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106th Congress Rept. 106-561
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session Part 1
ESTUARY RESTORATION ACT OF 2000
April 4, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1775]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom
was referred the bill (H.R. 1775) to catalyze restoration of
estuary habitat through more efficient financing of projects
and enhanced coordination of Federal and non-Federal
restoration programs, 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 out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu
thereof the following:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Estuary Restoration Act of 2000''.
SEC. 2. PURPOSES.
The purposes of this Act are--
(1) to promote the restoration of 1,000,000 acres of estuary
habitat by 2010;
(2) to promote the restoration of fresh water estuary
(3) to develop strategies to obtain national and regional
objectives for estuary habitat restoration;
(4) to foster coordination of Federal, State, and community
estuary habitat restoration programs, plans, and studies;
(5) to establish effective estuary habitat restoration
partnerships among public agencies at all levels of government
and between the public and private sectors;
(6) to promote efficient financing of estuary habitat
restoration activities; and
(7) to develop and enhance monitoring and research
capabilities to ensure that estuary habitat restoration efforts
are based on sound scientific understanding.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act, the following definitions apply:
(1) Council.--The term ``Council'' means the Estuary Habitat
Restoration Council established by section 5.
(2) Degraded estuary habitat.--The term ``degraded estuary
habitat'' means estuary habitat where natural ecological
functions have been impaired and normal beneficial uses have
(3) Estuary.--The term ``estuary'' means a part of a river or
stream or other body of water that has an unimpaired connection
with the open sea and where the sea water is measurably diluted
with fresh water derived from land drainage. The term also
includes a fresh water estuary.
(4) Estuary habitat.--
(A) In general.--The term ``estuary habitat'' means
the physical, biological, and chemical elements
associated with an estuary, including the complex of
physical and hydrologic features and living organisms
within the estuary and associated ecosystems.
(B) Included habitat.--The term ``estuary habitat''
includes salt and fresh water coastal marshes, coastal
forested wetlands and other coastal wetlands, maritime
forests, coastal grasslands, tidal flats, natural
shoreline areas, shellfish beds, sea grass meadows,
kelp beds, river deltas, river and stream banks under
tidal influence, and beds of submerged aquatic
(5) Estuary habitat restoration activity.--
(A) In general.--The term ``estuary habitat
restoration activity'' means an activity that results
in improving degraded estuary habitat (including both
physical and functional restoration), with the goal of
attaining a self-sustaining system integrated into the
(B) Included activities.--The term ``estuary habitat
restoration activity'' includes--
(i) the reestablishment of physical features
and biological and hydrologic functions;
(ii) except as provided in section 4(b)(3),
the cleanup of contamination related to the
restoration of estuary habitat;
(iii) the control of nonnative and invasive
(iv) the reintroduction of native species;
(v) other activities that improve estuary
(6) Estuary habitat restoration project.--The term ``estuary
habitat restoration project'' means an estuary habitat
restoration activity under consideration or selected by the
Secretary, in accordance with this Act, to be carried out or
receive technical assistance under this Act.
(7) Estuary habitat restoration strategy.--The term ``estuary
habitat restoration strategy'' means the estuary habitat
restoration strategy developed under section 7.
(8) Estuary management or habitat restoration plan.--The term
``estuary management or habitat restoration plan'' means any
plan for restoration of degraded estuary habitat that--
(A) was developed by, or in cooperation with, a
public body with the substantial participation of
appropriate public and private stakeholders; and
(B) reflects a community-based planning process.
(9) Fresh water estuary.--The term ``fresh water estuary''
means all or part of the mouth of a river or stream or other
body of water having unimpaired natural connection with the
Great Lakes and within which the Great Lakes water is
measurably diluted with water derived from land drainage.
(10) Great lakes region.--The term ``Great Lakes region''
means the region consisting of the States of Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
(11) Gulf region.--The term ``Gulf region'' means the region
consisting of the States of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas.
(12) Middle atlantic region.--The term ``Middle Atlantic
region'' means the region consisting of the States of New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and the
District of Columbia.
(13) Northeast region.--The term ``Northeast region'' means
the region consisting of the States of Maine, New Hampshire,
New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
(14) Northwest region.--The term ``Northwest region'' means
the region consisting of the States of Oregon, Washington, and
(15) Regional council.--The term ``Regional Council'' means a
Regional Council of the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council
established by section 6.
(16) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary
of the Army.
(17) Southeast region.--The term ``Southeast region'' means
the region consisting of the States of North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and the territories of Puerto
Rico and the Virgin Islands.
(18) Southwest region.--The term ``Southwest region'' means
the region consisting of the States of California and Hawaii
and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern
(19) State.--The term ``State'' means a State, the District
of Columbia, or a territory in the Gulf, Great Lakes, Middle
Atlantic, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, or Southwest Region.
SEC. 4. ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION PROGRAM.
