< Back to S. 2797 (106th Congress, 1999–2000)

Text of the Restoring the Everglades, an American Legacy Act

This bill was introduced on June 28, 2000, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 27, 2000 (Introduced).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

Source: GPO

S 2797 IS

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2797

To authorize a comprehensive Everglades restoration plan.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 27, 2000

Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire (for himself, Mr. BAUCUS, Mr. VOINOVICH, Mr. GRAHAM, and Mr. MACK) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To authorize a comprehensive Everglades restoration plan.

    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 ‘Restoring the Everglades, an American Legacy Act’.

SEC. 2. COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN.

    (a) DEFINITIONS- In this section:

      (1) CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA PROJECT-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘Central and Southern Florida Project’ means the project for Central and Southern Florida authorized under the heading ‘CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA’ in section 203 of the Flood Control Act of 1948 (62 Stat. 1176).

        (B) INCLUSION- The term ‘Central and Southern Florida Project’ includes any modification to the project authorized by this Act or any other provision of law.

      (2) GOVERNOR- The term ‘Governor’ means the Governor of the State.

      (3) NATURAL SYSTEM-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘natural system’ means all land and water managed by the Federal Government or the State within the South Florida ecosystem.

        (B) INCLUSIONS- The term ‘natural system’ includes--

          (i) water conservation areas;

          (ii) sovereign submerged land;

          (iii) Everglades National Park;

          (iv) Biscayne National Park;

          (v) Big Cypress National Preserve;

          (vi) other Federal or State (including a political subdivision of a State) land that is designated and managed for conservation purposes; and

          (vii) any tribal land that is designated and managed for conservation purposes, as approved by the tribe.

      (4) PLAN- The term ‘Plan’ means the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan contained in the ‘Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement’, dated April 1, 1999, as modified by this Act.

      (5) SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘South Florida ecosystem’ means the area consisting of the land and water within the boundary of the South Florida Water Management District in effect on July 1, 1999.

        (B) INCLUSIONS- The term ‘South Florida ecosystem’ includes--

          (i) the Everglades;

          (ii) the Florida Keys; and

          (iii) the contiguous near-shore coastal water of South Florida.

      (6) STATE- The term ‘State’ means the State of Florida.

    (b) COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN-

      (1) APPROVAL-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Except as modified by this Act, the Plan is approved as a framework for modifications and operational changes to the Central and Southern Florida Project that are needed to--

          (i) restore, preserve and protect the South Florida ecosystem;

          (ii) provide for the protection of water quality in, and the reduction of the loss of fresh water from, the Everglades; and

          (iii) provide for the water-related needs of the region, including--

            (I) flood control;

            (II) the enhancement of water supplies; and

            (III) other objectives served by the Central and Southern Florida Project.

        (B) INTEGRATION- In carrying out the Plan, the Secretary shall integrate the activities described in subparagraph (A) with ongoing Federal and State projects and activities in accordance with section 528(c) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3769).

      (2) SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATIONS-

        (A) IN GENERAL-

          (i) PROJECTS- The Secretary shall carry out the projects included in the Plan in accordance with subparagraphs (B), (C), (D) and (E).

          (ii) CONSIDERATIONS- In carrying out activities described in the Plan, the Secretary shall--

            (I) take into account the protection of water quality by considering applicable State water quality standards; and

            (II) include such features as the Secretary determines are necessary to ensure that all ground water and surface water discharges from any project feature authorized by this subsection will meet all applicable water quality standards and applicable water quality permitting requirements.

          (iii) REVIEW AND COMMENT- In developing the projects authorized under subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall provide for public review and comment in accordance with applicable Federal law.

        (B) PILOT PROJECTS- The following pilot projects are authorized for implementation, after review and approval by the Secretary, subject to the conditions in subparagraph (D), at a total cost of $69,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $34,500,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $34,500,000:

          (i) Caloosahatchee River (C-43) Basin ASR, at a total cost of $6,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $3,000,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $3,000,000.

