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Text of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Act

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on December 11, 1991. The text of the bill below is as of Dec 11, 1991 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).

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H.R.794

One Hundred Second Congress of the United States of America

AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday, the third day of January,

one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one

An Act

To establish the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge along the

Connecticut River, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

TITLE I--SILVIO O. CONTE NATIONAL FISH AND WILDLIFE REFUGE ACT

SECTION 101. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the ‘Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Act’.

SEC. 102. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds and declares the following:

      (1) The late Silvio Conte was a long-time champion of the preservation of natural resources, including the Connecticut River, shepherding through Congress legislation meant to restore the river and its wildlife to health.

      (2) The Connecticut River and its riparian lands are unique environmental resources which provide habitat for significant anadromous, migratory, and resident fish; migratory waterfowl; and other wildlife species, including such threatened or endangered species as the shortnosed sturgeon and bald eagle.

      (3) Federal, State, and local governments have spent over $600,000,000 to clean up the Connecticut River and improve the quality of its fish and wildlife habitat, resulting in the reestablishment or improvement of the populations of many species such as the Atlantic salmon, American shad, bald eagle, and peregrine falcon.

      (4) The Connecticut River valley is home to over two million people, and accordingly the river and riparian lands are of great value for environmental education and natural resource based recreation.

      (5) The Connecticut River valley is threatened with spoilation, removal from public access, and ecological downgrading and is a significant source of energy and means of commerce for New England.

      (6) Despoiling the Connecticut River and its riparian lands will result in the permanent loss of unique social, educational, and environmental assets and will devalue the significant Federal, State and local investments made to clean up the river.

SEC. 103. DEFINITIONS.

    For the purposes of this Act--

      (1) the term ‘affected States’ means the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut;

      (2) the term ‘refuge’ means the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge established under section 106 of this Act;

      (3) the term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and

      (4) the term ‘selection area’ means the lands and waters of the Connecticut River basin, including the main stem of the river and its tributaries from its source at Fourth Connecticut Lake to Long Island Sound.

SEC. 104. PURPOSES.

    The purposes for which the refuge is established are--

      (1) to conserve, protect, and enhance the Connecticut River valley populations of Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, shortnosed sturgeon, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, black ducks, and other native species of plants, fish, and wildlife;

      (2) to conserve, protect, and enhance the natural diversity and abundance of plant, fish, and wildlife species and the ecosystems upon which these species depend within the refuge;

      (3) to protect species listed as endangered or threatened, or identified as candidates for listing, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);

      (4) to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of wetlands and other waters within the refuge;

      (5) to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States relating to fish and wildlife and wetlands; and

      (6) to provide opportunities for scientific research, environmental education, and fish and wildlife-oriented recreation and access to the extent compatible with the other purposes stated in this section.

SEC. 105. SELECTION OF LANDS.

    Within three years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall--

      (1) consult with appropriate State and local officials, including those representing State government natural heritage inventory agencies, the Long Island Sound Management Conference as established under the National Estuary Program, private conservation organizations, and other interested parties in designating the refuge boundaries;

      (2) define and designate the refuge boundaries, including all subunits, within the selection area that would fulfill the purposes set forth in section 104 of this Act; and

      (3) prepare a detailed map depicting the refuge boundaries designated under paragraph (2), which the Secretary shall keep on file and available for public inspection at offices of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and publish notice in the Federal Register of such availability.

SEC. 106. ACQUISITION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF REFUGE.

    (a) ACQUISITION- To the extent authorized under the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742f-a-5), the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460k-4-11), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715-715s), the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986, as amended (16 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.), the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 4401-4413), and other existing laws, the Secretary may acquire for inclusion in the refuge by purchase or donation such lands and waters or interests therein (including permanent conservation easements) within the boundaries defined and designated under section 105 of this Act. All lands, waters, and interests therein so acquired shall be part of the refuge.

    (b) ESTABLISHMENT- When sufficient property within the boundaries defined and designated under section 105 of this Act have been acquired to constitute an area that can be effectively managed as a refuge, the Secretary shall establish the refuge, to be named the ‘Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge’, by publishing a notice to that effect in the Federal Register and publications of local circulation.

