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S. 1494 (109th): NOAA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Monitoring, Education, Training, and Restoration Act


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. 1494

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 26, 2005

(for himself, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Warner, and Mr. Allen) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A BILL

To amend the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1992 to establish programs to enhance protection of the Chesapeake Bay, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Monitoring, Education, Training, and Restoration Act.

2.

Chesapeake Bay Office Programs

Section 307 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1992 (15 U.S.C. 1511d) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsections (d) and (e), as subsections (h) and (i), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after subsection (c), the following new subsections:

(d)

Chesapeake bay integrated observing system

(1)

Establishment

(A)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Monitoring, Education, Training, and Restoration Act, the Director shall collaborate with scientific and academic institutions, Federal agencies, State and nongovernmental organizations, and other constituents located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to establish a Chesapeake Bay Integrated Observing System (in this section referred to as the System).

(B)

Purpose

The purpose of the System is to provide information needed to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, on such topics as land use, environmental quality of the Bay and its shoreline, coastal erosion, ecosystem health and performance, aquatic living resources and habitat conditions, and weather, tides, currents, and circulation.

(C)

Elements of system

The System shall coordinate existing monitoring and observing activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, identify new data collection needs, and deploy new technologies to provide a complete set of environmental information for the Chesapeake Bay, including the following activities:

(i)

Collecting and analyzing the scientific information related to the Chesapeake Bay that is necessary for the management of living marine resources and the marine habitat associated with such resources.

(ii)

Managing and interpreting the information described in clause (i).

(iii)

Organizing the information described in clause (i) into products that are useful to policy makers, resource managers, scientists, and the public.

(iv)

Developing or supporting the development of an Internet-based information system for integrating, interpreting, and disseminating coastal information, products, and forecasts concerning the Chesapeake Bay watershed related to—

(I)

climate;

(II)

land use;

(III)

coastal pollution and environmental quality;

(IV)

coastal hazards;

(V)

ecosystem health and performance;

(VI)

aquatic living resources and habitat conditions and management;

(VII)

economic and recreational uses; and

(VIII)

weather, tides, currents, and circulation that affect the distribution of sediments, nutrients, organisms, coastline erosion, and related physical and chemical events and processes.

(D)

Agreements to provide data, information, and support

The Director may enter into agreements with other entities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, other Federal, State, or local government agencies, academic institutions, or organizations described in subsection (e)(2)(A)(i) to provide and interpret data and information, and may provide appropriate support to such agencies, institutions, or organizations to fulfill the purposes of the System.

(E)

Agreements relating to information products

The Director may enter into grants, contracts, and interagency agreements with eligible entities for the collection, processing, analysis, and interpretation of data and information and for electronic publication of information products.

(e)

Chesapeake bay watershed education and training program

(1)

Establishment

(A)

In general

The Director, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Executive Council, shall establish a Chesapeake Bay watershed education and training program.

(B)

Purposes

The program established under subparagraph (A) shall continue and expand the Chesapeake Bay watershed education programs offered by the Chesapeake Bay Office for the purposes of—

(i)

improving the understanding of elementary and secondary school students and teachers of the living resources of the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay;

(ii)

providing community education to improve watershed protection; and

(iii)

meeting the educational goals of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement.

(2)

Grant program

(A)

Authorization

The Director is authorized to award grants to pay the Federal share of the cost of a project described in subparagraph (C) to—

(i)

a nongovernmental organization 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;

(ii)

a consortium of institutions described in clause (i);

(iii)

an elementary or secondary school located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(iv)

a teacher at a school described in clause (iii); or

(v)

a department of education of a State if any part of such State is within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

(B)

Criteria

The Director shall consider, in awarding grants under this subsection, the experience of the applicant in providing environmental education and training projects regarding the Chesapeake Bay watershed to a range of participants and in a range of settings.

(C)

Functions and activities

Grants awarded under this subsection may be used to support education and training projects that—

(i)

provide classroom education, including the use of distance learning technologies, on the issues, science, and problems of the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(ii)

provide meaningful outdoor experience on the Chesapeake Bay, or on a stream or in a local watershed of the Chesapeake Bay, in the design and implementation of field studies, monitoring and assessments, or restoration techniques for living resources;

(iii)

provide professional development for teachers related to the science of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the dissemination of pertinent education materials oriented to varying grade levels;

(iv)

demonstrate or disseminate environmental educational tools and materials related to the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(v)

demonstrate field methods, practices, and techniques including assessment of environmental and ecological conditions and analysis of environmental problems; and

(vi)

develop or disseminate projects designed to—

(I)

enhance understanding and assessment of a specific environmental problem in the Chesapeake Bay watershed or of a goal of the Chesapeake Bay Program;

(II)

protect or restore living resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed; or

(III)

educate local land use officials and decision makers on the relationship of land use to natural resource and watershed protection.

