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111th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                 111-90
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 185

NORTHWEST STRAITS MARINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 
                                  2009

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 668



                                     

                October 21, 2009.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred eleventh congress
                             first session

            JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii             KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
BARBARA BOXER, California            JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      GEORGE LeMIEUX, Florida
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
TOM UDALL, Colorado                  MIKE JOHANNS, Nebraska
MARK WARNER, Virginia
MARK BEGICH, Alaska
                     Ellen Doneski, Chief of Staff
                   James Reid, Deputy Chief of Staff
                     Bruce Andrews, General Counsel
             Ann Begeman, Acting Republican Staff Director
               Brian Hendricks, Republican Chief Counsel
                Todd Bertoson, Republican Senior Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 185
111th Congress                                                   Report

                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     111-90

======================================================================



 
NORTHWEST STRAITS MARINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 
                                  2009

                                _______
                                

                October 21, 2009.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 668]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 668) to reauthorize the 
Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and 
recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 668, the Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative Reauthorization Act, is to reauthorize 
the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative.

                          Background and Needs

    The Northwest Straits is a rich and diverse region. It 
includes the United States marine waters of the Strait of Juan 
de Fuca, the San Juan Islands, and northern Puget Sound, 
reaching from the southern borders of Snohomish and Jefferson 
counties in Washington State to the Canadian border. Seven 
counties, 15 tribes, many cities, and other local governments 
have jurisdiction in the region, which is home to 1.16 million 
people. Iconic species like pacific salmon, Puget Sound 
southern resident orca, western grebe, and rockfish all depend 
on a healthy Northwest Straits ecosystem, as does the State's 
fishing and wildlife viewing industry. Damage to shoreline 
habitat, disturbed ecological processes, and impaired water 
quality are harming the marine ecosystem, and the area is 
experiencing declines in highly valued marine species.
    The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative (the 
Initiative) and the Northwest Straits Advisory Commission (the 
Commission) were established by Congress in 1998. The 
Commission consists of five gubernatorial representatives, one 
tribal representative appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior, and one representative from each of the seven Marine 
Resources Committees (MRCs). Performance benchmarks are used to 
help partners guide project development and evaluate the 
Initiative's progress. These benchmarks are: (1) to protect and 
restore marine, coastal, and nearshore habitats, prevent loss, 
and achieve a net gain of healthy habitat areas; (2) to protect 
and restore marine populations to healthy and sustainable 
levels; (3) to protect the marine water quality of the 
Northwest Straits region and restore the health of marine 
waters; (4) to collect high quality data and promote its use 
and dissemination; and (5) to promote stewardship and 
understanding of Northwest Straits marine resources through 
education and outreach. In addition to the Commission and MRCs, 
the Initiative is supported by the Northwest Straits 
Foundation, a non-profit organization established to leverage 
additional funds for the Initiative's scientific, restoration, 
and education projects.
    At the core of the Initiative are seven locally-based MRCs 
located in each of the Northwest Straits counties: Clallam, 
Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom. 
The Commission and the MRCs bring local, tribal, State, 
community, organizational, and citizen interests together to 
protect and restore the marine environment. Each MRC is 
citizen-based and created by county ordinance. The members of 
each MRC are appointed by their county commission or council. 
Each MRC includes representatives from commercial, 
recreational, scientific, educational, and environmental 
interests, as well as local and tribal governments. The MRC 
members set priorities and design marine restoration and 
protection projects, provide stewardship information to local 
residents, and work in cooperation with local elected 
officials. MRCs receive funds and support from the Northwest 
Straits Commission to carry out programs that meet the 
Initiative's benchmarks. MRCs use existing State and local 
authorities, and base their actions on sound scientific 
information and the overall needs of the ecosystem. MRCs 
coordinate their activities through the Commission, which 
provides technical assistance, integration of scientific 
information, ecosystem-level coordination, and funding 
coordination.
    Congress mandated a program review, and in 2004, an 
evaluation panel of national experts recommended continued 
Federal authorization and expanded support for the Initiative.

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 668 would amend the Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative Act. The bill would set forth 
requirements concerning the membership of the Northwest Straits 
Advisory Commission and would direct the Secretary of Commerce, 
acting through the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, 
to appoint a liaison between the Commission and the Department 
of Commerce. The bill would also issue requirements concerning 
the filling of Commission vacancies and the selection of the 
Chairperson of the Commission. In addition, the bill would 
require the Commission to meet at the call of the Chairperson 
(though not less frequently than quarterly) and require the 
Secretary of Commerce to appoint a liason to the Commission 
from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    The bill would establish the Commission's goals and duties. 
The goal of the Commission would be to protect and restore the 
marine waters, habitats, and species of the Northwest Straits 
region to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use 
by designing and initiating projects, building stewardship, and 
expanding partnerships. The duties of the Commission would 
include such actions as monitoring ecosystem health; 
identifying adverse factors affecting restoration and health; 
developing scientifically sound restoration and protection 
recommendations; and serving as a public forum and facilitator 
for local concerns, issues, and solutions with the aim of 
restoring and protecting the marine resources in the area.
    S. 668 would provide for the hiring of a director for the 
Commission and staff to enable the Commission to perform its 
duties. It would also authorize the government of each of the 
seven counties in the Northwest Straits region to establish an 
MRC. Each MRC would address issues affecting the marine 
ecosystems within its county with the support of the local 
government. Membership in each MRC would include members with 
relevant scientific expertise and representatives of all 
appropriate stakeholder groups. Each MRC would select a 
chairperson from among its members, which would be a rotating 
position. The bill would also direct the MRCs to work to 
fulfill the goals and duties of the Commission, to work on a 
local level to coordinate marine conservation and restoration 
initiatives, and to educate the public about the connection 
between healthy marine habitats, harvestable resources, and 
human activities.
    The Commission would be directed to prepare an annual 
report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation in the Senate and the Committee on Energy and 
Commerce in the House of Representatives describing the 
activities completed during the previous year and the progress 
made in achieving the Commission's protection and restoration 
benchmarks and goals.

                          Legislative History

    Congress authorized the Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative (title IV of PL 105-384) in 1998 to 
coordinate Federal, State, and local marine resource protection 
and restoration activities in the Northwest Straits. The 
Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative 
Reauthorization Act was introduced by Senator Murray on March 
23, 2009. Senator Cantwell cosponsored the legislation. During 
the 111th Congress, the Committee held a NOAA budget hearing on 
June 11, 2009, that addressed this legislation.
    Staff assigned to this legislation are Kristen Sarri, 
Democratic Professional Staff, and Todd Bertoson, Republican 
Senior Counsel.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                                     July 22, 2009.
Hon. John D. Rockefeller IV,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 668, the Northwest 
Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Reauthorization Act of 
2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 668--Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative 
        Reauthorization Act of 2009

    S. 668 would reauthorize the Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative Act and codify aspects of the 
initiative, including the composition and goals of the 
Northwest Straits Advisory Commission. The bill also would 
require the commission to submit an annual report to the 
Congress. Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 668 would cost $2 million a year 
over the 2010-2014 period. Enacting the bill would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    The Northwest Straits Initiative is an intergovernmental 
partnership that restores and protects marine resources along 
the northwest coast of Washington state. The initiative is led 
by the Northwest Straits Advisory Commission, composed of 
federal, state, and county representatives, who provide 
resources and support to county governments working to achieve 
the goals of the Northwest Straits Initiative.
    Authorization of the Northwest Straits Initiative expired 
in 2004. In fiscal years 2004 through 2008, the initiative 
received appropriations ranging from $1 million to $2 million 
annually, including $1.6 million in fiscal year 2008.
    S. 668 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 Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The reported bill would not authorize any new regulations, 
and therefore will not subject any individuals or businesses to 
new regulations.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  The bill, as reported, would have a positive economic impact 
through improved resource management that would support the 
State's fishing and wildlife viewing industries.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill would not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  The reported bill would not increase paperwork requirements 
for the private sector.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

  In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short Title.

  This section would provide that the legislation may be cited 
as the ``Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative 
Reauthorization Act of 2009''.

Section 2. Reauthorization of Northwest Straits Marine Conservation 
        Initiative Act.

  This section would amend the Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative Act (title IV of Public Law 105-384) by 
striking sections 403 through 405 of the current Act, inserting 
new material for those sections, and creating new sections 406 
through 410 as follows:
          Section 403. Findings.--This section would identify 
        key findings of the bill concerning the Northwest 
        Straits Marine Conservation Initiative and the marine 
        waters and ecosystem of the Northwest Straits.
          Section 404. Definitions.--This section would define 
        the terms ``Commission'', ``Indian tribe'', and 
        ``Northwest Straits''.
          Section 405. Membership of the Commission.--This 
        section would set forth requirements concerning the 
        membership of the Northwest Straits Advisory 
        Commission. The Commission would be composed of up to 
        14 members. One member would be appointed by members of 
        the MRC established under section 408, two members 
        would be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, 
        and one member would be appointed by the Governor of 
        the State of Washington to represent the interests of 
        the Puget Sound Partnership. Four other members would 
        also be appointed by the Governor who would be 
        residents of the State of Washington and not employed 
        by a Federal, State, or local government. The section 
        would also set forth requirements concerning the 
        filling of Commission vacancies and the selection of 
        the Chairperson of the Commission. Additionally, the 
        section would require the Commission to meet at the 
        call of the Chairperson (though not less frequently 
        than quarterly) and require the Secretary of Commerce 
        to appoint a liason to the Commission from the National 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
          Section 406. Goal and Duties of the Commission.--This 
        section would define the goal and duties of the 
        Commission. The goal of the Commission would be to 
        protect and restore the marine waters, habitats, and 
        species of the Northwest Straits region to achieve 
        ecosystem health and sustainable resource use through 
        project design and initiation. The duties of the 
        Commission would include such actions as monitoring 
        ecosystem health; identifying adverse factors affecting 
        restoration and health; developing scientifically sound 
        restoration and protection recommendations; and serving 
        as a public forum and facilitator for local concerns, 
        issues, and solutions with the aim of restoring and 
        protecting the marine resources in the area. The 
        Commission would prepare an annual report describing 
        the activities completed during the previous year and 
        the progress made in achieving the Commission's 
        protection and restoration benchmarks and goals.
          Section 407. Commission Personnel and Administrative 
        Matters.--This section would provide for the 
        appointment of Commission personnel and other 
        administrative matters. It would establish the Director 
        of the Commission as a paid position with the 
        responsibility to hire such personnel as appropriate to 
        enable the Commission to perform its duties. The 
        Commission would be required to use the administrative 
        services of the State of Washington Department of 
        Ecology and Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research 
        Reserve for employment, procurement, grant and fiscal 
        management, and support services necessary to carry out 
        the duties of the Commission if consent is given by the 
        Governor of the State of Washington.
          Section 408. Marine Resources Committees.--This 
        section would allow the governments of each of the 
        seven counties in the Northwest Straits region to 
        establish a MRC. Each MRC would address issues 
        affecting the marine ecosystems within its county with 
        the support of the local government. Each MRC would 
        include persons with relevant scientific expertise and 
        representatives of all appropriate stakeholder groups, 
        including one member from each Indian tribe with 
        fishing rights in the waters of such county or 
        reservation lands in such county. Each MRC would select 
        a chairperson from among its members, which would be a 
        rotating position. MRCs would work to fulfill the goal 
        and duties of the Commission, to coordinate local 
        marine conservation and restoration initiatives, and to 
        educate the public about the connection between healthy 
        marine habitats, harvestable resources, and human 
        activities.
          Section 409. Northwest Straits Marine Conservation 
        Foundation.--This section would permit the Director of 
        the Commission and the Director of the Padilla Bay 
        National Estuarine Research Reserve to establish a 
        nonprofit foundation to support the Commission and the 
        MRCs in carrying out their duties.
          Section 410. Authorization of Appropriations.--This 
        section would authorize to be appropriated to the 
        Secretary of Commerce such sums as may be necessary to 
        carry out the provisions of the Northwest Straits 
        Marine Conservation Initiative Act.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):

          NORTHWEST STRAITS MARINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE ACT

SEC. 401. SHORT TITLE.

  This title may be cited as the ``Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Initiative Act''.

SEC. 402. ESTABLISHMENT.

  There is established a commission to be known as the 
Northwest Straits Advisory [Commission (in this title referred 
to as the ``Commission'').] Commission.

[SEC. 403. ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION.

  [The Commission shall be organized and operated in accordance 
with the provisions of the Northwest Straits Citizen's Advisory 
Commission Report of August 20, 1998, on file with the 
Secretary of Commerce (in this title referred to as the 
``Report'').

[SEC. 404. FUNDING.

  [(a) In General.--The Secretary of Commerce may, from amounts 
available to the Secretary to carry out the work of the 
Commission, provide assistance for use in accordance with the 
Report and the priorities of the Commission--
          [(1) to collect marine resources data in the 
        Northwest Straits;
          [(2) to coordinate Federal, State, and local marine 
        resources protection and restoration activities in the 
        Northwest Straits; and
          [(3) to carry out other activities identified in the 
        Report as important to the protection and restoration 
        of marine resources in the Northwest Straits.
  [(b) Provision.--The Secretary may provide the assistance 
authorized by subsection (a) through the Director of the 
Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, unless the 
Governor of the State of Washington objects. If the Governor 
objects, then the Secretary may provide the assistance though 
the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration.

[SEC. 405. LIMITATION.

  [Nothing in this title provides the Commission with the 
authority to implement any Federal law or regulation.]

SEC. 403. FINDINGS.

  Congress makes the following findings:
          (1) The marine waters and ecosystem of the Northwest 
        Straits in Puget Sound in the State of Washington 
        represent a unique resource of enormous environmental 
        and economic value to the people of the United States.
          (2) During the 20th century, the environmental health 
        of the Northwest Straits declined dramatically as 
        indicated by impaired water quality, declines in marine 
        wildlife, collapse of harvestable marine species, loss 
        of critical marine habitats, ocean acidification, and 
        sea level rise.
          (3) At the start of the 21st century, the Northwest 
        Straits have been threatened by sea level rise, ocean 
        acidification, and other effects of climate change.
          (4) In 1998, the Northwest Straits Marine 
        Conservation Initiative Act (title IV of Public Law 
        105-384) was enacted to tap the unprecedented level of 
        citizen stewardship demonstrated in the Northwest 
        Straits and create a mechanism to mobilize public 
        support and raise capacity for local efforts to protect 
        and restore the ecosystem of the Northwest Straits.
          (5) The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation 
        Initiative helps the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration and other Federal agencies with their 
        marine missions by fostering local interest in marine 
        issues and involving diverse groups of citizens.
          (6) The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation 
        Initiative shares many of the same goals with the 
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
        including fostering citizen stewardship of marine 
        resources, general ecosystem management, and protecting 
        federally managed marine species.
          (7) Ocean literacy and identification and removal of 
        marine debris projects are examples of on-going 
        partnerships between the Northwest Straits Marine 
        Conservation Initiative and the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration.

SEC. 404. DEFINITIONS.

  In this title:
          (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the 
        Northwest Straits Advisory Commission established by 
        section 402.
          (2) 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).
          (3) Northwest straits.--The term ``Northwest 
        Straits'' means the marine waters of the Strait of Juan 
        de Fuca and of Puget Sound from the Canadian border to 
        the south end of Snohomish County.

SEC. 405. MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMISSION.

  (a) Composition.--The Commission shall be composed of up to 
14 members who shall be appointed as follows:
          (1) One member appointed by a consensus of the 
        members of a marine resources committee established 
        under section 408 for each of the following counties of 
        the State of Washington:
                  (A) San Juan County.
                  (B) Island County.
                  (C) Skagit County.
                  (D) Whatcom County.
                  (E) Snohomish County.
                  (F) Clallam County.
                  (G) Jefferson County.
          (2) Two members appointed by the Secretary of the 
        Interior in trust capacity and in consultation with the 
        Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission or the Indian 
        tribes affected by this title collectively, as the 
        Secretary of the Interior considers appropriate, to 
        represent the interests of such tribes.
          (3) One member appointed by the Governor of the State 
        of Washington to represent the interests of the Puget 
        Sound Partnership.
          (4) Four members appointed by the Governor of the 
        State of Washington who--
                  (A) are residents of the State of Washington; 
                and
                  (B) are not employed by a Federal, State, or 
                local government.
  (b) Vacancies.--A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled 
in the manner in which the original appointment was made.
  (c) Chairperson.--The Commission shall select a Chairperson 
from among its members.
  (d) Meeting.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the 
Chairperson, but not less frequently than quarterly.
  (e) Liaison.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary of Commerce shall, 
        acting through the Under Secretary for Oceans and 
        Atmosphere and in consultation with the Director of the 
        Commission appointed under section 407(a), appoint an 
        employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration--
                  (A) to serve as a liaison between the 
                Commission and the Department of Commerce; and
                  (B) to attend meetings and other events of 
                the Commission as a nonvoting participant.
          (2) Limitation.--Service as a member of the 
        Commission by the employee appointed under paragraph 
        (1)--
                  (A) is limited to the employee's service as a 
                liaison and attendance of meetings and other 
                events as a nonvoting participant; and
                  (B) does not obligate the employee to perform 
                any duty of the Commission under section 
                406(b).

SEC. 406. GOAL AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

  (a) Goal.--The goal of the Commission is to protect and 
restore the marine waters, habitats, and species of the 
Northwest Straits region to achieve ecosystem health and 
sustainable resource use by--
          (1) designing and initiating projects that are driven 
        by sound science, local priorities, community-based 
        decisions, and the ability to measure results;
          (2) building awareness and stewardship and making 
        recommendations to improve the health of the Northwest 
        Straits marine resources;
          (3) maintaining and expanding diverse membership and 
        partner organizations;
          (4) expanding partnerships with governments of Indian 
        tribes and continuing to foster respect for tribal 
        cultures and treaties; and
          (5) recognizing the importance of economic and social 
        benefits that are dependent on marine environments and 
        sustainable marine resources.
  (b) Duties.--The duties of the Commission are the following:
          (1) To provide resources and technical support for 
        marine resources committees established under section 
        408.
          (2) To work with such marine resources committees and 
        appropriate entities of Federal and State governments 
        and Indian tribes to develop programs to monitor the 
        overall health of the marine ecosystem of the Northwest 
        Straits.
          (3) To identify factors adversely affecting or 
        preventing the restoration of the health of the marine 
        ecosystem and coastal economies of the Northwest 
        Straits.
          (4) To develop scientifically sound restoration and 
        protection recommendations, informed by local 
        priorities, that address such factors.
          (5) To assist in facilitating the successful 
        implementation of such recommendations by developing 
        broad support among appropriate authorities, 
        stakeholder groups, and local communities.
          (6) To develop and implement regional projects based 
        on such recommendations to protect and restore the 
        Northwest Straits ecosystem.
          (7) To serve as a public forum for the discussion of 
        policies and actions of Federal, State, or local 
        government, an Indian tribe, or the Government of 
        Canada with respect to the marine ecosystem of the 
        Northwest Straits.
          (8) To inform appropriate authorities and local 
        communities about the marine ecosystem of the Northwest 
        Straits and about issues relating to the marine 
        ecosystem of the Northwest Straits.
          (9) To consult with all affected Indian tribes in the 
        region of the Northwest Straits to ensure that the work 
        of the Commission does not violate tribal treaty 
        rights.
  (c) Benchmarks.--The Commission shall carry out its duties in 
a manner that promotes the achieving of the benchmarks 
described in subsection (f)(2).
  (d) Coordination and Collaboration.--The Commission shall 
carry out the duties described in subsection (b) in 
coordination and collaboration, when appropriate, with Federal, 
State, and local governments and Indian tribes.
  (e) Regulatory Authority.--The Commission shall have no power 
to issue regulations.
  (f) Annual Report.--
          (1) In general.--Each year, the Commission shall 
        prepare, submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
        and Transportation of the Senate, the Committee on 
        Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, 
        and the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, and 
        make available to the public an annual report 
        describing--
                  (A) the activities carried out by the 
                Commission during the preceding year; and
                  (B) the progress of the Commission in 
                achieving the benchmarks described in paragraph 
                (2).
          (2) Benchmarks.--The benchmarks described in this 
        paragraph are the following:
                  (A) Protection and restoration of marine, 
                coastal, and nearshore habitats.
                  (B) Prevention of loss and achievement of a 
                net gain of healthy habitat areas.
                  (C) Protection and restoration of marine 
                populations to healthy, sustainable levels.
                  (D) Protection of the marine water quality of 
                the Northwest Straits region and restoration of 
                the health of marine waters.
                  (E) Collection of high-quality data and 
                promotion of the use and dissemination of such 
                data.
                  (F) Promotion of stewardship and 
                understanding of Northwest Straits marine 
                resources through education and outreach.

SEC. 407. COMMISSION PERSONNEL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS.

  (a) Director.--The Manager of the Shorelands and 
Environmental Assistance Program of the Department of Ecology 
of the State of Washington may, upon the recommendation of the 
Commission and the Director of the Padilla Bay National 
Estuarine Research Reserve, appoint and terminate a Director of 
the Commission. The employment of the Director shall be subject 
to confirmation by the Commission.
  (b) Staff.--The Director may hire such other personnel as may 
be appropriate to enable the Commission to perform its duties. 
Such personnel shall be hired through the personnel system of 
the Department of Ecology of the State of Washington.
  (c) Administrative Services.--If the Governor of the State of 
Washington makes available to the Commission the administrative 
services of the State of Washington Department of Ecology and 
Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Commission 
shall use such services for employment, procurement, grant and 
fiscal management, and support services necessary to carry out 
the duties of the Commission.

SEC. 408. MARINE RESOURCES COMMITTEES.

  (a) In General.--The government of each of the counties 
referred to in subparagraphs (A) through (G) of section 
405(a)(1) may establish a marine resources committee that--
          (1) complies with the requirements of this section; 
        and
          (2) receives from such government the mission, 
        direction, expert assistance, and financial resources 
        necessary--
                  (A) to address issues affecting the marine 
                ecosystems within its county; and
                  (B) to work to achieve the benchmarks 
                described in section 406(f)(2).
  (b) Membership.--
          (1) In general.--Each marine resources committee 
        established pursuant to this section shall be composed 
        of--
                  (A) members with relevant scientific 
                expertise; and
                  (B) members that represent balanced 
                representation, including representation of--
                          (i) local governments, including 
                        planning staff from counties and cities 
                        with marine shorelines;
                          (ii) affected economic interests, 
                        such as ports and commercial fishers;
                          (iii) affected recreational 
                        interests, such as sport fishers; and
                          (iv) conservation and environmental 
                        interests.
          (2) Tribal members.--With respect to a county 
        referred to in subparagraph (A) through (G) of section 
        405(a)(1), each Indian tribe with usual and accustomed 
        fishing rights in the waters of such county and each 
        Indian tribe with reservation lands in such county, may 
        appoint one member to the marine resources committee 
        for such county. Such member may be appointed by the 
        respective tribal authority.
          (3) Chairperson.--
                  (A) In general.--Each marine resources 
                committee established pursuant to this section 
                shall select a chairperson from among members 
                by a majority vote of the members of the 
                committee.
                  (B) Rotating position.--Each marine resources 
                committee established pursuant to this section 
                shall select a new chairperson at a frequency 
                determined by the county charter of the marine 
                resources committee to create a diversity of 
                representation in the leadership of the marine 
                resources committee.
  (c) Duties.--The duties of a marine resources committee 
established pursuant to this section are the following:
          (1) To assist in assessing marine resource problems 
        in concert with governmental agencies, tribes, and 
        other entities.
          (2) To assist in identifying local implications, 
        needs, and strategies associated with the recovery of 
        Puget Sound salmon and other species in the region of 
        the Northwest Straits listed under the Endangered 
        Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) in 
        coordination with Federal, State, and local 
        governments, Indian tribes, and other entities.
          (3) To work with other entities to enhance the 
        scientific baseline and monitoring program for the 
        marine environment of the Northwest Straits.
          (4) To identify local priorities for marine resource 
        conservation and develop new projects to address those 
        needs.
          (5) To work closely with county leadership to 
        implement local marine conservation and restoration 
        initiatives.
          (6) To coordinate with the Commission on marine 
        ecosystem objectives.
          (7) To educate the public and key constituencies 
        regarding the relationship between healthy marine 
        habitats, harvestable resources, and human activities.

SEC. 409. NORTHWEST STRAITS MARINE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION.

  (a) Establishment.--The Director of the Commission and the 
Director of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve 
may enter into an agreement with an organization described in 
section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to 
establish a nonprofit foundation to support the Commission and 
the marine resources committees established under section 408 
in carrying out their duties under this Act.
  (b) Designation.--The foundation authorized by subsection (a) 
shall be known as the ``Northwest Straits Marine Conservation 
Foundation''.
  (c) Receipt of Grants.--The Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Foundation may, if eligible, apply for, accept, 
and use grants awarded by Federal agencies, States, local 
governments, regional agencies, interstate agencies, 
corporations, foundations, or other persons to assist the 
Commission and the marine resources committees in carrying out 
their duties under this Act.
  (d) Transfer of Funds.--The Northwest Straits Marine 
Conservation Foundation may transfer funds to the Commission or 
the marine resources committees to assist them in carrying out 
their duties under this Act.

SEC. 410. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of 
Commerce for the use of the Commission such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out the provisions of this title.