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110th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 110-397
REFUGE ECOLOGY PROTECTION, ASSISTANCE, AND IMMEDIATE RESPONSE ACT
October 22, 2007.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 767]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 767) to protect, conserve, and restore native fish,
wildlife, and their natural habitats at national wildlife
refuges through cooperative, incentive-based grants to control,
mitigate, and eradicate harmful nonnative species, and for
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as
amended do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance,
and Immediate Response Act''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
(a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
(1) The National Wildlife Refuge System is the premier land
conservation system in the world.
(2) Harmful nonnative species are the leading cause of
habitat destruction in national wildlife refuges.
(3) More than 675 known harmful nonnative species are found
in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
(4) Nearly 8 million acres of the National Wildlife Refuge
System contain harmful nonnative species.
(5) The cost of early identification and removal of harmful
nonnative species is dramatically lower than removing an
established invasive population.
(6) The cost of the backlog of harmful nonnative species
control projects that need to be carried out in the National
Wildlife Refuge System is over $361,000,000, and the failure to
carry out such projects threatens the ability of the System to
fulfill its basic mission.
(b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to encourage partnerships
among the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, other Federal
agencies, States, Indian tribes, and other interests for the following
(1) To protect, enhance, restore, and manage a diversity of
habitats for native fish and wildlife resources within the
National Wildlife Refuge System through control of harmful
(2) To promote the development of voluntary State assessments
to establish priorities for controlling harmful nonnative
species that threaten or negatively impact refuge resources.
(3) To promote greater cooperation among Federal, State, and
local land and water managers, and owners of private land,
water rights, or other interests, to implement ecologically
based strategies to eradicate, mitigate, and control harmful
nonnative species that threaten or negatively impact refuge
resources through a voluntary and incentive-based financial
assistance grant program.
(4) To establish an immediate response capability to combat
incipient harmful nonnative species invasions.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
For the purposes of this Act:
(1) Advisory committee.--The term ``Advisory Committee''
means the Invasive Species Advisory Committee established by
section 3 of Executive Order 13112, dated February 3, 1999.
(2) Appropriate committees.--The term ``appropriate
Committees'' means the Committee on Natural Resources of the
House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and
Public Works of the Senate.
(3) Control.--The term ``control'' means, as appropriate,
eradicating, suppressing, reducing, or managing harmful
nonnative species from areas where they are present; taking
steps to detect early infestations on at-risk native habitats;
and restoring native species and habitats to reduce the effects
of harmful nonnative species.
(4) Environmental soundness.--The term ``environmental
soundness'' means the extent of inclusion of methods, efforts,
actions, or programs to prevent or control infestations of
harmful nonnative species, that--
(A) minimize adverse impacts to the structure and
function of an ecosystem and adverse effects on
nontarget species and ecosystems; and
(B) emphasize integrated management techniques.
(5) Harmful nonnative species.--The term ``harmful nonnative
species'' means, with respect to a particular ecosystem in a
particular region, any species, including its seeds, eggs,
spores, or other biological material capable of propagating
that species, that is not native to that ecosystem and has a
demonstrable or potentially demonstrable negative environmental
or economic impact in that region.
(6) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' has the meaning
given that term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination
and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).
(7) National management plan.--The term ``National Management
Plan'' means the management plan referred to in section 5 of
Executive Order 13112 of February 3, 1999, and entitled
``Meeting the Invasive Species Challenge''.
(8) Refuge resources.--The term ``refuge resources'' means
all lands and waters, including the fish and wildlife species
and the ecosystems and habitats therein, that are owned and
managed by the Federal Government through the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service and located within the National
Wildlife Refuge System administered under the National Wildlife
Refuge Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.),
including any waterfowl production area.
(9) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of
the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service.
(10) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the several
States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American
Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any
other territory or possession of the United States, and any
SEC. 4. REFUGE ECOLOGY PROTECTION, ASSISTANCE, AND IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
(REPAIR) GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) In General.--The Secretary may provide--
(1) a grant to any eligible applicant to carry out a
qualified control project in accordance with this section; and
(2) a grant to any State to carry out an assessment project
consistent with relevant State plans that have been developed
in whole or in part for the conservation of native fish,
wildlife, and their habitats, and in accordance with this
(A) identify harmful nonnative species that occur in
the State that threaten or negatively impact refuge
(B) assess the needs to restore, manage, or enhance
native fish and wildlife and their natural habitats and
processes in the State to compliment activities to
control, mitigate, or eradicate harmful nonnative
species negatively impacting refuge resources;
(C) identify priorities for actions to address such
(D) identify mechanisms to increase capacity building
in a State or across State lines to conserve and
protect native fish and wildlife and their habitats and
to detect and control harmful nonnative species that
might threaten or negatively impact refuge resources
within the State; and
(E) incorporate, where applicable, the guidelines of
the National Management Plan.
