H.R. 4408 (103rd): Russian River Fisheries and Riverbed Restoration Act

103rd Congress, 1993–1994. Text as of May 12, 1994 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

HR 4408 IH

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4408

To protect and restore the anadromous fish habitat in the Russian River of Northern California and its tributaries, and to provide for a pilot project to test and demonstrate the benefits of main stem river channel restoration.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MAY 12, 1994

Mr. HAMBURG (for himself and Ms. WOOLSEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and Public Works and Transportation


A BILL

To protect and restore the anadromous fish habitat in the Russian River of Northern California and its tributaries, and to provide for a pilot project to test and demonstrate the benefits of main stem river channel restoration.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Russian River Fisheries and Riverbed Restoration Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) California’s Russian River and its tributaries contain anadromous fish resources that are an important component of the local, regional, and State commercial and sport recreational fisheries. The commercial and recreational harvest of Russian River salmon and steelhead has historically made an important contribution to local economies.

      (2) The Russian River supported one of the most productive steelhead fisheries in North America as recently as 1940.

      (3) In the recent past, the Russian River supported an abundant population of coho salmon and still contains a remnant population of this species, which has been proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

      (4) The Russian River provides numerous other beneficial uses to the many people who inhabit its basin. The River is a source of drinking and irrigation water, a popular destination for recreational water sports enthusiasts, the soil source for prime agricultural bottom lands, the primary local source of aggregate resources, and the source of hydroelectric power generated by 2 major dams.

      (5) Development of the Russian River for beneficial uses has resulted in the degradation of the river system’s riparian areas, streambed, water quality and stream flows. The net result of construction and operation of dams and agricultural water diversions, water conveyance from the Eel River, past gravel mining, timber harvest practices, road building activities, and residential and agricultural development of flood plains has been a substantial degradation of fish habitat in the River. These environmental alterations have caused a major decline in salmon and steelhead fish populations in the River, and have also had a negative impact on several other beneficial uses.

      (6) The Federal Government, through the construction of Coyote Dam in Mendocino County and Warm Springs Dam in Sonoma County and the Russian River Flood Control Project, is substantially responsible for the loss and degradation of fish habitat in the River.

      (7) Overlapping Federal, State, and local jurisdictions have historically hampered fishery conservation efforts and prevented the Federal Government and the State of California from fulfilling their responsibilities to protect the River’s anadromous fishery resources.

      (8) The California Department of Fish and Game has authority under State law to direct the restoration of the State’s anadromous fishery resources in accordance with comprehensive river basin anadromous fisheries restoration plans. The department is in the process of developing a basin plan for the Russian River.

      (9) The California State Coastal Conservancy is in the process of producing a resource enhancement and restoration plan for the main stem of the Russian River.

SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are the following:

      (1) To protect and restore the River’s anadromous fish habitat for the purpose of optimizing production of salmon and steelhead.

      (2) To foster cooperation between Federal, State, and local agencies in protecting, restoring, and enhancing the River’s anadromous fishery resources.

      (3) To construct a pilot project for the purpose of testing and demonstrating the benefits of large scale main stem river channel restoration and stream corridor management.

      (4) To review the operation of Federal dam and flood control projects and assess the environmental impacts of their operation on the River.

      (5) To provide matching funds, if necessary, for the development of the Program Plan, and to provide funds to begin implementation of the Program Plan and for monitoring and evaluating implementation of the program.

SEC. 4. PILOT PROJECT TO REESTABLISH RIVER CHANNEL AND FLOODWAY; FISH HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECTS.

    (a) RIVER CHANNEL AND FLOODWAY PROJECT- The Administrator shall conduct 1 or more pilot projects on the main channel of the River which may be identified in the Resource Plan, to demonstrate measures to reestablish a channel and floodway in dynamic equilibrium with the River and to prevent the down cutting of the River bed. The goals of the pilot projects shall be to create in-stream fish and wildlife habitat, reduce bank erosion and loss of riparian vegetation, and accommodate high flows without accompanying damage to land or property. To the extent practicable, activities on the main river channel under the pilot project shall be integrated with projects on tributaries and basin-wide water management, and shall account for the physical and ecological interdependency within the watershed. This project will only be completed with willing landowners. The Administrator may contract with the California State Coastal Conservancy to carry out the pilot projects.

    (b) FISH HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECT- The Chief, working through the Resource Conservation Districts and with the California Department of Fish and Game, shall carry out high priority fish habitat restoration projects on the River’s tributaries or watershed restoration projects that are identified in and are consistent with the objectives of the Program Plan.

    (c) COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES- The Administrator and the Chief shall work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the State of California in carrying out activities under this section.

    (d) GRANTS TO STATES- The Administrator and the Chief shall use their existing authorities to award grants or contracts (or both) to State or local agencies (or both) to carry out this section and for monitoring activities under this section.

    (e) REPORT- Not later than September 30, 1996, the Administrator and the Chief shall each report to the Congress on progress made toward implementing this section.

    (f) REVIEW OF COYOTE DAM AND WARM SPRINGS DAM-

      (1) REVIEW- The Secretary in consultation with the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service shall review the effects of the operation and water release schedule of the Coyote Dam in Mendocino County on bank erosion problems, river channel down cutting, decreases in ground water supplies and scour of riparian habitat. The Secretary shall identify alternative release schedules which will reduce adverse impacts along the River and provide fisheries habitat benefits. The Secretary shall also review channel clearing and maintenance measures currently required along the Alexander Valley reach of the River channel as part of the Russian River Flood Control project for their adverse environmental effects on fisheries habitat in the River. The Secretary shall identify alternative measures which reduce bank erosion problems and promote riparian and fisheries habitat restoration while providing the same or higher level of flood water channel capacity as the original 1955 Federal project. Further, the Secretary shall review the effects that operation of Warm Springs dam will have on fish habitat in Dry Creek and downstream reaches of the River, including potential effects that the project will have on the middle reach of the River when fully operational.

      (2) REPORT- Not later than September 30, 1996, the Secretary shall report to the Congress the results of the reviews under this subsection.

SEC. 5. RUSSIAN RIVER BASIN ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established an advisory committee which shall be composed of not more than 20 people selected by the Chief in consultation with the Administrator. The committee shall be representative of the various groups with an interest in the Russian River and shall be selected according to the following guidelines:

      (1) Members of the Russian River Enhancement Plan Technical Advisory Committees established by the California State Coastal Conservancy shall be considered if they choose to serve.

      (2) Membership shall include representatives of organized fishery groups even if not presently on the Russian River Enhancement Plan Technical Advisory Committees.

      (3) Membership shall be balanced geographically between Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.

      (4) Membership shall include representatives of State and Federal agencies involved in managing river natural resources but there shall be no more than 6 such members.

    (b) FUNCTIONS- The advisory group shall advise and assist the Administrator and the Chief regarding the implementation and monitoring of the activities authorized by this Act.

    (c) CHAIRMAN; MEETINGS- The chairman of the advisory committee shall be a representative of a river fishery group who is chosen by majority vote of the advisory committee. The term of an individual as chairman shall be 2 years. The chairman shall call meetings of the advisory committee at least 4 times each year. The advisory committee, in consultation with the Administrator and the Chief, may establish its own order of business.

SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) The term ‘Administrator’ means Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, acting through the Regional Administrator for the ninth region.

      (2) The term ‘Chief’ means the Chief of the Soil Conservation Service.

      (3) The term ‘Program Plan’ means the Russian River Basin Andromous Fisheries Restoration Plan being developed by the California Department of Fish and Game.

      (4) The term ‘Resource Plan’ means the Russian River Resource Enhancement Plan being developed by the California State Coastal Conservancy.

      (5) The term ‘River’ means the Russian River in California.

      (6) The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Army.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There is authorized to be appropriated $7,000,000 for carrying out this Act for fiscal years beginning after September 30, 1993. $4,000,000 shall be allocated for the tributary restoration which shall include a maximum of $500,000 for completion of the Program Plan and a maximum of $100,000 for support services for the Basin Advisory Committee. $3,000,000 shall be allocated for the riverbed restoration pursuant to the Resource Plan. Such sums shall remain available until expended. A portion of the funding shall be used for Federal staff for accomplishing the goals.