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                                                       Calendar No. 134
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     109-86

======================================================================
 
                   PARTNERS FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE ACT

                                _______
                                

                 June 22, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Inhofe, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 260]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 260) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to provide technical and financial assistance to 
private landowners to restore, enhance, and manage private land 
to improve fish and wildlife habitats through the Partners for 
Fish and Wildlife Program, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the 
bill, as amended, do pass.

                    GENERAL STATEMENT AND BACKGROUND

    Since 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(``Service'') has administered the Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Program to provide technical and financial assistance 
to private landowners to voluntarily restore wetlands and other 
fish and wildlife habitat on their land, making responsible 
stewardship possible and affordable for private landowners. 
Specifically, the Service provides landowners with biological 
information about their property, restoration designs, cost-
sharing on materials and services, and construction 
supervision. To date, the program has operated without specific 
congressional authorization as a separate line-item under the 
Service's budget.
    On August 26, 2004, President Bush signed Executive Order 
13352 (69 Fed.Reg. 52989 (2004)) promoting a new approach to 
conservation within the Federal Government's conservation and 
environmental departments. This Executive Order was offered to 
ensure that Federal agencies pursue cooperative conservation 
actions designed to involve private landowners.
    An exemplary model of this cooperative conservation 
initiative is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The 
Service reports that the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 
is ``[its] primary mechanism for delivering voluntary on-the-
ground habitat improvement projects on private lands for the 
benefit of Federal trust species.'' (U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Division of Fish and Wildlife Management and Habitat 
Restoration, Land Use Management Series, Part 640: Management 
of Non-Owned Lands, September 24, 2003). Through over 35,039 
agreements with private landowners, the Partners Program has 
accomplished the restoration of over 722,500 acres of wetlands, 
1,573,700 acres of prairie and native grasslands, and nearly 
5,900 miles of riparian and in-stream habitat to date. Partners 
Program agreements are funded through contributions from the 
Service along with cash and in-kind contributions from 
participating private landowners.
    The Partners Program leverages resources to maximize the 
benefits and minimize the costs for all of its projects. On 
average, the Service succeeds in leveraging resources 
approximately 3-to-1 (non-Service to Service resources).

                     OBJECTIVES OF THE LEGISLATION

    S. 260 provides specific congressional authorization for 
the first time for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 
administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill 
would authorize $75 million in fiscal years 2006 through 2011 
for the Partners program. Currently, the Partners Program is 
funded only through a line item in annual appropriations 
measures pursuant to general grant making authority under the 
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661), the Fish 
and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a et. seq.), and the 
Partnerships for Wildlife Act (16 U.S.C. 3744). The bill is 
designed to highlight the private partnership and habitat 
conservation successes of the Partners Program. It also aims to 
provide the program with the added recognition and stability of 
congressional authorization. The bill encourages development of 
the Partners Program and is in no way intended to limit the 
technical and financial assistance that has historically been 
provided under the Partners Program.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that this Act may be cited as the 
``Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act.''

Sec. 2. Findings and purpose

    This section enumerates congressional findings relevant to 
the Act and states the purpose of the Act.

Sec. 3. Definitions

    This section provides definitions applicable in the Act.

Sec. 4. Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

    This section directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to 
provide technical and financial assistance for habitat 
establishment, improvement, restoration, and enhancement to 
participating private landowners by voluntary agreements 
through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. This 
section also authorizes technical assistance through the 
Partners Program to other public and private entities.

Sec. 5. Authorization of appropriations

    This section authorizes $75 million for each of fiscal 
years 2006 through 2011 for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife 
Program.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On February 2, 2005, Senator James M. Inhofe introduced S. 
260, which was cosponsored by Senator James Jeffords, Senator 
Thad Cochran, and Senator Lincoln Chafee. The bill was referred 
to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. On 
April 22, 2005, the full committee held a field hearing on the 
bill. A full committee business meeting was held on June 8, 
2005, and the committee unanimously ordered S. 260 to be 
reported to the full Senate as amended by a managers' amendment 
sponsored by Senator Inhofe and Senator Jeffords. A companion 
piece of legislation, H.R. 2018, was introduced in the House of 
Representatives on April 28, 2005.

                                HEARINGS

    On April 22, 2005, the full committee held a field hearing 
on S. 260 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The committee received testimony 
from Mr. H. Dale Hall, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Region 2), Mr. Jeff Neal, Mr. Verline 
Chervanka, Dr. Terry Birdwell, Mr. Hal McKnight, and Ms. Debbie 
Straughn.

                             ROLLCALL VOTES

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 260 on June 8, 2005. The committee unanimously 
agreed to a managers' amendment sponsored by Senator Inhofe and 
Senator Jeffords, and the committee unanimously approved S. 260 
as amended, by voice vote.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes evaluation of 
the regulatory impact of the reported bill.
    The bill does not create any additional regulatory burdens, 
nor will it cause 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 S. 260 would not 
impose Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                          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:
                              ----------                              


S. 260, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act, As ordered reported by the 
        Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on June 8, 
        2005.

Summary

    S. 260 would authorize appropriations for the Partners for 
Fish and Wildlife program. Assuming appropriation of the 
authorized amounts, CBO estimates that implementing S. 260 
would cost $45 million in 2006 and about $350 million over the 
2006-2010 period. Enacting the bill would not affect direct 
spending or revenues. S. 260 contains no intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs on State, local, or 
tribal governments.

Estimated Cost to the Federal Government

    The estimated budgetary impact of S. 260 is shown in the 
following table. The costs of this legislation fall within 
budget function 300 (natural resources and environment).
    S. 260 would authorize the appropriation of up to $75 
million a year over the 2006-2011 period for the Partners for 
Fish and Wildlife program. Through that program, the Department 
of the Interior provides financial and technical assistance to 
private landowners for conservation projects on their land. 
Based on historical spending patterns for the program, CBO 
estimates that fully funding it under S. 260 would cost $45 
million in 2006 and $350 million over the 2006-2010 period, 
with additional spending (of about $100 million) occurring in 
later years.


                                     By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   2005    2006    2007    2008    2009    2010
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Spending Under Current Law for the Partners for Fish and
 Wildlife Program...............................................
    Budget Authority\1\.........................................      48       0       0       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................      44       9       3       1       0       0
Proposed Changes................................................
    Authorization Level.........................................       0      75      75      75      75      75
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       0      45      77      76      76      76
Spending Under S. 260 for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife
 Program........................................................
    Authorization Level\1\......................................      48      75      75      75      75      75
    Estimated Outlays...........................................      44      54      80      77      76      76
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\The 2005 level is the amount appropriated for that year for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program.

Intergovernmental and Private-sector Impact

    S. 260 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate Prepared By: Federal Costs: Megan Carroll; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller; 
Impact on the Private Sector: Craig Cammarata.
    Estimate 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 
requires the committee to publish changes in existing law made 
by the bill as reported. Passage of this bill will make no 
changes to existing law.