumes that most
of these funds would be allocated for salaries and expenses
related to developing, implementing, and maintaining the new
monitoring network. H.R. 3480 would not affect direct spending
or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not
H.R. 3480 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
Any costs incurred by State or local governments to participate
in the program authorized by this bill would be voluntary. On
April 4, 2002, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 3480 as
ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources. The two
cost estimates are identical.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Julie Middleton.
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy
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 not make changes to existing law.