    (c) BOUNDARY REVISIONS- The Secretary may make such minor revisions in the boundaries of the refuge defined and designated under section 105 of this Act as may be appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Act or to facilitate the acquisition of property within the refuge.

    (d) INTERIM REPORT TO CONGRESS- Within one year of the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works in the United States Senate and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the United States House of Representatives a report describing those lands and waters that the Secretary proposes to acquire under the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742f-a-5), the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460k-4-11), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715-715s), the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986, as amended (16 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.), the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 4401-4413), and other existing laws for inclusion in the refuge at a subsequent time. The Secretary also shall include in the report an estimate of the total number of acres of lands or waters or interests therein that may be acquired for inclusion within the refuge boundaries under the authority of this Act and other existing laws and the approximate cost of such acquisition.

SEC. 107. ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall administer all lands, waters, and interests therein acquired under section 106 pursuant to--

      (1) the provisions of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) and the Refuge Recreation Act (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4); and

      (2) the purposes for which the refuge is established, as set forth in section 104 of this Act.

    (b) OUTREACH AND EDUCATION- The Secretary shall work with, provide technical assistance to, provide community outreach and education programs for or with, or enter into cooperative agreements with private landowners, State and local governments or agencies, and conservation organizations to further the purposes for which the refuge is established, as set forth in section 104 of this Act.

    (c) USE OF OTHER AUTHORITY- The Secretary may utilize such other statutory authority as may be available to the Secretary for the conservation and development of wildlife and natural resources, the development of outdoor recreation opportunities, and interpretive education, as the Secretary considers appropriate to carry out the purposes of the refuge as set forth in section 104 of this Act.

SEC. 108. SILVIO CONTE NATIONAL FISH AND WILDLIFE REFUGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS- Within three months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a committee to be known as the ‘Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Advisory Committee’ (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Advisory Committee’) which shall assist the Secretary on community outreach and education programs that further the purposes of the refuge.

    (b) MEMBERSHIP; TERMS- The Advisory Committee shall be composed of fifteen members, each appointed by the Secretary within three months of the date of enactment of this Act for a term not to exceed three years, as follows:

      (1) four members, including one from each of the affected States, to be recommended by the Governor of each State as representing the cities or towns bordering the Connecticut River and its tributaries;

      (2) four members, including one from each of the affected States, to be recommended by the Governor of each State as representing State agencies with responsibility for conservation or water quality programs;

      (3) four members, including one from each of the affected States to be appointed from recommendations made by the Governor of that affected State, who shall represent nonprofit conservation organizations or citizen groups with direct interest in the purposes of the refuge;

      (4) one member of the Long Island Sound Management Conference; and

      (5) two members to be designated by the Secretary, including one who represents the energy and commerce interests associated with the Connecticut River.

    (c) CHAIRMAN- The Advisory Committee shall elect one member of the Advisory Committee to be its chairman.

    (d) VACANCIES- Any vacancy in the Advisory Committee shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

    (e) COMPENSATION- A member of the Advisory Committee shall not receive any compensation for service on the committee.

    (f) MAJORITY VOTE- The Advisory Committee shall act by affirmative vote of a majority of the members thereof.

SEC. 109. INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION CENTER.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary is authorized to construct, administer, and maintain at appropriate sites within the refuge, or pursuant to subsection (b) cooperate in the construction, operation and maintenance at an appropriate site, not more than four aquatic resources and wildlife interpretation and education centers, known as Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Education Centers, along with administrative facilities, to provide opportunities for the study, understanding, and enjoyment of aquatic resources and wildlife in its natural habitats.

    (b) COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS- The Secretary is authorized--

      (1) to enter agreements to share the construction and operation of and the land acquisition for the center, including the costs thereof, with State and local governments and other public and private entities;

      (2) to utilize appropriated or donated funds for construction, operation and maintenance expenses: Provided, That Federal interests arising from such expenditures are protected by a long-term lease, agreement, or transfer of property interest; and

      (3) to interpret the Connecticut River’s aquatic and wildlife resources in the context of the region’s cultural, geological, and ecological history.

SEC. 110. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

TITLE II--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT AND TERMS OF SILVIO O. CONTE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND.

    (a) IN GENERAL- In recognition of Silvio O. Conte’s longstanding contribution and devotion to the conservation of our Nation’s natural resources, and his life-long commitment to education, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, hereinafter referred to as the Director, is authorized to enter into an agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, hereinafter referred to as the Foundation, and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, hereinafter referred to as the University, to establish the Silvio O. Conte Memorial Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the agreement is to encourage students to enter the fields of fisheries and wildlife ecology and conservation, natural resources policy and administration, or ecology by establishing a scholarship fund at the University.

    (b) TERMS OF AGREEMENT- Notwithstanding the provisions of the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreements Act of 1977 (31 U.S.C. 6301-6308), the agreement authorized under subsection (a) of this section shall direct that the University shall--

      (1) establish the Silvio O. Conte Memorial Scholarship Fund for the purpose of awarding scholarships for a period not exceeding three years to eligible candidates in advanced degree programs in the fields of fisheries and wildlife ecology and conservation, natural resources policy and administration, or ecology;

      (2) invest funds provided by the Director, the Foundation and any other contributors in interest-bearing accounts;

      (3) award scholarships annually utilizing the interest generated from such investment accounts minus the amount equal to inflation;

      (4) match the scholarship awards with in-kind contributions of equal value, such as waivers of tuition or fees or the provision of other financial aid;

      (5) establish eligibility criteria based upon financial needs, academic achievement, and potential contribution of the profession;

      (6) announce the availability of the scholarship in a manner which ensures that it is widely distributed and that minority and socially-disadvantaged candidates are made aware of the opportunity;

      (7) upon request by the Director, make available the investment accounts for his inspection; and

      (8) prepare and provide to the Director annually a report regarding the expenditures from the investment accounts which shall include the number of scholarships awarded, the amount of each scholarship, and the share of each scholarship provided by the University.

    (c) AUTHORIZATION- The Director is authorized to make a one-time contribution of up to $50,000 to the University to establish the Silvio O. Conte Memorial Scholarship Fund.

    (d) TERMINATION OF AGREEMENT- At such time as the parties agree to terminate the agreement authorized under subsection (a) of this section, the principle and interest in the account shall be deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.

SEC. 202. WILDLIFE INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION CENTER.

    Title II of Public Law 100-610 is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘SEC. 208. WILDLIFE INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION CENTER.

    ‘(a) The Secretary is authorized to construct, administer, and maintain at an appropriate site, a wildlife interpretation and education or visitor center.

    ‘(b) The Secretary is authorized--

      ‘(1) to enter agreements to share the construction and operation of and the land acquisition for the center, including the costs thereof, with State and local governments and other public and private entities;

      ‘(2) to utilize appropriated or donated funds for construction, operation and maintenance expenses, provided that Federal interests arising from such expenditures are protected by a long-term lease, agreement, or transfer of property interest; and

      ‘(3) to interpret the Pettaquamscutt Cove region’s aquatic and wildlife resources in the context of the region’s cultural, geological, and ecological history.’.

TITLE III--CULEBRA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

SEC. 301. HEADQUARTERS FACILITY FOR CULEBRA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

    The headquarters facility and residence for the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge may be constructed on lands leased from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on a long-term basis.

SEC. 302. COST-SHARING FOR STATE COASTAL WETLANDS GRANTS.

    (a) FEDERAL SHARE- Section 305(d)(1) of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 3954(d)(1)) is amended by striking ‘has established a trust fund, from which the principal is not spent, for the purpose of acquiring coastal wetlands, other natural area or open spaces.’ and inserting in lieu thereof: ‘has established and is using one of the following for the purpose of acquiring coastal wetlands, other natural areas or open spaces:

      ‘(A) a trust fund from which the principal is not spent; or

      ‘(B) a fund derived from a dedicated recurring source of monies including, but not limited to, real estate transfer fees or taxes, cigarette taxes, tax check-offs, or motor vehicle license plate fees.’.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE- This section shall apply to grants awarded in fiscal year 1992 and each fiscal year thereafter.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.