          (ii) Lake Belt In-Ground Reservoir Technology, at a total cost of $23,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $11,500,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $11,500,000.

          (iii) L-31N Seepage Management, at a total cost of $10,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $5,000,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $5,000,000.

          (iv) Wastewater Reuse Technology, at a total cost of $30,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $15,000,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $15,000,000.

        (C) INITIAL PROJECTS- The following projects are authorized for implementation, after review and approval by the Secretary, subject to the conditions stated in subparagraph (D), at a total cost of $1,100,918,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $550,459,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $550,459,000:

          (i) C-44 Basin Storage Reservoir, at a total cost of $112,562,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $56,281,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $56,281,000.

          (ii) Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoirs--Phase I, at a total cost of $233,408,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $116,704,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $116,704,000.

          (iii) Site 1 Impoundment, at a total cost of $38,535,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $19,267,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $19,267,500.

          (iv) Water Conservation Areas 3A/3B Levee Seepage Management, at a total cost of $100,335,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $50,167,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $50,167,500.

          (v) C-11 Impoundment and Stormwater Treatment Area, at a total cost of $124,837,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $62,418,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $62,418,500.

          (vi) C-9 Impoundment and Stormwater Treatment Area, at a total cost of $89,146,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $44,573,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $44,573,000.

          (vii) Taylor Creek/Nubbin Slough Storage and Treatment Area, at a total cost of $104,027,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $52,013,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $52,013,500.

          (viii) Raise and Bridge East Portion of Tamiami Trail and Fill Miami Canal within Water Conservation Area 3, at a total cost of $26,946,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $13,473,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $13,473,000.

          (ix) North New River Improvements, at a total cost of $77,087,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $38,543,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $38,543,500.

          (x) C-111 Spreader Canal, at a total cost of $94,035,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $47,017,500 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $47,017,500.

          (xi) Adaptive Assessment and Monitoring Program, at a total cost of $100,000,000, with an estimated Federal cost of $50,000,000 and an estimated non-Federal cost of $50,000,000.

        (D) CONDITIONS-

          (i) PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REPORTS- Before implementation of a project described in any of clauses (i) through (x) of subparagraph (C), the Secretary shall review and approve for the project a project implementation report prepared in accordance with subsections (f) and (h).

          (ii) SUBMISSION OF REPORT- The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate the project implementation report required by subsections (f) and (h) for each project under this paragraph (including all relevant data and information on all costs).

          (iii) FUNDING CONTINGENT ON APPROVAL- No appropriation shall be made to construct any project under this paragraph if the project implementation report for the project has not been approved by resolutions adopted by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate.

          (iv) MODIFIED WATER DELIVERY- No appropriation shall be made to construct the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement Project or the Central Lakebelt Storage Project until the completion of the project to improve water deliveries to Everglades National Park authorized by section 104 of the Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act of 1989 (16 U.S.C 410r-8).

        (E) MAXIMUM COST OF PROJECTS- Section 902 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (33 U.S.C. 2280) shall apply to each project feature authorized under this subsection.

    (c) ADDITIONAL PROGRAM AUTHORITY-

      (1) IN GENERAL- To expedite implementation of the Plan, the Secretary may implement modifications to the Central and Southern Florida Project that--

        (A) are described in the Plan; and

        (B) will produce a substantial benefit to the restoration, preservation and protection of the South Florida ecosystem.

      (2) PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REPORTS- Before implementation of any project feature authorized under this subsection, the Secretary shall review and approve for the project feature a project implementation report prepared in accordance with subsections (f) and (h).

      (3) FUNDING-

        (A) INDIVIDUAL PROJECT FUNDING-

          (i) FEDERAL COST- The total Federal cost of each project carried out under this subsection shall not exceed $12,500,000.

          (ii) OVERALL COST- The total cost of each project carried out under this subsection shall not exceed $25,000,000.

