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S. 1493 (109th): Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forestry Program Act of 2005


The text of the bill below is as of Jul 26, 2005 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


II

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1493

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 26, 2005

(for himself, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Warner, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Santorum) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

A BILL

To require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a program to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to restore and protect forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forestry Program Act of 2005.

2.

Findings and purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

trees and forests are critical to the long-term health and proper ecological functioning of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(2)

the Chesapeake Bay States are losing forest land to urban and suburban growth at a rate of nearly 100 acres per day;

(3)

the Forest Service has a vital role to play in assisting States, local governments, and nonprofit organizations in carrying out forest conservation, restoration, and stewardship projects and activities; and

(4)

existing programs do not ensure the support necessary to meet Chesapeake Bay forest goals.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are—

(1)

to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to protect, restore, and manage forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; and

(2)

to contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Chesapeake bay agreement

The term Chesapeake Bay Agreement means the formal, voluntary agreements—

(A)

executed to achieve the goal of restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem; and

(B)

signed by the Council.

(2)

Chesapeake bay state

The term Chesapeake Bay State means each of the States of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

(3)

Coordinator

The term Coordinator means the Coordinator of the program designated under section 4(b)(1)(B).

(4)

Council

The term Council means the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council.

(5)

Program

The term program means the Chesapeake Bay watershed forestry program carried out under section 4(a).

(6)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service and the Coordinator.

4.

Chesapeake bay watershed forestry program

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall carry out a Chesapeake Bay watershed forestry program under which the Secretary shall make grants and provide technical assistance to eligible entities to restore and conserve forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including grants and assistance—

(1)

to promote forest conservation, restoration, and stewardship efforts in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(2)

to accelerate the restoration of riparian forest buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(3)

to assist in developing and carrying out projects and partnerships in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(4)

to promote the protection and sustainable management of forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(5)

to develop communication and education resources that enhance public understanding of the value of forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(6)

to conduct research, assessment, and planning activities to restore and protect forest land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; and

(7)

to contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

(b)

Office; coordinator

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall—

(A)

maintain an office within the Forest Service to carry out the program; and

(B)

designate an employee of the Forest Service as Coordinator of the program.

(2)

Duties

As part of the program, the Coordinator, in cooperation with the Secretary and the Chesapeake Bay Program, shall—

(A)

provide grants and technical assistance to restore and protect forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(B)

enter into partnerships to carry out forest restoration and conservation activities at a watershed scale using the resources and programs of the Forest Service;

(C)

in collaboration with other units of the Forest Service, other Federal agencies, and State forestry agencies, carry out activities that contribute to the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement;

(D)

work with units of the National Forest System in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to ensure that the units are managed in a manner that—

(i)

protects water quality; and

(ii)

sustains watershed health;

(E)

represent the Forest Service in deliberations of the Chesapeake Bay Program; and

(F)

support and collaborate with the Forestry Work Group for the Chesapeake Bay Program in planning and implementing program activities.

(c)

Eligible entities

To be eligible to receive assistance under the program, an entity shall be—

(1)

a Chesapeake Bay State;

(2)

a political subdivision of a Chesapeake Bay State;

(3)

a university or other institution of higher education;

(4)

an organization operating in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that is described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of that Code; or

(5)

any other person in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that the Secretary determines to be eligible.

(d)

Grants

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall make grants to eligible entities under the program to carry out projects to protect, restore, and manage forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

(2)

Federal share

The Federal share of a grant made under the program shall not exceed 75 percent, as determined by the Secretary.

(3)

Types of projects

The Secretary may make a grant to an eligible entity for a project in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that—

(A)

improves habitat and water quality through the establishment, protection, or stewardship of riparian or wetland forests or stream corridors;

(B)

builds the capacity of State forestry agencies and local organizations to implement forest conservation, restoration, and stewardship actions;

(C)

develops and implements watershed management plans that—

(i)

address forest conservation needs; and

(ii)

reduce urban and suburban runoff;

(D)

provides outreach and assistance to private landowners and communities to restore or conserve forests in the watershed;

(E)

implements communication, education, or technology transfer programs that broaden public understanding of the value of trees and forests in sustaining and restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(F)

coordinates and implements community-based watershed partnerships and initiatives that—

(i)

focus on—

(I)

the expansion of the urban tree canopy; and

(II)

the restoration or protection of forest land; or

(ii)

integrate the delivery of Forest Service programs for restoring or protecting watersheds;

(G)

provides enhanced forest resource data to support watershed management;

(H)

enhances upland forest health to reduce risks to watershed function and water quality; or

(I)

conducts inventory assessment or monitoring activities to measure environmental change associated with projects carried out under the program.

(4)

Chesapeake bay watershed foresters

Funds made available under section 6 may be used by a Chesapeake Bay State to employ a State watershed forester to work with the Coordinator to carry out activities and watershed projects relating to the program.

(e)

Study

(1)

In general

The Secretary, in consultation with the Council, shall conduct a study of urban and rural forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including—

(A)

an evaluation of the state, and threats to the sustainability, of forests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(B)

an assessment of forest loss and fragmentation in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(C)

an identification of forest land within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that should be restored or protected; and

(D)

recommendations for expanded and targeted actions or programs needed to achieve the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

(2)

Report

Not later than 1 year after amounts are first made available under section 6, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report that describes the results of the study.

5.

Watershed forestry research program

(a)

In general

The Secretary, in cooperation with the Council, shall establish a watershed forestry research program for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

(b)

Administration

In carrying out the watershed forestry research program established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—

(1)

use a combination of applied research, modeling, demonstration projects, implementation guidance, strategies for adaptive management, training, and education to meet the needs of the residents of the Chesapeake Bay States for managing forests in urban, developing, and rural areas;

(2)

solicit input from local managers and Federal, State, and private researchers, with respect to air and water quality, social and economic implications, environmental change, and other Chesapeake Bay watershed forestry issues in urban and rural areas;

(3)

collaborate with the Chesapeake Bay Program Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and universities in the Chesapeake Bay States to—

(A)

address issues in the Chesapeake Bay Agreement; and

(B)

support modeling and informational needs of the Chesapeake Bay program; and

(4)

manage activities of the watershed forestry research program in partnership with the Coordinator.

(c)

Watershed forestry research strategy

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in collaboration with the Northeastern Forest Research Station and the Southern Forest Research Station, shall submit to Congress a strategy for research to address Chesapeake Bay watershed goals, including recommendations for implementation and leadership of the program.

6.

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out the program $3,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2012, of which—

(1)

not more than $500,000 shall be used to conduct the study required under section 4(e); and

(2)

not more than $1,000,000 for any fiscal year shall be used to carry out the watershed forestry research program under section 5.

7.

Report

Not later than December 31, 2007, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a comprehensive report that describes the costs, accomplishments, and outcomes of the activities carried out under the program.