The grant program under this section shall be known as the ``Refuge
Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Grant Program''
or the ``REPAIR Program''.
(b) Functions of the Secretary.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall--
(A) publish guidelines for and solicit applications
for grants under this section not later than 6 months
after the date of enactment of this Act;
(B) receive, review, evaluate, and approve
applications for grants under this section;
(C) consult with the Advisory Committee on the
projects proposed for grants under this section,
including regarding the scientific merit, technical
merit, feasibility, and priority of proposed projects
for such grants; and
(D) consult with the Advisory Committee regarding the
development of the database required under subsection
(2) Delegation of authority.--The Secretary may delegate to
another Federal instrumentality the authority of the Secretary
under this section, other than the authority to approve
applications for grants and make grants.
(c) Functions of the Advisory Committee.--The Advisory Committee
(1) consult with the Secretary to create criteria and
guidelines for grants under this section;
(2) consult with the Secretary regarding whether proposed
control projects are qualified control projects; and
(3) carry out functions relating to monitoring control
projects under subsection (j).
(d) Eligible Applicant.--To be an eligible applicant for purposes of
subsection (a)(1), an applicant shall--
(1) be a State, local government, interstate or regional
agency, university, or private person;
(2) have adequate personnel, funding, and authority to carry
out and monitor or maintain a control project; and
(3) have entered into an agreement with the Secretary or a
designee of the Secretary, for a national wildlife refuge or
(e) Qualified Control Project.--
(1) In general.--To be a qualified control project under this
section, a project shall--
(A) control harmful nonnative species on the lands or
waters on which it is conducted;
(B) include a plan for monitoring the project area
and maintaining effective control of harmful nonnative
species after the completion of the project, that is
consistent with standards for monitoring developed
under subsection (j);
(C) be conducted in partnership with a national
wildlife refuge or refuge complex;
(D) be conducted on lands or waters, other than
national wildlife refuge lands or waters, that, for
purposes of carrying out the project, are under the
control of the eligible applicant applying for the
grant under this section and on adjacent national
wildlife refuge lands or waters administered by the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service referred to in
subparagraph (C), that are--
(i) administered for the long-term
conservation of such lands and waters and the
native fish and wildlife dependent thereon; and
(ii) managed to prevent the future
reintroduction or dispersal of harmful
nonnative species from the lands and waters on
which the project is carried out; and
(E) encourage public notice and outreach on control
project activities in the affected community.
(2) Other factors for selection of projects.--In ranking
qualified control projects, the Director may consider the
(A) The extent to which a project would address the
operational and maintenance backlog attributed to
harmful nonnative species on refuge resources.
(B) Whether a project will encourage increased
coordination and cooperation among one or more Federal
agencies and State or local government agencies or
nongovernmental or other private entities to control
harmful nonnative species threatening or negatively
impacting refuge resources.
(C) Whether a project fosters public-private
partnerships and uses Federal resources to encourage
increased private sector involvement, including
consideration of the amount of private funds or in-kind
contributions to control harmful nonnative species or
national wildlife refuge lands or non-Federal lands in
proximity to refuge resources.
(D) The extent to which a project would aid the
conservation of species that are listed under the
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et
(E) Whether a project includes pilot testing or a
demonstration of an innovative technology having the
potential for improved cost-effectiveness in
controlling harmful nonnative species.
(F) The extent to which a project considers the
potential for unintended consequences of control
methods on ecosystems and includes contingency
(f) Distribution of Control Grant Awards.--In making grants for
control projects under this section the Secretary shall, to the
greatest extent practicable, ensure--
(1) a balance of smaller and larger projects conducted with
grants under this section; and
(2) an equitable geographic distribution of projects carried
out with grants under this section, among all regions and
States within which such projects are proposed to be conducted.
(g) Grant Duration.--
(1) In general.--Each grant under this section shall be to
provide funding for the Federal share of the cost of a project
carried out with the grant for up to 2 fiscal years.