(D)

Federal share

The Federal share of the cost of a project funded with a grant awarded under this subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the total cost of that project.

(f)

Stock enhancement and habitat restoration program

(1)

Establishment

(A)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Monitoring, Education, Training, and Restoration Act, the Director, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Executive Council, shall establish a Chesapeake Bay watershed stock enhancement and habitat restoration program.

(B)

Purpose

The purpose of the program established in subparagraph (A) is to support the restoration of oysters and submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay.

(2)

Activities

To carry out the purpose of the program established under paragraph (1)(A), the Director is authorized to enter into grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements with an eligible entity to support—

(A)

the establishment of oyster hatcheries;

(B)

the establishment of submerged aquatic vegetation propagation programs; and

(C)

other activities that the Director determines are appropriate to carry out the purposes of such program.

(g)

Chesapeake bay aquaculture education

The Director is authorized to make grants and enter into contracts with an institution of higher education, including a community college, for the purpose of—

(1)

supporting education in Chesapeake Bay aquaculture sciences and technologies; and

(2)

developing aquaculture processes and technologies to improve production, efficiency, and sustainability of disease-free oyster spat and submerged aquatic vegetation.

.

3.

Report

Section 307(b)(7) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1992 (15 U.S.C. 1511d(b)(7)), is amended to read as follows:

(7)

submit a biennial report to the Congress and the Secretary of Commerce with respect to the activities of the Office, including—

(A)

a description of the progress made in protecting and restoring the living resources and habitat of the Chesapeake Bay;

(B)

a description of each grant awarded under this section since the submission of the most recent biennial report, including the amount of such grant and the activities funded with such grant; and

(C)

an action plan consisting of—

(i)

a list of recommended research, monitoring, and data collection activities necessary to continue implementation of the strategy described in paragraph (2); and

(ii)

proposals for—

(I)

continuing any new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration activities in the Chesapeake Bay; and

(II)

integration of those activities with the activities of the partners in the Chesapeake Bay Program to meet the commitments of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement and subsequent agreements.

.

4.

Definitions

Subsection (h) of section 307 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1992 (15 U.S.C. 1511d), as redesignated by section 2(1), is amended to read as follows:

(h)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Chesapeake Executive Council

The term Chesapeake Executive Council means the representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Environmental Protection Agency, the District of Columbia, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, who are signatories to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, and any future signatories to that Agreement.

(2)

Chesapeake 2000 agreement

The term Chesapeake 2000 agreement means the agreement between the United States, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission entered into on June 28, 2000.

(3)

Eligible entity

Except as provided in subsection (c), the term eligible entity means—

(A)

the government of a State in the Chesapeake Bay watershed or the government of the District of Columbia;

(B)

the government of a political subdivision of a State in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, or a political subdivision of the government of the District of Columbia;

(C)

an institution of higher education, including a community college;

(D)

a nongovernmental organization 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

(E)

a private entity that the Director determines to be appropriate.

.

5.

Authorization of appropriations

Subsection (i) of section 307 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authorization Act of 1992 (15 U.S.C. 1511d), as redesignated by section 2(1), is amended to read as follows:

(i)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

FY 2002 through 2005

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Commerce for the Chesapeake Bay Office $6,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2002 through 2005.

(2)

FY 2006 through 2010

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Commerce for the Chesapeake Bay Office $26,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2010. Of the amount appropriated pursuant to such authorization of appropriations—

(A)

for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2010, $1,000,000 is authorized to be made available to carry out the provisions of subsection (d);

(B)

for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2010, $6,000,000 is authorized to be made available to carry out the provisions of subsection (e);

(C)

for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2010, $10,000,000 is authorized to be made available to carry out the provisions of subsection (f);

(D)

for each of the fiscal years 2006 through 2010, $1,000,000 to carry out the provisions of subsection (g).

.