        (B) AGGREGATE FEDERAL COST- The total Federal cost of all projects carried out under this subsection shall not exceed $206,000,000

    (d) AUTHORIZATION OF FUTURE PROJECTS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Except for a project authorized by subsection (b) or (c), any project included in the Plan shall require a specific authorization by Congress.

      (2) SUBMISSION OF REPORT- Before seeking congressional authorization for a project under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to Congress--

        (A) a description of the project; and

        (B) a project implementation report for the project prepared in accordance with subsections (f) and (h).

    (e) COST SHARING-

      (1) FEDERAL SHARE- The Federal share of the cost of carrying out a project authorized by subsection (b), (c), or (d) shall be 50 percent.

      (2) NON-FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The non-Federal sponsor with respect to a project described in subsection (b), (c), or (d), shall be--

        (A) responsible for all land, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations necessary to implement the Plan; and

        (B) afforded credit toward the non-Federal share of the cost of carrying out the project in accordance with paragraph (5)(A).

      (3) FEDERAL ASSISTANCE-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The non-Federal sponsor with respect to a project authorized by subsection (b), (c), or (d) may use Federal funds for the purchase of any land, easement, rights-of-way, or relocation that is necessary to carry out the project if any funds so used are credited toward the Federal share of the cost of the project.

        (B) AGRICULTURE FUNDS- Funds provided to the non-Federal sponsor under any programs such as the Conservation Restoration and Enhancement Program (CREP) and the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) for projects in the Plan shall be credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of the Plan if the Secretary of Agriculture certifies that the funds provided may be used for that purpose.

      (4) OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE- Notwithstanding section 528(e)(3) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3770), the non-Federal sponsor shall be responsible for 50 percent of the cost of operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation activities authorized under this section.

      (5) CREDIT-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding section 528(e)(4) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3770), and regardless of the date of acquisition, the value of lands or interests in lands and incidental costs for land acquired by a non-Federal sponsor in accordance with a project implementation report for any project included in the Plan and authorized by Congress shall be--

          (i) included in the total cost of the project; and

          (ii) credited toward the non-Federal share of the cost of the project.

        (B) WORK- The Secretary may provide credit, including in-kind credit, toward the non-Federal share for the reasonable cost of any work performed in connection with a study, preconstruction engineering and design, or construction that is necessary for the implementation of the Plan, if--

          (i)(I) the credit is provided for work completed during the period of design, as defined in a design agreement between the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor; or

          (II) the credit is provided for work completed during the period of construction, as defined in a project cooperation agreement for an authorized project between the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor;

          (ii) the design agreement or the project cooperation agreement prescribes the terms and conditions of the credit; and

          (iii) the Secretary determines that the work performed by the non-Federal sponsor is integral to the project.

        (C) TREATMENT OF CREDIT BETWEEN PROJECTS- Any credit provided under this paragraph may be carried over between authorized projects in accordance with subparagraph (D).

        (D) PERIODIC MONITORING-

          (i) IN GENERAL- To ensure that the contributions of the non-Federal sponsor equal 50 percent proportionate share for projects in the Plan, during each 5-year period, beginning with commencement of design of the Plan, the Secretary shall, for each project--

            (I) monitor the non-Federal provision of cash, in-kind services, and land; and

            (II) manage, to the maximum extent practicable, the requirement of the non-Federal sponsor to provide cash, in-kind services, and land.

          (ii) OTHER MONITORING- The Secretary shall conduct monitoring under clause (i) separately for--

            (I) the preconstruction engineering and design phase; and

            (II) the construction phase.

        (E) AUDITS- Credit for land (including land value and incidental costs) or work provided under this subsection shall be subject to audit by the Secretary.

    (f) EVALUATION OF PROJECTS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Before implementation of a project authorized by subsection (c) or (d) or any of clauses (i) through (x) of subsection (b)(2)(C), the Secretary, in cooperation with the non-Federal sponsor, shall, after notice and opportunity for public comment and in accordance with subsection (h), complete a project implementation report for the project.