(2) Renewal.--(A) If the Secretary, after reviewing the
reports under subsection (h) regarding a control project, finds
that the project is making satisfactory progress, the Secretary
may renew a grant under this section for the project for an
additional 3 fiscal years.
(B) The Secretary may renew a grant under this section to
implement the monitoring and maintenance plan required for a
control project under subsection (e)(1)(B) for up to 5 fiscal
years after the project is otherwise completed.
(h) Reporting by Grantee.--
(1) In general.--(A) A grantee carrying out a control project
with a grant under this section shall report to the Secretary
every 24 months or at the expiration of the grant, whichever is
of shorter duration.
(B) A State carrying out an assessment project with a grant
under this section shall submit the assessment pursuant to
subsection (a)(2) to the Secretary no later than 24 months
after the date on which the grant is awarded.
(2) Report contents.--Each report under this subsection shall
include the following information with respect to each project
covered by the report:
(A) In the case of a control project--
(i) the information described in
subparagraphs (B), (D), and (F) of subsection
(ii) specific information on the methods and
techniques used to control harmful nonnative
species in the project area; and
(iii) specific information on the methods and
techniques used to restore native fish,
wildlife, or their habitats in the project
(B) A detailed report of the funding for the grant
and the expenditures made.
(3) Interim update.--Each grantee under subsection (h)(1)(A)
of this section shall also submit annually a brief synopsis to
the Secretary, either electronically or in writing, that
(A) a chronological list of project progress; and
(B) use of awarded funds.
(i) Cost Sharing for Projects.--
(1) Federal share.--Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and
(3), the Federal share of the cost of a project carried out
with a grant under this section shall not exceed 75 percent of
(2) Innovative technology costs.--The Federal share of the
incremental additional cost of including in a control project
any pilot testing or a demonstration of an innovative
technology described in subsection (e)(2)(E) shall be 85
(3) Projects on refuge lands or waters.--The Federal share of
the cost of the portion of a control project funded with a
grant under this section that is carried out on national
wildlife refuge lands or waters, including the cost of
acquisition by the Federal Government of lands or waters for
use for such a project, shall be 100 percent.
(4) Application of in-kind contributions.--The Secretary may
apply to the non-Federal share of costs of a control project
carried out with a grant under this section the fair market
value of services or any other form of in-kind contribution to
the project made by non-Federal interests that the Secretary
determines to be an appropriate contribution equivalent to the
monetary amount required for the non-Federal share of the
(5) Derivation of non-federal share.--The non-Federal share
of the cost of a control project carried out with a grant under
this section may not be derived from a Federal grant program or
other Federal funds.
(j) Monitoring and Maintenance of Control Grant Projects.--
(1) Requirements.--The Secretary, in consultation with the
Advisory Committee, shall develop requirements for the
monitoring and maintenance of a control project to ensure that
the requirements under subsections (e)(1)(A) and (B) are
(2) Database of grant project information.--The Secretary
shall develop and maintain an appropriate database of
information concerning control projects carried out with grants
under this subsection, including information on project
techniques, project completion, monitoring data, and other
(3) Use of existing programs.--The Secretary shall use
existing programs within the Department of the Interior to
create and maintain the database required under this
(4) Public availability.--The Secretary shall make the
information collected and maintained under this subsection
available to the public.
(k) Reporting by the Secretary.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall, by not later than 3
years after the date of the enactment of this Act and
biennially thereafter in the report under section 8, report to
the appropriate Committees on the implementation of this
(2) Report contents.--A report under paragraph (1) shall
include an assessment of--
(A) trends in the population size and distribution of
harmful nonnative species in the project area for each
control project carried out with a grant under this
section, and in the adjacent areas as defined by the
(B) data on the number of acres of refuge resources
and native fish and wildlife habitat restored,
protected, or enhanced under this section, including
descriptions of, and partners involved with, control
projects selected, in progress, and completed under
(C) trends in the population size and distribution in
the project areas of native species targeted for
restoration, and in areas in proximity to refuge
resources as defined by the Secretary;
(D) an estimate of the long-term success of varying
conservation techniques used in carrying out control
projects with grants under this section;
(E) an assessment of the status of control projects
carried out with grants under this section, including
an accounting of expenditures by the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service, State, regional, and local
government agencies, and other entities to carry out
(F) a review of the environmental soundness of the
control projects carried out with grants under this
(G) a review of efforts made to maintain an
appropriate database of grants under this section; and
(H) a review of the geographical distribution of
Federal money, matching funds, and in-kind
contributions for control projects carried out with
grants under this section.