(a) Establishment.--There is established an estuary habitat
restoration program under which the Secretary may carry out estuary
habitat restoration projects in accordance with the requirements of
(b) Selection of Projects.--
(1) Factors to be taken into account.--In selecting estuary
habitat restoration projects to be carried out under this Act,
the Secretary shall, in consultation with the Council, take
into account the following factors:
(A) The recommendations of the Council.
(B) Whether the project meets the criteria specified
in the estuary habitat restoration strategy.
(C) The technical merit and feasibility of the
(D) Whether the non-Federal interests proposing the
project provide satisfactory assurances that they will
have adequate personnel, funding, and authority to
carry out and properly maintain the project.
(E) Whether the project will encourage increased
coordination and cooperation among Federal, State, and
local government agencies.
(F) Whether the 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 for an estuary habitat restoration
(G) Whether the project includes a monitoring plan
that is consistent with standards for monitoring
developed under section 9 to ensure that short-term and
long-term restoration goals are achieved.
(H) Other factors that the Secretary determines to be
reasonable and necessary for consideration.
(2) Priority.--In selecting estuary habitat restoration
projects to be carried out under this Act, the Secretary shall
give priority consideration to a project if, in addition to
meeting the selection criteria under paragraph (1)--
(A) the project is part of an estuary management or
habitat restoration plan; or
(B) the project occurs within a watershed in which
there is a program being carried out that addresses
sources of pollution and other activities that
otherwise would re-impair the restored habitat.
(3) Excluded projects.--An estuary habitat restoration
project shall not be eligible to be carried out under this Act
if the project--
(A) constitutes mitigation required under any Federal
or State law for the adverse effects of an activity
regulated or otherwise governed by Federal or State
(B) constitutes restoration for natural resource
damages required under any Federal or State law.
(c) Cost Sharing.--
(1) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of an
estuary habitat restoration project carried out under this Act
shall not exceed 65 percent of such cost.
(2) Non-federal share.--The non-Federal share of the cost of
an estuary habitat restoration project carried out under this
Act shall include lands, easements, rights-of-way, and
relocations and may include services, or any other form of in-
kind contribution determined by the Secretary to be an
appropriate contribution equivalent to the monetary amount
required for the non-Federal share of the activity.
(d) Interim Actions.--
(1) In general.--Pending completion of the estuary habitat
restoration strategy to be developed under section 7, the
Secretary may take interim actions to carry out an estuary
habitat restoration activity.
(2) Federal share.--The Federal share of the cost of an
estuary habitat restoration activity before the completion of
the estuary habitat restoration strategy shall not exceed 25
percent of such cost.
(e) Cooperation of Non-Federal Partners.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall not select an estuary
habitat restoration project until a non-Federal interest has
entered into a written agreement with the Secretary in which
the non-Federal interest agrees to provide all lands,
easements, rights-of-way, and relocations and any other
elements the Secretary determines appropriate under subsection
(2) Nonprofit entities.--Notwithstanding section 221 of the
Flood Control Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 1962d-5b(b)), for any
project undertaken under this Act, the Secretary may, after
coordination with the appropriate State and local officials
responsible for the political jurisdiction in which a project
would occur, allow a nonprofit entity to serve as the non-
(3) Maintenance and monitoring.--A cooperation agreement
entered into under paragraph (1) shall provide for maintenance
and monitoring of the estuary habitat restoration project to
the extent the Secretary determines necessary.
(f) Delegation of Project Implementation.--In carrying out this Act,
the Secretary may delegate project implementation to another Federal
department or agency on a reimbursable basis if the Secretary
determines such delegation is appropriate.
SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION COUNCIL.
(a) Council.--There is established a council to be known as the
``Estuary Habitat Restoration Council''.
(b) Duties.--The Council shall be responsible for--
(1) reviewing project proposals forwarded to the Council from
the Regional Councils and making recommendations concerning
such proposals in accordance with section 8(c);
(2) developing a national strategy for restoration of estuary
(3) periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the national
strategy in meeting the purposes of this Act and, as necessary,
updating the national strategy.
(c) Membership.--The Council shall be composed of 13 members as
(1) The Secretary (or the Secretary's designee).
(2) The Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the
Department of Commerce (or the Under Secretary's designee).
(3) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
(or the Administrator's designee).
(4) The Secretary of the Interior, acting through the
Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (or the
(5) The Secretary of Agriculture (or the Secretary's
(6) The Secretary of Transportation (or the Secretary's
(7) One representative from each of the 7 Regional Councils,
selected by the Regional Council and appointed by the
(d) Appointment and Terms.--
(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), members
of the Council under subsection (c)(7) shall be appointed for a
term of 3 years.
(2) Initial members.--Of the members first appointed under
(A) 3 shall be appointed for a term of 1 year;
(B) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 2 years; and
(C) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 3 years.
(3) Vacancies.--Whenever a vacancy occurs among members of
the Council appointed under subsection (c)(7), the Secretary
shall appoint an individual in accordance with such subsection
to fill that vacancy for the remainder of the applicable term.
(e) Prohibition of Compensation.--Members of the Council may not
receive compensation for their service as members of the Council.
