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Calendar No. 908
106th Congress Report
2d Session 106-461
CAHABA RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ESTABLISHMENT ACT
October 2 (legislative day, September 22), 2000.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, from the Committee on Environment and
Public Works, submitted the following
R E P O R T
to accompany H.R. 4286]
The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was
referred a bill to provide for the establishment of the Cahaba
River National Wildlife Refuge in Bibb County, Alabama, having
considered the same, reports favorably thereon and recommends
that the bill do pass.
Background and Need for Legislation
On March 14, 1903, by Executive Order, President Theodore
Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on
Pelican Island. Pelican Island is a small island in Florida's
Indian River; the refuge was established specifically to
protect the brown pelican. At the turn of the century, brown
pelicans were being hunted for their feathers for hats and
quills, causing a significant decline in the population.
Today, the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System)
has evolved into the most comprehensive system of lands devoted
to wildlife protection and management in the world. Currently,
there are 526 refuges in the United States and its territories,
providing important habitat for 700 bird species, 220 mammal
species, 250 species of amphibians and reptiles, and over 200
fish species. The refuges range in size from less than one acre
at the Mille Lac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, to 19.2
million in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Each
year, the Refuge System attracts more than 34 million visitors
who participate in a variety of recreational activities
including observing and photographing wildlife, fishing,
hunting and taking part in system-sponsored educational
The operation and management of the Refuge System is
governed by numerous laws, treaties and executive orders
pertaining to the conservation and protection of natural and
cultural resources. The most important orders and laws
affecting the Refuge System are the Fish and Wildlife Act of
1956, the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962, the National Wildlife
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, the Endangered
Species Act of 1973, and the National Wildlife Refuge System
Improvement Act of 1997. The management of individual refuges
is determined by the legislation, executive order or
legislative action that creates the refuge.
H.R. 4286 would authorize the establishment of an
approximately 3,500 acres National Wildlife Refuge along a 3.5
mile stretch of the Cahaba River in Bibb County, Alabama. The
Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama and
one of the most biologically rich. One of the reasons that this
area is unique is its evolutionary history. During the
Pleistocene era, ice sheets did not advance into this area,
enabling a variety of organisms to evolve into new species.
Today, the Cahaba River basin supports a significant amount
of diverse habitat and wildlife including 69 rare and imperiled
species. The Cahaba River is also home to 131 species of fish;
more than any other river in North America. The river basin
also supports a considerable amount of botanical life,
including the largest known population of shoals lily (locally
known as the Cahoba Lily) in the world.
Although the bill authorizes such sums as are necessary for
the purchase of the refuge land, the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service has indicated that the estimated cost is $4.2
Regulatory Impact Statement
In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact of the reported bill. The
reported bill will have no regulatory impact. This bill will
not have any adverse impact on the personal privacy of
In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that H.R. 4286 would
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State,
local, or tribal governments. All of the bills directives are
imposed on Federal agencies. The bill does not directly impose
any private sector mandates.
On July 11, 2000, H.R. 4286 was referred to the Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works. No hearings were
held on this bill. The Committee on Environment and Public
Works held a business meeting to consider this bill on
September 21; the business meeting was continued on September
28, 2000. On September 28, 2000, H.R. 4286 was favorably
reported by the committee on a voice vote.
Cost of Legislation
Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be
included in the report. That statement follows:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, September 29, 2000.
Hon. Robert C. Smith, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has prepared
the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4286, the Cahaba River
National Wildlife Refuge Establishment Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis,
who can be reached at 226-2860.
Dan L. Crippen.
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
H.R. 4286, Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Establishment Act, as
ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and
Public Works on September 28, 2000
H.R. 4286 would establish the Cahaba River National
Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, effective on the date that the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determines that it has
acquired enough land within the proposed refuge boundary to be
managed efficiently. The Act would authorize the agency to
acquire land, water, and related interests within the proposed
3,500-acre refuge. In addition to managing this acreage, the
agency would restore native species and habitat and provide
opportunities for recreational uses such as hunting and
fishing. For the purposes of acquiring, developing, and
operating the refuge the Act would authorize the appropriation
of whatever sums are necessary.
Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, and based
on information provided by the USFWS, CBO estimates that it
would cost about $7 million over the next 3 or 4 years to
acquire and restore all of the acreage for the new refuge.
After the refuge has been established, we estimate that the
agency would spend about $600,000 annually to operate it and to
make payments to local governments under the Refuge Revenue
Sharing Act, assuming availability of the necessary amounts.
H.R. 4286 would not affect direct spending or receipts,
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. The
legislation contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would have no significant impact on the budgets of state,
local, or tribal governments.
On July 6, 2000, CBO submitted a cost estimate for H.R.
4286, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources
on June 28, 2000. The two versions of the legislation are
identical, as are the CBO cost estimates.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis,
who can be reached at 226-2860.
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Changes in Existing Law
Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the
Senate, provides that reports to the Senate should show changes
in existing law made by the bill as reported. Passage of this
bill will make no changes to existing law.