(l) Cooperation of Non-Federal Interests.--The Secretary may not make
a grant under this section for a control project on national wildlife
refuge lands or lands in proximity to refuge resources before a non-
Federal interest has entered into a written agreement with a national
wildlife refuge or refuge complex under which the non-Federal interest
(1) monitor and maintain the control project in accordance
with the plan required under subsection (e)(1)(B); and
(2) provide any other items of cooperation the Secretary
considers necessary to carry out the project.
SEC. 5. CREATION OF AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE CAPABILITY TO HARMFUL
(a) Establishment.--The Secretary may provide financial assistance
for a period of one fiscal year to enable an immediate response to
outbreaks of harmful nonnative species that threaten or may negatively
impact refuge resources that are at a stage at which rapid eradication
or control is possible, and ensure eradication or immediate control of
the harmful nonnative species.
(b) Requirements for Assistance.--The Secretary shall provide
assistance under this section, with the concurrence of the Governor of
a State, to local and State agencies, universities, or nongovernmental
entities for the eradication of an immediate harmful nonnative species
threat only if--
(1) there is a demonstrated need for the assistance;
(2) the harmful nonnative species is considered to be an
immediate threat to refuge resources, as determined by the
(3) the proposed response to such threat--
(A) is technically feasible; and
(B) minimizes adverse impacts to the structure and
function of national wildlife refuge ecosystems and
adverse effects on nontarget species.
(c) Amount of Financial Assistance.--The Secretary shall determine
the amount of financial assistance to be provided under this section
with respect to an outbreak of a harmful nonnative species, subject to
the availability of appropriations.
(d) Cost Share.--The Federal share of the cost of any activity
carried out with assistance under this section may be up to 100
(e) Monitoring and Reporting.--The Secretary shall require that
persons receiving assistance under this section monitor and report on
activities carried out with assistance under this section in accordance
with the requirements that apply with respect to control projects
carried out with assistance under section 4.
SEC. 6. COOPERATIVE VOLUNTEER HARMFUL NON-NATIVE SPECIES MONITORING AND
(a) In General.--Consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge System
Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 (Public Law
105-242), the Secretary shall establish a cooperative volunteer harmful
non-native species monitoring and control program to administer and
coordinate projects implemented by volunteer or other civic
organizations concerned with national wildlife refuges to address
harmful non-native species that threaten national wildlife refuges or
(b) Eligible Activities.--Each project administered and coordinated
under this section shall include one of the following activities:
(1) Habitat surveys.
(2) Detection and identification of new introductions or
infestations of harmful nonnative species.
(3) Harmful non-native species control projects.
(4) Public education and outreach to increase awareness
concerning harmful non-native species and their threat to the
SEC. 7. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER AUTHORITIES.
(a) Authorities, etc. of Secretary.--Nothing in this Act affects
authorities, responsibilities, obligations, or powers of the Secretary
under any other statute.
(b) State Authority.--Nothing in this Act preempts any provision or
enforcement of State statute or regulation relating to the management
of fish and wildlife resources within such State.
SEC. 8. BIENNIAL REPORT.
The Secretary shall prepare and submit to the Congress by not later
than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act and biennially
(1) a comprehensive report summarizing all grant activities
relating to invasive species initiated under this Act
(A) State assessment projects;
(B) qualified control projects;
(C) immediate response activities; and
(D) projects identified in the Refuge Operations
Needs database or the Service Asset and Maintenance
Management System database of the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service.
(2) a list of grant priorities, ranked in high, medium, and
low categories, for future grant activities in the areas of--
(A) early detection and rapid response;
(B) control, management, and restoration;
(C) research and monitoring;
(D) information management; and
(E) public outreach and partnership efforts; and
(3) information required to be included under section 4(k).
SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out
this Act such sums as may be necessary.
(b) Allowance for Immediate Response.--Of the amounts appropriated to
carry out this Act no more than 25 percent shall be available in any
fiscal year for financial assistance under section 5.
(c) Continuing Availability.--Amounts appropriated under this Act may
remain available until expended.