      (2) PROJECT JUSTIFICATION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding section 209 of the Flood Control Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 1962-2) or any other provision of law, in carrying out any activity authorized under this section or any other provision of law to restore, preserve, or protect the South Florida ecosystem, the Secretary may determine that--

          (i) the activity is justified by the environmental benefits derived by the South Florida ecosystem; and

          (ii) no further economic justification for the activity is required, if the Secretary determines that the activity is cost-effective.

        (B) APPLICABILITY- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any separable element intended to produce benefits that are predominantly unrelated to the restoration, preservation, and protection of the natural system.

    (g) EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS- The following Plan components are not approved for implementation:

      (1) WATER INCLUDED IN THE PLAN-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Any project that is designed to implement the capture and use of the approximately 245,000 acre-feet of water described in section 7.7.2 of the Plan shall not be implemented until such time as--

          (i) the project-specific feasibility study described in subparagraph (B) on the need for and physical delivery of the approximately 245,000 acre-feet of water, conducted by the Secretary, in cooperation with the non-Federal sponsor, is completed;

          (ii) the project is favorably recommended in a final report of the Chief of Engineers; and

          (iii) the project is authorized by Act of Congress.

        (B) PROJECT-SPECIFIC FEASIBILITY STUDY- The project-specific feasibility study referred to in subparagraph (A) shall include--

          (i) a comprehensive analysis of the structural facilities proposed to deliver the approximately 245,000 acre-feet of water to the natural system;

          (ii) an assessment of the requirements to divert and treat the water;

          (iii) an assessment of delivery alternatives;

          (iv) an assessment of the feasibility of delivering the water downstream while maintaining current levels of flood protection to affected property; and

          (v) any other assessments that are determined by the Secretary to be necessary to complete the study.

      (2) WASTEWATER TREATMENT-

        (A) IN GENERAL- On completion and evaluation of the wastewater treatment pilot project described in subsection (b)(2)(B)(iv), the Secretary, in an appropriately timed 5-year report, shall describe the results of the evaluation of advanced wastewater treatment in meeting, in a cost effective manner, the requirements of restoration of the natural system.

        (B) SUBMISSION- The Secretary shall submit to Congress the report described in subparagraph (A) before congressional authorization for advanced wastewater treatment is sought.

      (3) PROJECTS APPROVED WITH LIMITATIONS- The following projects in the Plan are approved for implementation with limitations:

        (A) LOXAHATCHEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE- The Federal share for land acquisition in the project to enhance existing wetland systems along the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, including the Stazzulla tract, should be funded through the budget of the Department of the Interior.

        (B) SOUTHERN CORKSCREW REGIONAL ECOSYSTEM- The Southern Corkscrew regional ecosystem watershed addition should be accomplished outside the scope of the Plan.

    (h) ASSURANCE OF PROJECT BENEFITS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The overarching objective of the Plan is the restoration, preservation, and protection of the South Florida Ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection. The Plan shall be implemented to ensure the protection of water quality in, the reduction of the loss of fresh water from, the improvement of the environment of the South Florida Ecosystem and to achieve and maintain the benefits to the natural system and human environment described in the Plan, and required pursuant to this Act, for as long as the project is authorized.

      (2) AGREEMENT-

        (A) IN GENERAL- No appropriation shall be made for the construction of a project contained in the Plan until the President and the Governor enter into a binding agreement under which the State, shall ensure, by regulation or other appropriate means, that water made available under the Plan for the restoration of the natural system is available as specified in the Plan.

        (B) ENFORCEMENT-

          (i) IN GENERAL- Any person or entity that is aggrieved by a failure of the President or the Governor to comply with any provision of the agreement entered into under subparagraph (A) may bring a civil action in United States district court for an injunction directing the President or the Governor, as the case may be, to comply with the agreement, or for other appropriate relief.