(f) Chairperson.--The chairperson shall be elected by the Council
from among its members for a 3-year term, except that the first elected
chairperson may serve a term of fewer than 3 years.
(g) Convening of Council.--
(1) First meeting.--The Secretary shall convene the first
meeting of the Council not later than 60 days after the date of
enactment of this Act for the purpose of electing a
(2) Additional meetings.--The chairperson shall convene
additional meetings of the Council as often as appropriate to
ensure that this Act is fully carried out, but not less often
(h) Council Procedures.--The Council shall establish procedures for
voting, the conduct of meetings, and other matters, as necessary.
(i) Public Participation.--Meetings of the Council shall be open to
the public. The Council shall provide notice to the pubic of such
(j) Coordinator.--The Secretary shall appoint a Coordinator who
(1) be educated and experienced in estuary protection,
restoration, and program management;
(2) be responsible, with assistance from the Secretary, for
facilitating consideration of estuary habitat restoration
projects by the Council and Regional Councils and otherwise
assisting the Council and Regional Councils in carrying out
their responsibilities under this Act; and
(3) be compensated with funds available under section 10(b).
SEC. 6. ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL COUNCILS.
(a) Regional Councils.--There are established 7 Regional Councils of
the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council. Each Regional Council shall
represent a different one of the following regions:
(1) The Gulf region.
(2) The Great Lakes region.
(3) The Middle Atlantic region.
(4) The Northeast region.
(5) The Northwest region.
(6) The Southeast region.
(7) The Southwest region.
(b) Membership.--The Governor of each State in the region represented
by the Regional Council may appoint one representative to the Regional
Council. The Regional Council also may include such other members as
the Governors shall jointly designate.
(c) Nonvoting Membership.--A Regional Council may appoint nonvoting
members of the Regional Council from relevant agencies, programs, and
(1) relevant State agencies and regional and field staff of
relevant Federal agencies; and
(2) representatives of relevant coastal and estuary programs,
such as those developed under the Coastal Zone Management
Program or the National Estuary Program.
(d) Chairperson.--A Regional Council shall select a chairperson from
among its members.
(e) Duties.--A Regional Council shall be responsible for--
(1) developing a regional strategy that is consistent with
the national strategy for the review of project proposals
within the region;
(2) establishing technical criteria for project proposals,
which are consistent with the goals and priorities of the
regional and national strategies;
(3) soliciting, evaluating, and forwarding to the Council
proposals for estuary habitat restoration projects;
(4) periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the regional
strategy toward meeting the goals and objectives of the
national strategy and recommending and implementing
(5) selecting from among the voting membership a person to
represent the Regional Council on the Council.
(f) Technical Support.--Technical support may be provided to a
Regional Council by regional and field staff of the Corps of Engineers,
the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of
Transportation. The Secretary shall coordinate the provision of such
(g) Administrative Support Services.--Upon the request of a Regional
Council, the Secretary may provide to the Regional Council the
administrative support services necessary for the Regional Council to
carry out its responsibilities under this Act.
SEC. 7. ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION STRATEGY.
(a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Council, in consultation with State and other non-Federal
entities, including nonprofit entities, as appropriate, shall develop
an estuary habitat restoration strategy designed to ensure a
comprehensive approach to maximize benefits derived from estuary
habitat restoration projects and to foster the coordination of Federal
and non-Federal activities related to restoration of estuary habitat.
(b) Integration of Estuary Habitat Restoration Plans, Programs, and
Partnerships.--In developing the estuary habitat restoration strategy,
the Council shall--
(1) conduct a review of--
(A) estuary management or habitat restoration plans;
(B) Federal programs established under other laws
that authorize funding for estuary habitat restoration
(2) develop a set of proposals to maximize the incentives for
the creation of new public-private partnerships to carry out
estuary habitat restoration projects and to use Federal
resources to encourage increased private sector involvement in
estuary habitat restoration activities; and
(3) ensure that the estuary habitat restoration strategy is
developed and will be implemented in a manner that is
consistent with the estuary management or habitat restoration
(c) Elements To Be Considered.--Consistent with the requirements of
this section, the Council in the development of the estuary habitat
restoration strategy, shall consider--
(1) the contributions of estuary habitat to--
(A) providing healthy ecosystems in order to
(i) wildlife, including endangered and
threatened species, migratory birds, and
resident species of an estuary watershed; and
(ii) fish and shellfish, including commercial
and recreational fisheries;
(B) surface and ground water quality and quantity,
and flood control;
(C) outdoor recreation and other direct and indirect
(D) other areas of concern that the Council
determines to be appropriate for consideration;
(2) the estimated historic losses, estimated current rate of
loss, and extent of the threat of future loss or degradation of
each type of estuary habitat; and
(3) the most appropriate method for selecting a balance of
smaller and larger estuary habitat restoration projects.
(d) Advice.--The Council shall seek the advice of experts in
restoration of estuary habitat to assist in the development of an
estuary habitat restoration strategy.
(e) Public Review and Comment.--Before the Council adopts a final
estuary habitat restoration strategy, the Secretary shall publish in
the Federal Register a draft of the estuary habitat restoration
strategy and provide an opportunity for public review and comment.
(f) Periodic Revision.--Using data and information developed through
project monitoring and management, and other relevant information, the
Council may periodically review and update, as necessary, the estuary
habitat restoration strategy.
SEC. 8. ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECT PROPOSALS.
(a) In General.--A proposed estuary habitat restoration project shall
originate from a non-Federal interest, including States or other non-
Federal entities, consistent with State or local laws.
(b) Review by Regional Councils.--
(1) In general.--A non-Federal interest may submit a proposed
estuary habitat restoration project to the appropriate Regional
Council for review.
(2) Technical assistance.--A Regional Council receiving a
proposal from a non-Federal interest under paragraph (1) shall
provide, as necessary, technical assistance to the non-Federal
interest to ensure that the proposal is complete.
(3) Review.--A Regional Council shall select for each fiscal
year those proposals for estuary habitat restoration projects
that the Regional Council determines are eligible to be carried
out under this Act under the factors specified in section
4(b)(1) and shall transmit such proposals to the Council for
(c) Consideration by Council.--The Council shall review the proposed
estuary habitat restoration projects transmitted to the Council by a
Regional Council under subsection (b) and, based on the factors
specified in section 4(b)(1), shall recommend to the Secretary a
priority order for carrying out such projects. The
Council'srecommendation shall include a recommendation as to whether a
project should be carried out by the Secretary or by another Federal
department or agency under section 4(f).
SEC. 9. MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE OF ESTUARY HABITAT RESTORATION
(a) Database of Restoration Project Information.--The Under Secretary
for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce, in
consultation with the Secretary, shall develop and maintain an
appropriate database of information concerning estuary habitat
restoration projects carried out under this Act, including information
on project techniques, project completion, monitoring data, and other
(b) Monitoring Data Standards.--The Under Secretary for Oceans and
Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the
Secretary, shall develop standard data formats for monitoring projects,
along with requirements for types of data collected and frequency of
(1) In general.--The Secretary, in consultation with the
Council, shall submit a report to Congress at the end of the
third and fifth fiscal years following the date of enactment of
this Act on the results of activities carried out under this
(2) Contents of report.--A report under paragraph (1) shall
(A) data on the number of acres of estuary habitat
restored under this Act, including the number of
projects approved and completed that comprise those
(B) the percentage of restored estuary habitat
monitored under a plan to ensure that short-term and
long-term restoration goals are achieved;
(C) an estimate of the long-term success of varying
restoration techniques used in carrying out estuary
habitat restoration projects;
(D) a review of how the information described in
subparagraphs (A) through (C) has been incorporated in
the selection and implementation of estuary habitat
(E) a review of efforts made to maintain an
appropriate database of restoration projects carried
out under this Act; and
(F) a review of the measures taken to provide the
information described in subparagraphs (A) through (C)
to persons with responsibility for assisting in the
restoration of estuary habitat.
SEC. 10. FUNDING.
(a) Authorization of Appropriations.--
(1) Estuary habitat restoration projects.--There is
authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for estuary
habitat restoration projects--
(A) $40,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;
(B) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2002; and
(C) $75,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003 through
Such amounts shall remain available until expended.
(2) Monitoring.--There is authorized to be appropriated to
the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department
of Commerce for the acquisition, maintenance, and management of
monitoring data on restoration projects carried out under this
Act, $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001 through 2005.
Such amounts shall remain available until expended.
(b) Set-Aside for Administrative Expenses of the Council and Regional
Councils.--Not to exceed 3 percent of the amounts appropriated for a
fiscal year under subsection (a)(1) or $2,000,000, whichever is
greater, may be used by the Secretary for administration and operation
of the Council and Regional Councils.
SEC. 11. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
(a) Estuary Habitat Restoration Mission.--The Secretary shall ensure
that restoration of estuary habitat is included as a primary mission of
the Corps of Engineers under section 306 of Water Resources Development
Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2316).
(b) Agency Consultation and Coordination.--In carrying out this Act,
the Secretary shall, as necessary, consult with, cooperate with, and
coordinate its activities with the activities of other Federal
departments and agencies.
(c) Cooperative Agreements; Memoranda of Understanding.--In carrying
out this Act, the Secretary may--
(1) enter into cooperative agreements with Federal, State,
and local government agencies and other entities; and
(2) execute such memoranda of understanding as are necessary
to reflect the agreements.
(d) Federal Agency Facilities and Personnel.--Federal agencies may
cooperate in carrying out scientific and other programs necessary to
carry out this Act, and may provide facilities and personnel, for the
purpose of assisting the Council in carrying out its duties under this
(e) Application of Federal Advisory Committee Act.--The Council and
Regional Councils shall not be considered advisory committees under the
Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
(f) Identification and Mapping of Dredged Material Disposal Sites.--
In consultation with appropriate Federal and non-Federal public
entities, the Secretary shall undertake, and update as warranted by
changed conditions, surveys to identify and map sites appropriate for
beneficial uses of dredged material for the protection, restoration,
and creation of aquatic and ecologically related habitats, including
wetlands, in order to further the purposes of this Act.