(d) Administrative Expenses.--Of amounts available each fiscal year
to carry out this Act, the Secretary may expend not more than 3 percent
or up to $100,000, whichever is greater, to pay the administrative
expenses necessary to carry out this Act.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 767 is to protect, conserve and restore
native fish, wildlife, and their natural habitats at national
wildlife refuges through cooperative, incentive-based grants to
control, mitigate and eradicate harmful nonnative species, and
for other purposes.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) was
established more than 100 years ago to protect important
habitat areas vital to the conservation of fish and wildlife
populations in the United States. Our nation's Refuge System
protects and provides habitats for more than 700 bird species,
220 mammal species, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than
1,000 fish, and a tremendous variety of plant and invertebrate
species. Over the last 20 years, however, harmful nonnative or
``invasive'' species have taken root throughout the Refuge
System. Infestations have diminished the quality of habitat,
negatively affected native wildlife and plant species, and
increased the operating costs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (the Service).
Examples of infestations of harmful nonnative species can
be found at refuges around the country. At the Trempealeau
National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, sand prairie, wetland
and bottomland forest habitats are threatened by several
invasive plants, notably leafy spurge, purple loosestrife,
quackgrass, smooth brome grass and black locust trees. These
noxious plants seriously compromise the ecological integrity
and biodiversity of this key refuge along the Mississippi
Flyway. At the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, the
highly invasive Chinese tallow tree, which shades out native
grasslands, prairies and brush lands, has destroyed more than
55,000 acres of bird and wildlife habitat important to nearly
400 species of migratory birds. At the Arthur R. Loxahatchee
National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, two invasive plants
Melaleuca and Old World climbing fern, have infested more than
80 percent of the refuge. Regrettably, numerous other examples
illustrating the disastrous harm to fish and wildlife and their
habitats can be readily found throughout the Refuge System.
The Service has identified invasive species as a management
priority. As expressed during a survey taken during the 2001
Conservation in Action Summit, refuge managers identified
invasive species by a more than two-to-one margin as the most
important environmental challenge facing the Refuge System. In
2004, the Service's Refuge System Threats and Conflicts
database identified invasive species as the single most
important threat. Furthermore, the Service's own 2006 Refuge
Annual Performance Planning (RAPP) data estimated that at least
two million acres of refuge lands were infested by invasive
plants. The Service now estimates that 4,471 invasive animal
populations and at least 675 harmful nonnative species can be
found on eight million acres of the Refuge System. This latest
estimate by the Service corroborates a similar 2001 estimate
provided in the report released by The National Audubon
Society, Cooling the Hot Spots. These estimates reinforce the
explosive growth of this threat. They also serve to underscore
the critical need for the Service to initiate and complete
surveys throughout the Refuge System to identify invasive
species infestations, monitor new outbreaks, and characterize
and control invasive species pathways.
Funding shortfalls and competing environmental issues such
as water rights, pollution and contaminants, and air quality,
however, threaten to undermine the future of the Refuge System
and the ability of the Service to address the growing threat of
invasive species. The Service and the Cooperative Alliance for
Refuge Enhancement estimate that there is nearly a $2.8 billion
backlog in the operations and maintenance budgets for the
Refuge System. Funding shortages for operations limit the
Service's ability to address emerging threats affecting
refuges, notably infestations and colonizations by invasive
species. The Service estimates that at present, the portion of
the operations budget backlog attributed to invasive species is
$361 million. Unfortunately, the budget shortfall has limited
the amount of funding the Service devotes to this activity. In
fiscal year 2006, the Service spent just $9.7 million on
activities to address invasive species, or roughly 2.6 percent
of the funding level required to address this threat. At this
funding level, the Service was able to treat and map a total of
38,016 acres of refuge lands, or roughly 0.47 percent of the
total estimated amount of lands infested by invasive species.
In fiscal year 2007, the Service budgeted $9.2 million for
Refuge System invasive species activities, a slight decrease.
Unfortunately, the Administration requested only $8.6 for
fiscal year 2008.
To strengthen and supplement support, the Service has
adopted new management innovations. For example, the Service
has developed Invasive Species Strike Teams as mobile units
designed to rapidly respond to new invasive species
infestations and to eradicate these outbreaks in specific
geographic locations. To compensate for staffing cuts, the
Service has also supported local volunteer or ``Friends''
organizations to initiate projects, such as mapping and
monitoring of new and existing invasive species infestations.