          (ii) LIMITATIONS ON COMMENCEMENT OF CIVIL ACTION- No civil action may be commenced under clause (i)--

            (I) before the date that is 60 days after the Secretary receives written notice of a failure to comply with the agreement; or

            (II) if the United States has commenced and is diligently prosecuting an action in a court of the United States or a State to redress a failure to comply with the agreement.

      (3) PROGRAMMATIC REGULATIONS-

        (A) ISSUANCE- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall, after notice and opportunity for public comment--

          (i) with the concurrence of--

            (I) the Governor; and

            (II) the Secretary of the Interior; and

          (ii) in consultation with--

            (I) the Seminole Tribe of Florida;

            (II) the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida;

            (III) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;

            (IV) the Secretary of Commerce; and

            (V) other Federal, State, and local agencies;

        promulgate programmatic regulations to ensure that the goals and purposes of the Plan are achieved.

        (B) CONTENT OF REGULATIONS- Programmatic regulations promulgated under this paragraph shall establish a process to--

          (i) provide guidance for the development of project implementation reports, project cooperation agreements, and operating manuals that ensure that the goals and objectives of the Plan are achieved;

          (ii) ensure that new information resulting from changed or unforeseen circumstances, new scientific or technical information or information that is developed through the principles of adaptive management contained in the Plan, or future authorized changes to the Plan are integrated into the implementation of the Plan;

          (iii) ensure the protection of the natural system consistent with the goals and purposes of the Plan; and

          (iv) include a mechanism for dispute resolution to resolve any conflicts between the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor.

        (C) SCHEDULE AND TRANSITION RULE-

          (i) IN GENERAL- All project implementation reports approved before the date of promulgation of the programmatic regulations shall be consistent with the Plan.

          (ii) PREAMBLE- The preamble of the programmatic regulations shall include a statement concerning the consistency with the programmatic regulations of any project implementation reports that were approved before the date of promulgation of the regulations.

        (D) REVIEW OF PROGRAMMATIC REGULATIONS- Whenever necessary to attain Plan goals and purposes, but not less often than every 5 years, the Secretary, in accordance with subparagraph (A), shall review the programmatic regulations promulgated under this paragraph.

      (4) PROJECT-SPECIFIC ASSURANCES-

        (A) PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REPORTS-

          (i) IN GENERAL- The Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor shall develop project implementation reports in accordance with section 10.3.1 of the Plan.

          (ii) COORDINATION- In developing a project implementation report, the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor shall coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, tribal, and local governments.

          (iii) REQUIREMENTS- A project implementation report shall--

            (I) be consistent with the Plan and the programmatic regulations promulgated under paragraph (3);

            (II) describe how each of the requirements stated in paragraph (3)(B) is satisfied;

            (III) comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);

            (IV) identify the appropriate quantity, timing, and distribution of

water dedicated and managed for the natural system;

            (V) identify the amount of water to be reserved or allocated for the natural system necessary to implement, under State law, subclauses (IV) and (VI);

            (VI) comply with applicable water quality standards and applicable water quality permitting requirements under subsection (b)(2)(A)(ii);

            (VII) be based on the best available science; and

            (VIII) include an analysis concerning the cost-effectiveness and engineering feasibility of the project.

        (B) PROJECT COOPERATION AGREEMENTS-

          (i) IN GENERAL- The Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor shall execute project cooperation agreements in accordance with section 10 of the Plan.

          (ii) CONDITION- The Secretary shall not execute a project cooperation agreement until any reservation or allocation of water for the natural system identified in the project implementation report is executed under State law.

        (C) OPERATING MANUALS-

          (i) IN GENERAL- The Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor shall develop and issue, for each project or group of projects, an operating manual that is consistent with the water reservation or allocation for the natural system described in the project implementation report and the project cooperation agreement for the project or group of projects.

