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                                                       Calendar No. 266
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-165

======================================================================
 
        LITTLE BUTTE/BEAR CREEK SUBBASINS WATER FEASIBILITY ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 27, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 251]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 251) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to conduct 
a water resource feasibility study for the Little Butte/Bear 
Creek Subbasins in Oregon, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill, 
as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. On page 2, line 2, strike ``conduct'' and insert 
``participate in''.
    2. On page 2, strike lines 9 through 11 and insert the 
following:

    ``(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--
          ``(1) In general.--There is authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Bureau of Reclamation $500,000 to 
        carry out activities under this Act.
          ``(2) Non-federal share.--
                  ``(A) In general.--The non-Federal share 
                shall be 50 percent of the total costs of the 
                Bureau of Reclamation in carrying out 
                subsection (b).
                  ``(B) Form.--The non-Federal share required 
                under subparagraph (A) may be in the form of 
                any in-kind services that the Secretary of the 
                Interior determines would contribute 
                substantially toward the conduct and completion 
                of the study and environmental impact statement 
                required under subsection (b).''.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 251 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau), to 
conduct a water resource feasibility study for the Little 
Butte/Bear Creek Subbasins in Oregon.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Water for Irrigation, Streams, and the Economy (WISE) 
Project is a proposed water management project designed to 
improve the Little Butte and Bear Creek watersheds within 
Jackson County in southern Oregon. Little Butte Creek and Bear 
Creek are tributaries of the Rogue River. Little Butte Creek 
has been designated as spawning habitat for Coho salmon, listed 
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and the Bear 
Creek Valley supports over 34,000 acres of agricultural land. 
Nineteen agricultural, municipal, environmental, and water 
resource agencies and groups comprise the WISE Project Advisory 
Committee (PAC).
    The water management feasibility study and environmental 
impact statement (EIS) authorized by S. 251 is to be conducted 
in accordance with a July 2, 2004, Memorandum of Agreement 
(MOA) between the Bureau and the City of Medford, Oregon. PAC 
members are also signatories to the MOA. The MOA identifies the 
roles of the parties in the development and preparation of 
technical studies for the WISE Project. The feasibility study 
and EIS will evaluate integrated water resource management and 
supply needs in the Little Butte/Bear Creek Subbasins and will 
seek to identify ways to improve stream flows and water 
quality. The work will also explore opportunities for 
conservation, improved irrigation system efficiencies, and 
wastewater reclamation within the Talent, Rogue River, and 
Medford Irrigation Districts.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 251 was introduced by Senators Smith and Wyden on 
February 1, 2005, and referred to the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources. The Water and Power Subcommittee held a 
hearing on S. 251 on April 19, 2005 (S. Hrg. 109-96). At the 
business meeting on September 28, 2005, the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources ordered S. 251 favorably reported, with 
amendments.
    In the 108th Congress, Senators Smith and Wyden introduced 
S. 2958, identical legislation to the measure now under 
consideration, but the bill was not taken up. H.R. 3210, 
companion legislation to S. 2958, passed the House on September 
28, 2004.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on September 28, 2005, by unanimous vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 251, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

    Two amendments were adopted to add a local cost-share 
component.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1(a) sets forth the short title.
    Subsection (b) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, 
acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to participate in the 
Water for Irrigation, Streams and the Economy Project water 
management feasibility study and the environmental impact 
statement. Such work is to be conducted in accordance with the 
July 2, 2004 Memorandum of Agreement between the Bureau and the 
City of Medford.
    Subsection (c)(1) authorizes $500,000 for the Bureau's 
activities.
    Subsection (c)(2)(A) requires the non-Federal cost-share to 
be 50% of the Bureau's costs.
    Subsection (c)(2)(B) allows the 50% non-Federal cost-share 
to be in the form of in-kind services, as long as the Secretary 
of the Interior determines that such in-kind services would 
substantially contribute to the feasibility study and the 
environmental impact statement at issue.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

S. 251--Little Butte/Bear Creek Subbasins Water Feasibility Act

    S. 251 would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to 
participate in a water management feasibility study of the 
Little Butte and Bear Creek watersheds in Medford, Oregon. The 
study would identify ways to meet future water supply needs and 
to improve water quality, as well as water conservation and 
storage measures. S. 251 would authorize the appropriation of 
$500,000 for this study.
    Assuming appropriation of the specified amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 251 would cost $500,000 in 2006. 
Enacting S. 251 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 251 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.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Rachel Milberg. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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 S. 251.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 251, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at 
the Subcommittee hearing on S. 251 follows:

 Statement of William Rinne, Deputy Commissioner of Reclamation, U.S. 
                       Department of the Interior

    Madam Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am 
William Rinne, Deputy Commissioner of Reclamation. Thank you 
for the opportunity to testify on S. 251.
    This legislation would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation 
to conduct a water resource feasibility study in the Bear 
Creek/Little Butte Creek sub-basins of the Rogue River in 
southwestern Oregon, and to prepare an environmental impact 
statement provided for in the Act. The study would investigate 
opportunities to implement water conservation measures within 
the three irrigation districts (Talent, Rogue River and Medford 
IDs) served by Reclamation's Rogue River Project, and to 
increase water supplies, including use of reclaimed water from 
the City of Medford and modifications to existing storage 
facilities. Because alternatives being studied would impact the 
facilities and operations of the Rogue River Project, 
Reclamation must be involved in the effort.
    It is Reclamation's understanding that a broad range of 
stakeholders has come together to achieve consensus on project 
goals and gain community support. The primary goals are to: 1) 
solve the sewage and storm water discharge problems of the City 
of Medford; 2) increase instream flows in Little Butte Creek 
and Bear Creek for threatened coho salmon; and 3) improve 
irrigation efficiency within the three irrigation districts. 
The project would improve the long-term viability of the three 
irrigation districts. The Bureau of Reclamation has cooperated 
with this local collaborative effort to proactively address 
water resource issues that could become contentious in the 
future.
    Partial funding for this study has been obtained by the 
City of Medford via a grant administered by the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency. The grant is being used to 
fund a contractor to initiate technical studies. The local 
study partners believe they will be able to obtain additional 
funding to complete the technical studies required to meet 
Reclamation's standards for water resources planning. 
Appropriated funds would be needed to cover Reclamation staff 
costs to review and revise as necessary the contractor's 
technical work, undertake Endangered Species Act consultations 
with other Federal agencies, and publish the notices and 
documents required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
    The administration cannot support S. 251 at this time. The 
legislation does not require at least 50% non-federal cost 
share for the feasibility study, as is required by Reclamation 
policy. Federal funds obtained by Medford through other 
agencies would not qualify for the cost-share requirement.
    This concludes my statement. I will be glad to answer any 
questions.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 251, as ordered 
reported.