In general, the sum of these activities still falls far short
of the need as identified in the RAPP data. Moreover, should
present trends in funding levels for the Refuge System hold, it
is doubtful that these activities will persist in the
Legislation to prioritize this issue within the Service and
provide a framework to address the threat of invasive species
on a landscape basis would be beneficial to fulfill the goals
and objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Improvement Act (Public Law 105-57). Considering that invasive
species move across the landscape irrespective of political
subdivisions of land, any framework should encourage the
development of long-term cooperative partnerships between the
Service, the states, and non-federal partners to address the
threat on both refuge lands and adjacent non-federal lands,
especially associated invasive species migration pathways.
Moreover, it is clear that new financial incentives are
necessary to support activities to respond, monitor, control,
manage and eradicate harmful nonnative species if we hope to
control the spread of invasive species and protect the
ecological integrity, biological diversity and environmental
health of the Refuge System.
H.R. 767 was introduced on January 31, 2007 by Congressman
Ron Kind (D-WI). The bill was referred to the Committee on
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee
on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans. The bill as introduced
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide under the
Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response
(REPAIR) Grant Program (1) grants to any eligible applicant to
carry out a qualified control project to control harmful
nonnative species; (2) grants to any state to carry out an
assessment project to identify harmful nonnative species,
assess the needs to restore, manage, or enhance native fish,
wildlife and habitats, identify priorities, and identify
mechanisms to increase capacity building for native fish,
wildlife, and habitats. The Secretary is required to consult
with the Invasive Species Advisory Committee on grant proposals
regarding the development of a database concerning control
projects carried out with such REPAIR grants. The Secretary is
also authorized to provide financial assistance to enable
entities to immediately respond to new outbreaks of harmful
nonnative species that threaten or may negatively impact refuge
resources when eradication or control is possible. The
Secretary is also directed to establish a Cooperative Volunteer
Invasive Species Monitoring and Control Program to document and
combat invasive species in national wildlife refuges.
On June 21, 2007, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the
bill. On July 26, 2007, the Subcommittee met to mark up the
bill. Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) offered an amendment in the
nature of a substitute to clarify the definition of refuge
resources to include waterfowl production areas, limit the
amount of financial assistance for immediate response in any
fiscal year to 25 percent, revise the funding allowance for
administrative expenses to mirror other matching grant
programs, and make other minor technical corrections. The
substitute was adopted by voice vote. The bill was then
forwarded to the Full Committee.
On October 10, 2007, the Full Natural Resources Committee
met to consider the bill. Congressman Kind offered an amendment
in the nature of a substitute to make other technical and
clarifying changes to the bill requested by the Service and the
States. In particular, the amendment inserted a savings clause
regarding state authority to manage fish and wildlife
resources, and a clarification that civic organizations,
including organizations concerned with the Refuge System as
defined in the National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and
Community Partnership Act, would be eligible to participate in
the cooperative volunteer program. The amendment was adopted by
unanimous consent. The bill as amended was then ordered
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous
Section 1. Short title
Section 1 cites this Act as the ``Refuge Ecology
Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Act.''
Section 2. Findings and purpose
Section 2 establishes that harmful nonnative invasive
species are a leading cause of habitat destruction in National
Wildlife Refuges, a problem resulting in a control project
backlog exceeding $361 million. The Act encourages federal,
state and private entities to help control harmful nonnative
species in the Refuge System through development of voluntary
state harmful nonnative species priority control assessments,
an incentive-based financial assistance grant program promoting
cooperative ecological control strategies, and establishes the
capacity to take immediate responses to incipient invasions.
Section 3. Definitions
Section 3 defines key terms included within the text of the
proposed legislation, including ``advisory committee'',
``control'', ``environmental soundness'', ``harmful nonnative
species'' and ``refuge resources''.
Section 4. Refuge ecology protection, assistance, and immediate
response (REPAIR) grant program
Section 4 authorizes the Secretary to provide grants to
eligible applicants for qualified control projects and to
states for assessment projects, by specific criteria. The
Secretary is required, in consultation with the advisory
committee, to publish guidelines and solicit applications for
control projects within six months of enactment. Basic criteria
for eligible applicants and control projects are provided as
well as logistical grant details. Grants are initially approved
for up to two fiscal years and percentage limits for government
cost sharing are outlined. Deadlines regarding grantee reports
on methods, technique, funding and expenditures are also set.