          (ii) MODIFICATIONS- Any significant modification by the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor to an operating manual after the operating manual is issued shall only be carried out subject to notice and opportunity for public comment.

      (5) SAVINGS CLAUSE-

        (A) EXISTING WATER USERS- The Secretary shall ensure that the implementation of the Plan, including physical or operational modifications to the Central and Southern Florida Project, does not cause significant adverse impact on existing legal water users, including--

          (i) water legally allocated or provided through entitlements to the Seminole Tribe of Florida under section 7 of the Seminole Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987 (25 U.S.C. 1772e);

          (ii) the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida;

          (iii) annual water deliveries to Everglades National Park;

          (iv) water for the preservation of fish and wildlife in the natural system; and

          (v) any other legal user, as provided under Federal or State law in existence on the date of enactment of this Act.

        (B) NO ELIMINATION- Until a new source of water supply of comparable quantity and quality is available to replace the water to be lost as a result of implementation of the Plan, the Secretary shall not eliminate existing legal sources of water, including those for--

          (i) an agricultural or urban water supply;

          (ii) allocation or entitlement to the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida under section 7 of the Seminole Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987 (25 U.S.C. 1772e);

          (iii) the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida;

          (iv) Everglades National Park; or

          (v) the preservation of fish and wildlife.

        (C) MAINTENANCE OF FLOOD PROTECTION- The Secretary shall maintain authorized levels of flood protection in existence on the date of enactment of this Act, in accordance with current law.

        (D) NO EFFECT ON STATE LAW- Nothing in this Act prevents the State from allocating or reserving water, as provided under State law, to the extent consistent with this Act.

        (E) NO EFFECT ON TRIBAL COMPACT- Nothing in this Act amends, alters, prevents, or otherwise abrogates rights of the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida under the compact among the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the State, and the South Florida Water Management District,

defining the scope and use of water rights of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, as codified by section 7 of the Seminole Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987 (25 U.S.C. 1772e).

    (i) INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC REVIEW-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary, the Secretary of the Interior, and the State, in consultation with the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, shall establish an independent scientific review panel convened by a body, such as the National Academy of Sciences, to review the Plan’s progress toward achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Plan.

      (2) REPORT- The panel described in paragraph (1) shall produce a biennial report to Congress, the Secretary, the Secretary of the Interior, and the State of Florida that includes an assessment of ecological indicators and other measures of progress in restoring the ecology of the natural system, based on the Plan.

    (j) OUTREACH AND ASSISTANCE-

      (1) SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS OWNED AND OPERATED BY SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED INDIVIDUALS- In executing the Plan, the Secretary shall ensure that small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are provided opportunities to participate under section 15(g) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 644(g)).

      (2) COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND EDUCATION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall ensure that impacts on socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including individuals with limited English proficiency, and communities are considered during implementation of the Plan, and that such individuals have opportunities to review and comment on its implementation.

        (B) PROVISION OF OPPORTUNITIES- The Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that public outreach and educational opportunities are provided to the individuals of South Florida, including individuals with limited English proficiency, and in particular for socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

    (k) REPORT TO CONGRESS- Beginning on October 1, 2005, and periodically thereafter until October 1, 2036, the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce, and the State of Florida, shall jointly submit to Congress a report on the implementation of the Plan. Such reports shall be completed not less often than every 5 years. Such reports shall include a description of planning, design, and construction work completed, the amount of funds expended during the period covered by the report (including a detailed analysis of the funds expended for adaptive assessment under subsection (b)(2)(C)(xi)), and the work anticipated over the next 5-year period. In addition, each report shall include--

      (1) the determination of each Secretary, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, concerning the benefits to the natural system and the human environment achieved as of the date of the report and whether the completed projects of the Plan are being operated in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of subsection (h); and

      (2) a review of the activities performed by the Secretary under subsection (j) as they relate to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and individuals with limited English proficiency.