(g) Study of Bioremediation Technology.--
(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency, with the full participation of the estuarine
scientific community, shall begin a 2-year study on the
efficacy of bioremediation products.
(2) Requirements.--The study shall--
(A) evaluate and assess bioremediation technology--
(i) on low-level petroleum hydrocarbon
contamination from recreational boat bilges;
(ii) on low-level petroleum hydrocarbon
contamination from stormwater discharges;
(iii) on nonpoint petroleum hydrocarbon
(iv) as a first response tool for petroleum
hydrocarbon spills; and
(B) recommend management actions to optimize the
return of a healthy and balanced ecosystem in response
to improvements in the quality and character of
purpose and summary
On May 12, 1999, Representative Gilchrest (MD) and others
introduced H.R. 1775, the Estuary Habitat Restoration
Partnership Act of 1999, which was referred to the Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the
Committee on Resources.
The purpose of H.R. 1775 is to promote the restoration of
one million acres of estuary habitat by 2010 by further
improving partnerships among Federal, state, local, private and
non-profit interests, and by developing a national estuary
restoration strategy. The bill authorizes $315 million over
five years for the Secretary of the Army to carry out estuary
habitat restoration projects. The bill creates a National
Estuary Habitat Restoration Council (the Council), and seven
Regional Councils. The Council, with Federal and regional
representation, will develop a coordinated national estuary
restoration strategy, to be followed by the development of
regional strategies by the Regional Councils. The Council
forwards eligible estuary habitat restoration projects, as
determined by the Regional Councils, and makes priority
recommendations to the Secretary of the Army for
implementation. The bill also authorizes an additional $10
million over five years for the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop and create
monitoring information on restoration of estuaries.
background and need for legislation
Overview of estuaries and coastal areas
Estuaries are partially enclosed water bodies where
freshwater from land drainage through rivers or streams flows
into an open sea or the ocean. Estuaries are also called
inlets, bays, harbors, or sounds, and their habitats include
shallow open waters, fresh and saltwater marshes, beaches,
tidal pools, and wooded swamps, among others. In recent years,
Congress, NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
have recognized that the Great Lakes include areas with
habitats and characteristics similar to saltwater estuaries.
Estuaries and their surrounding coastal areas provide some
of the most diverse and ecologically and economically
productive habitat in the country. Many wildlife populations,
such as migratory birds, commercially valuable fish species,
shellfish and other species depend on estuarine environments.
Estuaries also support important commercial activities, provide
the primary water supply for many areas, and perform many other
essential ecological and economic functions for the U.S. For
example, estuaries provide habitat for more than 75 percent of
America's commercial fish catch at some point during their life
cycle, and fisheries dependent on coastal waters were worth
more than $1.9 billion in 1990 (excluding Alaska). Coastal
industries, including fishing, boating and tourism, provide
more than 28 million jobs, and coastal recreation and tourism
generate approximately $8 to $12 billion annually. More than 70
percent of Americans visit the coast every year. In addition,
more than 110 million people currently live in coastal regions,
and this number is expected to reach 127 million by 2010.
Increasing population growth and development have imposed
significant stress on our estuaries. Competing and increasing
demands on estuaries have led to water quality problems arising
from increased nonpoint source pollution from stormwater and
agricultural runoff, wastewater discharges, industrial
pollution, and commercial and recreational waste. The nation's
estuaries must overcome increasing eutrophication from over-
enrichment of nutrients, contamination from toxic substances
and pathogens, loss of habitat, declines in fish and wildlife
populations, and intrusion by non-native species. The 1996
National Water Quality Inventory reported that almost 40
percent of the surveyed estuaries are impaired (i.e. not fully
meeting one or more designated uses).
Current efforts to restore and maintain estuaries
Among the various federal, state, local and private efforts
that support habitat restoration, several focus specifically on
estuaries, including the National Estuary Program (NEP).
In 1987, Congress authorized the creation of the NEP to
promote comprehensive planning for long-term protection of our
estuaries through collaborative voluntary efforts of federal,
state, local, non-profit and private interests. Stakeholders
involved include local governments, federal officials, private
and non-profit interests, industrial, recreational or other
user groups, and academic or scientific experts. The goal is
for the stakeholders, as equal partners, to develop and
implement long-term management plans, called Comprehensive
Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs), with technical
assistance and grants provided by EPA.
Of the roughly 130 estuaries in the U.S., 28 have been
incorporated into the NEP. Of these 28, 21 have begun
implementation, and seven are still in the development stage.
An estimated $50 billion will be needed to implement all 28
CCMPs. Although authorization for the NEP expired in FY 1991,
Congress has continued to appropriate funds (approximately $225
million to date). Additional Clean Water Act funding is
available for implementation of CCMPs through the Clean Water
State Revolving Fund loans, non-point source grants under
Section 319, and state water program grants under Section
discussion of committee bill and section-by-section analysis
Section 1. Short title
This bill may be cited as the ``Estuary Restoration Act of
Section 2. Purposes
This section establishes the purposes of the Act which are:
to promote the restoration of one million acres of estuary
habitat by 2010, as well as the restoration of fresh water
estuary habitat; to develop strategies to obtain national and
regionalobjectives for restoring estuary habitat; to foster
coordination of Federal, state, and community estuary habitat
restoration efforts; to establish restoration partnerships among public
agencies at all levels of government and between the public and private
sectors; to promote more efficient financing of restoration activities;
and, to develop and enhance monitoring and research capabilities to
ensure that restoration efforts are based on sound scientific
Section 3. Definitions
This section defines the following key terms in the bill:
Council, degraded estuary habitat, estuary, estuary habitat,
estuary habitat restoration activity, estuary habitat
restoration project, estuary habitat restoration strategy,
estuary management or habitat restoration plan, fresh water
estuary, Great Lakes region, Gulf region, Middle Atlantic
region, Northeast region, Northwest region, Regional Council,
Secretary, Southeast region, Southwest region, and State.
In order to increase the geographic scope and types of
projects eligible to be implemented, an amendment in the nature
of a substitute was adopted by the Subcommittee on Water
Resources and Environment that made definitional changes to the
introduced bill. The definition of estuary now includes fresh
water estuaries, and the Great Lakes region was added, thereby
allowing Great Lakes estuary restoration projects to be
implemented. In addition, the U.S. Territories and the District
of Columbia were added to the appropriate regions.
Section 4. Estuary Habitat Restoration Program
This is a new section from the introduced bill that was
added to modify and clarify the process by which estuary
habitat restoration projects are selected and implemented. The
introduced bill required the seven Regional Councils to forward
eligible projects to the Council, where the Council would
select and provide financial assistance to projects. The bill
as reported out of Committee, however, modified this decision-
making process in order to address a constitutional issue
regarding the Appointments Clause, and to further clarify how
projects are reviewed, recommended, selected and implemented.
In the introduced bill, the Council, composed of Federal
and non-federal members, had significant decision-making and
voting authority regarding determining eligibility for funds,
and thus may have violated the Appointments Clause. The non-
federal Council members were to be appointed by the Secretary
of the Army, who is not a ``head of a department'' (in contrast
to the Secretary of Defense), and the Executive's appointment
authority may have been unduly restricted as the selection of
the non-federal members was limited to representatives from the
Regional Councils only.
To address the Appointments Clause issue and to clarify the
decision-making process, this section was included to provide
the Secretary of the Army with the authority to select and
carry out estuary habitat restoration projects. However,
language is included to ensure the Secretary not only consults
with the Council, but also takes into account the Council's
recommendations for the priority order of selecting and
implementing projects, as well as if the project should be
delegated to another agency for implementation.
The Secretary of the Army is directed to take into account
other recommended factors, as well, when selecting projects,
including if the project: meets criteria specified in the
national estuary habitat restoration strategy developed by the
Council; has technical merit and is feasible; increases
coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and local
government agencies, as well as fosters public-private
partnerships; and, includes a monitoring plan that will help
achieve restoration goals. Additional factors for consideration
are if the non-federal interests proposing the project will
have the resources and authority needed to carry out and
maintain the project, and any other factors that the Secretary
determines are reasonable and necessary.
To promote improved coordination of estuary habitat
restoration and efficiency of financing projects, the Secretary
of the Army is directed to give higher priority to those
projects that are already part of an existing estuary
management or habitat restoration plan, or to projects in
watersheds in which programs are being carried out to address
sources of pollution or other activities that may re-impair the
restored habitat. Finally, the Secretary may not select a
project if it constitutes mitigation required under any federal
or state law for the adverse effects of an activity regulated
or otherwise governed by federal or state law, or restoration
for natural resource damages required under any federal or
state law. The Secretary has authority to take interim actions
to implement projects, pending completion of the national
estuary habitat restoration strategy.
This section also establishes the cost-sharing required for
each project. The non-federal share of a project must include
necessary lands, easements, rights-of-way and relocations, and
may include services or any other form of in-kind contribution
that the Secretary determines to be an appropriate contribution
equal to the monetary amount required for the non-federal
share. A non-profit entity may serve as the non-federal
interest for a project.
Section 5. Establishment of Estuary Habitat Restoration Council
This section establishes the national Estuary Habitat
Restoration Council. The Council's purpose is to review project
proposals forwarded by the Regional Councils and make
recommendations on projects and priorities to the Secretary,
and to develop, periodically review, and update as necessary a
national strategy to restore estuary habitat. The Council has
13 members including the Secretaries of the Army, the Interior
(acting through the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service),
Agriculture, Transportation, the Department of Commerce's
Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, the Administrator of
the EPA, and one representative from each of the seven Regional
This section also delineates the Council members'
appointment and terms of service, specifies how to handle
vacancies, prohibits members from receiving compensation,
establishes a chairperson, authorizes the Council to convene
and establish operating procedures, and requires Council
meetings to be open to the public.
Section 6. Establishment of regional councils
This section establishes seven Regional Councils under the
National Council. The Regional Councils are to represent the
Gulf, Great Lakes, Middle Atlantic, Northeast, Northwest,
Southeast, and Southwest regions of the United States.
The Regional Councils' primary duties are to develop,
review, and update as necessary, regional estuary habitat
restoration strategies consistent with the national strategy
developed by the Council, and to solicit, evaluate and forward
eligible projects to the Council.
Section 7. Estuary habitat restoration strategy
This section directs the Council, in consultation with
state and other non-federal entities, to develop an estuary
habitat restoration strategy that will serve as the national
framework for restoring estuaries. The strategy is intended to
help maximize the benefits derived from estuary habitat
restoration projects selected for implementation, and to foster
coordination of federal and non-federal efforts to restore
Section 8. Estuary habitat restoration project proposals
This section incorporates Subcommittee changes that clarify
the process by which projects are developed, reviewed, and
forwarded to the Secretary of the Army for selection.
Specifically, a project proposal must originate from a non-
federal interest, such as a state or other non-federal entity,
and be submitted to the appropriate Regional Council for
review. The Regional Councils will review projects and forward
those that are eligible to receive assistance (based on the
factors the Secretary uses to select projects) to the Council
for further review. The Regional Councils are also directed to
provide technical assistance to non-Federal interests that
The Council reviews projects forwarded by the Regional
Councils and recommends a priority order for selection to the
Secretary. The Council also should include recommendations as
to whether the Secretary or another federal agency should carry
out a project.
Section 9. Monitoring and maintenance of estuary habitat restoration
This section directs the Undersecretary for Oceans and
Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce, in consultation with
the Secretary of the Army, to develop and maintain a database
with information on estuary habitat restoration projects
carried out under this bill. The Undersecretary also will
develop monitoring standards for data types and format, as well
as for monitoring frequency.
The Secretary of the Army is also directed to work with the
Council and submit reports to Congress on the results of
activities carried out under this bill.
Section 10. Funding
This section authorizes $315 million total over five years
for the Secretary of the Army to carry out estuary habitat
restoration projects, or $40 million for fiscal year 2001, $50
million for fiscal year 2002, and $75 million a year for fiscal
years 2003 through 2005. Of the annual authorizations, the
Secretary may use no more than 3 percent, or $2 million,
whichever is greater, for administration and operation of the
Council and Regional Councils.
This section also authorizes $10 million total through
fiscal years 2001 through 2005, or $2 million a year, for NOAA
to acquire, maintain, and manage monitoring data on projects
implemented under this bill.
Section 11. General provisions
This section directs the Secretary of the Army: to ensure
that restoration of estuary habitat is included as part of its
environmental protection mission as directed in section 306 of
the Water Resources Development Act of 1990: to consult,
cooperate, and coordinate with other federal agencies in
carrying out this legislation; and, to enter into cooperative
agreements and memoranda of understanding with other federal,
state, and local agencies, as necessary, to implement this
bill. It also authorizes federal agencies to provide facilities
and personnel to the Council, and clarifies that the Federal
Advisory Committee Act does not apply to any councils
established by this bill.
This section also includes language adopted at the full
Committee markup that requires the Secretary of the Army to
undertake surveys to identify and map sites appropriate for
beneficial uses of dredged material for habitat restoration,
and language that requires the EPA Administrator to conduct a
study on bioremediation in the cleanup of oil spills in
The Committee is concerned that bioremediation technology,
particularly that which has the combined characteristics of a
biodegradable, buoyant absorbent as well as a bioremediant, has
received minimal support in the federal research effort for
combating oil spills and hydrocarbon discharges from marine
vessels and non-point sources. Consequently, little federal
data are available to support informed decisions on the
application of this relatively inexpensive but valuable
technology in combating hydrocarbon releases into our nation's
The Administrator shall consider for this study those
products that are listed on EPA's National Contingency Plan
(NCP) Product Schedule under the Bioremediation Agents category
that have already completed the required testing for the NCP
Through directing this study, the Committee is hopeful that
the federal agencies can develop the data necessary to make
appropriate decisions in this important arena as well as
develop policies that support informed stewardship of the
environment via the use of bioremediation technology.
On July 13, 1999, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and
Environment held a hearing on ``Estuaries and Coastal Water
Quality Legislation,'' which included H.R. 1775, and several
other coastal and estuary bills. The hearing included testimony
from Members of Congress, including Representative Saxton (NJ),
Representative Shays (CT), Representative Lowey (NY),
Representative DeLauro (CT), Representative Lazio (NY),
Representative Ackerman (NY), Representative Deutsch (FL),
Representative Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Representative Johnson (CT),
Representative Shaw (FL), and Representative Forbes (NY).
Testimony was heard from federal agencies, including Mr.
Michael Davis of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ms. Dana
Minerva of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Ms.
Sally Yozell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. Testimony was also heard from several non-
profit organizations, including Restore America's Estuaries,
The Nature Conservancy, Coast Alliance and Coastal States
On November 8, 1999, the Subcommittee on Water Resources
and Environment adopted an amendment in the nature of a
substitute offered by Representative Boehlert, and favorably
reported the amended bill by voice vote. The amendment amended
Title I to authorize the Secretary of the Army, in consultation
with the Council, to select and carry out habitat restoration
projects (or delegate authority to other federal agencies to
carry out projects), with a 35 percent local cost share. The
amendment clarified the roles of the national and regional
councils in reviewing and recommending estuary habitat
restoration projects. The amendment expanded the scope of the
bill to include the Great Lakes and U.S. Territories. The
amendment deleted Title II of the bill that reauthorized the
Chesapeake Bay Program, because of the Committee's intent to
address the reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Program
through additional legislation.
On March 16, 2000, the Committee adopted an en bloc
amendment, and ordered the bill reported to the House by voice
vote. The en bloc amendment made technical and clarifying
changes, required the Secretary of the Army to undertake
surveys to identify and map sites appropriate for beneficial
uses of dredged material for habitat restoration, and required
the EPA Administrator to conduct a study on bioremediation in
the cleanup of oil spills in estuaries.
Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the House of Representatives
requires each committee report to include the total number of
votes cast for and against on each rollcall vote on a motion to
report and on any amendment offered to the measure or matter,
and the names of those members voting for and against. There
were no recorded votes taken in connection with ordering H.R.
Committee Oversight Findings
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are
reflected in this report.
Cost of Legislation
Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is
included in this report.
Compliance with House Rule XIII
1. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(2) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee
references the report of the Congressional Budget Office
2. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 1775.
3. With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R.
1775 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, March 27, 2000.
Hon. Bud Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of
Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1775, the Estuary
Restoration Act of 2000.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan
Barry B. Anderson
(For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
congressional budget office cost estimate
H.R. 1775--Estuary Restoration Act of 2000
Summary: H.R. 1775 would establish the Estuary Habitat
Restoration Council, consisting of representatives from
multiple federal agencies, that would develop a strategy for
restoring estuary habitats and provide financial assistance to
nonfederal entities for restoration projects. The bill would
authorize the appropriation of $315 million over the 2001-2005
period to the Corps of Engineers (Corps) for that purpose. In
addition, the bill would authorize the appropriation of $10
million over the five-year period to the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to collection information to
monitor the effectiveness of estuary restoration projects.
Assuming appropriation of the specified amounts, CBO estimates
that implementing the new program would increase federal
spending by $235 million over the 2001-2005 period. In
addition, CBO estimates that directing the Environmental
Protection Agency to conduct a study on bioremediation
technology would cost $1 million, assuming appropriation of the
necessary amount. The bill would not affect direct spending or
receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
H.R. 1775 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
Any expenditures made by state and local governments to satisfy
the matching requirements of grants authorized by this bill
would be voluntary.
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates
that implementing the bill would result in additional outlays
of $236 million over the 2001-2005 period, assuming
appropriation of the amounts authorized for each year. No
amounts were provided to the Corps or to NOAA in 2000 for
funding or monitoring estuary restoration projects. The pattern
of spending under this bill was estimated based onhistorical
spending patterns for similar activities. The estimated budgetary
impact of H.R. 1775 is shown in the following table. The costs of this
legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural resources and
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level............................. 0 43 52 77 77 77
Estimated Outlays......................................... 0 8 22 52 72 82
Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: This bill
would impose no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA. Any expenditures made by state and local
governments to satisfy the matching requirements of grants
authorized by this bill would be voluntary.
Previous CBO estimate: On October 13, 1999, CBO transmitted
a cost estimate for S. 835, the Estuary Habitat Restoration
Partnership Act of 1999, as ordered reported by the Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works on September 29,
1999. In addition to authorizing a program for restoring
estuary habitats that is similar to the program authorized
under this legislation, S. 835 would reauthorize the Chesapeake
Bay program for five years. Differences in the two estimates
reflect the cost of implementing that additional provision of
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Megan Carroll and
Susanne S. Mehlman; Impact on State, Local, and Tribal
Governments: Shelley Finlayson; Impact on the Private Sector:
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
constitutional authority statement
Pursuant to clause (3)(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, committee reports on a bill or
joint resolution of a public character shall include a
statement citing the specific powers granted to the Congress in
the Constitution to enact the measure. The Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure finds that Congress has the
authority to enact this measure pursuant to its powers granted
under article I, section 8 of the Constitution.
federal mandates statement
The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act. (Public Law 104-4.)
advisory committee statement
No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b)
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this
applicability to the legislative branch
The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public
services or accommodations within the meaning of section
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act. (Public Law