Finally, the Secretary must ensure equal geographic
distribution of grants, a balance between small and large grant
projects, develop a database containing grant project
information available to the public, and report to the Congress
within three years after the date of enactment.
Section 5. Creation of an immediate response capability to harmful
Section 5 enables the Secretary to provide financial
assistance for immediate response to outbreaks of harmful
nonnative species that can be controlled or eradicated. This
assistance will only be administered if it is an immediate
threat to refuge resources, and the proposed response is
technically feasible and minimizes adverse impacts to the
refuge ecosystem and non-target species. The amount of
financial assistance is determined by the Secretary and is
subject to the availability of appropriations.
Section 6. Cooperative volunteer harmful nonnative species monitoring
and control program
Section 6 directs the Secretary to establish a cooperative
volunteer harmful nonnative species monitoring and control
program to administer and coordinate projects implemented by
volunteers. Each project must include either habitat surveys,
detection of new harmful nonnative species, control projects or
public education and outreach.
Section 7. Relationship to other authorities
Section 7 clarifies that nothing in this act affects the
authorities, responsibilities, obligations, or powers of the
Secretary under other statutes nor does it preempt state
regulation of the management of fish and wildlife resources
within a state.
Section 8. Biennial report
Section 8 requires the Secretary to report to the Congress
no later than two years after the implementation of the Act,
and biennially thereafter, a summary of all grant activities
and a list of grant priorities.
Section 9. Authorization of appropriations
Section 9 authorizes appropriations in such amounts as may
be necessary to carry out this Act and the funds are to remain
available until expended.
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT
The functions of the proposed advisory committee authorized
in the bill are not currently being nor could they be performed
by one or more agencies, an advisory committee already in
existence or by enlarging the mandate of an existing advisory
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
3. General performance goals and objectives. As required by
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or
objective of this bill is to protect, conserve and restore
native fish, wildlife, and their natural habitats at national
wildlife refuges through cooperative, incentive-based grants to
control, mitigate and eradicate harmful nonnative species, and
for other purposes.
4. Congressional Budget Office cost estimate. Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget
H.R. 767--Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response
Summary: H.R. 767 would authorize the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) to provide financial assistance for
projects that control, mitigate, or eradicate harm from
nonnative species to national wildlife refuges and surrounding
lands and waters. CBO estimates that implementing the bill
would cost $37 million in 2008 and $257 million over the 2008-
2012 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
H.R. 767 would not affect revenues or direct spending.
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA);
any costs to state or local governments to match federal
assistance authorized by the bill would be incurred
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 767 is shown in the following table.
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300
(natural resources and environment).
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level................................. 65 65 50 50 50
Estimated Outlays............................................. 37 60 60 50 50
Basis of estimate: H.R. 767 would authorize the USFWS to
finance projects that help to address the harmful effects of
nonnative species on wildlife refuges. Under the bill, the
USFWS would provide grants to:
states to identify harmful species and
assess the need for projects to restore native fish and
states, local governments, universities, or
other eligible applicants for projects to suppress,
reduce, or eradicate nonnative species in wildlife
refuges and on adjacent properties, and
local and state agencies and nongovernmental
entities to respond to immediate threats from harmful
Based on information provided by the Department of the
Interior, the USFWS, the National Invasive Species Council, and
the Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CBO estimates that fully
funding the three grant programs authorized by H.R. 767 would
require appropriations of nearly $280 million over the 2008-
2012 period. Of that amount, we estimate that the USFWS would
need about $30 million (over the first two years) for state
assessments, $10 million annually for immediate response
grants, and $40 million annually for species control projects.
Assuming appropriation of those amounts, we estimate that
discretionary outlays would increase by $37 million in 2008 and
$257 million over the 2008-2012 period.
For this estimate, we assume that H.R. 767 will be enacted
near the beginning of fiscal year 2008 and that the amounts
estimated to be necessary will be appropriated for each year
through 2012. Estimated outlays are based on historical
spending patterns for similar grant programs carried out by the
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 767
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA; any costs to state or local governments to
match federal assistance authorized by the bill would be
Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Deborah Reis; Impact
on state, local, and tribal governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum;
Impact on the private sector: Amy Petz.
Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
H.R. 767 does not contain any congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in
clause 9(d), 9(e) or 9(f) of rule XXI.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing