H.R. 2939 (104th): Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement Act of 1996

104th Congress, 1995–1996. Text as of Feb 01, 1996 (Introduced).

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HR 2939 IH

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 2939

To direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a pilot test of the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 1, 1996

Mr. GUNDERSON (for himself and Mr. BEREUTER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources


A BILL

To direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a pilot test of the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement.

    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 ‘Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement Act of 1996’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) several rivers flow between, or are common to, two or more State boundaries;

      (2) in many cases, there is not a single entity which has complete jurisdictional responsibility for the fishery resources in these rivers;

      (3) a strong partnership between Federal and State governmental authorities and citizen groups is vital in coordinating and facilitating cooperative research and in resolving problems associated with large river ecosystems;

      (4) many fishery management problems are caused by federally regulated activities (including activities resulting in point and nonpoint pollution) and federally constructed projects (including dams and navigation facilities);

      (5) in some rivers, the once rich assemblages of fish fauna and diverse habitats have been lost and formerly abundant native fish now exist only as endangered or depleted populations;

      (6) without positive management actions, native species in some rivers will continue to decline, fostering even greater conflicts among water users;

      (7) construction of waterway developments (including navigation, flood control, water level fluctuation, power generation, irrigation, and general water depletion projects) is accelerating and increasingly degrading large river ecosystems nationwide;

      (8) the United States public will face reduced opportunities for recreational, commercial, subsistence, and aesthetic uses of river systems without demonstrable change in management strategies in the near future;

      (9) several programs have been proposed or are underway to resolve conflicts in these management strategies;

      (10) in one of these programs, Federal, State, and local fishery resource managers in the Mississippi River drainage basin have entered into the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement under which the managers share information, resources, facilities, and funding for preparation, development, and implementation of long-range strategic plans for management of the drainage basin’s interjurisdictional fishery resources;

      (11) the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement merits detailed evaluation as a model for the development of long-range strategic plans for the management of interjurisdictional rivers fishery resources; and

      (12) to ensure that these programs are appropriately coordinated and to conserve the fishery resources in interjurisdictional rivers, there is a need for strategies to improve coordination, cooperation, research, and information sharing.

SEC. 3. MISSISSIPPI INTERSTATE COOPERATIVE RESOURCE AGREEMENT.

    (a) EVALUATION- The Secretary, in cooperation with the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association, shall conduct a pilot test of the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement.

    (b) CONTENTS- A pilot test conducted under this section may include, among other matters, the following:

      (1) Identification and description of each of the river ecosystems of the Mississippi River drainage system and the associated fishery resources and fish habitats of such river ecosystems.

      (2) Identification and description of--

        (A) the known impacts, on fishery resources of the Mississippi River drainage basin, of agriculture, navigation, flood control, power generation, irrigation, and municipal water supply projects, including the impacts of nonpoint source pollution, dredging, channel maintenance, water level management, sediment and contaminant transport, vessel traffic, water withdrawal, and changes in salinity and various hydrologic conditions; and

        (B) techniques for mitigating those impacts.

      (3) Analysis of existing resource data with regard to regional depletion of important fish stocks (including paddlefish, lake sturgeon, walleye, and other high priority nonanadromous species) and the potential for restoration of such fish stocks.

      (4) Identification of major information gaps and technological needs to improve the cooperative management of interjurisdictional fishery resources.

      (5) A comprehensive study of the status, and the management, research, and restoration needs, of the interjurisdictional fishery resources of the Mississippi River drainage system.

      (6) Development of recommendations regarding the scope, schedule, regional priorities, and roles of participants in the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement for undertaking cooperative management and research projects.

      (7) Development of plans and testing projects for the restoration and enhancement of depleted fish stocks (including lake sturgeon, paddlefish, walleye, and other high priority nonanadromous species) and associated habitats of such fish stocks.

      (8) Evaluation of the feasibility and expected success of the program under the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement and the merits of extending such program of cooperative management strategy to other interjurisdictional river basins in the United States.

      (9) Estimates of funds required to implement recommendations and plans developed under paragraphs (6), (7), and (8).

    (c) REPORT TO CONGRESS- Not later than 36 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall transmit to the Congress a report containing the evaluation of the pilot test to be conducted under this section.

SEC. 4. PAYMENT OF ASSISTANCE.

    The Secretary may use amounts available to carry out this Act to pay assistance to the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association, for costs it incurs in participating in the pilot test under section 3.

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

    For the purpose of this Act, the following definitions apply:

      (1) INTERJURISDICTIONAL FISHERY RESOURCES- The term ‘interjurisdictional fishery resources’ means fishery resources and associated aquatic habitats that depend on interjurisdictional rivers and are under the management of two or more governmental entities.

      (2) INTERJURISDICTIONAL RIVER- The term ‘interjurisdictional river’ means a river that flows along the boundary of, or is common to, two or more States.

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

      (4) STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY- The term ‘State Fish and Wildlife Agency’ includes any State department or agency, or a part thereof, that is empowered under the laws of the State to exercise the functions ordinarily exercised by a State fish and wildlife agency.

      (5) THE MISSISSIPPI INTERSTATE COOPERATIVE RESOURCE ASSOCIATION- The term ‘Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association’ means the association comprised of the States and entities that are signatories to the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement.