H.R. 5334 (111th): Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of May 18, 2010 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5334

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 18, 2010

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

A BILL

To establish the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area in the State of New Mexico, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Río Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Conservation area

The term Conservation Area means the Río Grande del Norte National Conservation Area established by section 3(a)(1).

(2)

Land grant community

The term land grant community means a member of the Board of Trustees of confirmed or nonconfirmed community land grants within the Conservation Area.

(3)

Management plan

The term management plan means the management plan for the Conservation Area developed under section 3(d).

(4)

Map

The term map means the map entitled Río Grande del Norte National Conservation Area and dated November 4, 2009.

(5)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.

(6)

State

The term State means the State of New Mexico.

3.

Establishment of national conservation area

(a)

Establishment

(1)

In general

There is established the Río Grande del Norte National Conservation Area in the State.

(2)

Area included

The Conservation Area shall consist of approximately 235,980 acres of public land in Taos and Río Arriba counties in the State, as generally depicted on the map.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of the Conservation Area are to conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the cultural, traditional, archaeological, natural, ecological, geological, historical, wildlife, educational, recreational, and scenic resources of the Conservation Area.

(c)

Management

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall manage the Conservation Area—

(A)

in a manner that conserves, protects, and enhances the resources of the Conservation Area; and

(B)

in accordance with—

(i)

the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.);

(ii)

this Act; and

(iii)

any other applicable laws.

(2)

Uses

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall allow only such uses of the Conservation Area that the Secretary determines would further the purposes described in subsection (b).

(B)

Use of motorized vehicles

(i)

In general

Except as needed for administrative purposes or to respond to an emergency, the use of motorized vehicles in the Conservation Area shall be permitted only on roads designated for use by motorized vehicles in the management plan.

(ii)

New roads

No additional road shall be built within the Conservation Area after the date of enactment of this Act unless the road is needed for public safety or natural resource protection.

(C)

Grazing

The Secretary shall permit grazing within the Conservation Area, where established before the date of enactment of this Act—

(i)

subject to all applicable laws (including regulations) and Executive orders; and

(ii)

consistent with the purposes described in subsection (b).

(D)

Collection of piñon nuts, firewood, medicinal plants and herbs

Nothing in this section precludes the traditional collection of firewood, medicinal plants and herbs, and piñon nuts in the Conservation Area for noncommercial personal use—

(i)

in accordance with any applicable laws; and

(ii)

subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(E)

Utility right-of-way upgrades

Nothing in this section precludes the Secretary from renewing or authorizing the upgrading (including widening) of an existing utility right-of-way through the Conservation Area in a manner that minimizes harm to the purposes of the Conservation Area described in subsection (b)—

(i)

in accordance with—

(I)

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

(II)

any other applicable law; and

(ii)

subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(F)

Tribal cultural uses

(i)

Access

The Secretary shall, in consultation with Indian tribes or pueblos—

(I)

ensure the protection of religious and cultural sites in the Conservation Area; and

(II)

provide access to the sites by members of Indian tribes or pueblos for traditional cultural and customary uses, consistent with Public Law 95–341 (commonly known as the American Indian Religious Freedom Act) (42 U.S.C. 1996).

(ii)

Temporary closures

In accordance with Public Law 95–341 (commonly known as the American Indian Religious Freedom Act) (42 U.S.C. 1996), the Secretary, on request of an Indian tribe or pueblo, may temporarily close to general public use 1 or more specific areas of the Conservation Area in order to protect traditional cultural and customary uses in those areas by members of the Indian tribe or the pueblo.

(d)

Management plan

(1)

In general

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall develop a management plan for the Conservation Area.

(2)

Other plans

To the extent consistent with this Act, the plan may incorporate in the management plan the Río Grande Corridor Management Plan in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

(3)

Consultation

The management plan shall be developed in consultation with—

(A)

State and local governments;

(B)

tribal governmental entities;

(C)

land grant communities; and

(D)

the public.

(4)

Considerations

In preparing and implementing the management plan, the Secretary shall consider the recommendations of Indian tribes and pueblos on methods for—

(A)

ensuring access to religious and cultural sites;

(B)

enhancing the privacy and continuity of traditional cultural and religious activities in the Conservation Area; and

(C)

protecting traditional cultural and religious sites in the Conservation Area.

(e)

Incorporation of acquired land and interests in land

Any land that is within the boundary of the Conservation Area that is acquired by the United States shall—

(1)

become part of the Conservation Area; and

(2)

be managed in accordance with—

(A)

this Act; and

(B)

any other applicable laws.

(f)

Special management areas

(1)

In general

The establishment of the Conservation Area shall not change the management status of any area within the boundary of the Conservation Area that is—

(A)

designated as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.); or

(B)

managed as an area of critical environmental concern.

(2)

Conflict of laws

If there is a conflict between the laws applicable to the areas described in paragraph (1) and this Act, the more restrictive provision shall control.

4.

Designation of wilderness areas

(a)

In general

In accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), the following areas in the Conservation Area are designated as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System:

(1)

Cerro del yuta wilderness

Certain land administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Taos County, New Mexico, comprising approximately 13,420 acres as generally depicted on the map, which shall be known as the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness.

(2)

Río san antonio wilderness

Certain land administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Río Arriba County, New Mexico, comprising approximately 8,000 acres, as generally depicted on the map, which shall be known as the Río San Antonio Wilderness.

(b)

Management of wilderness areas

Subject to valid existing rights, the wilderness areas designated by subsection (a) shall be administered in accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) and this Act, except that with respect to the wilderness areas designated by this Act—

(1)

any reference to the effective date of the Wilderness Act shall be considered to be a reference to the date of enactment of this Act; and

(2)

any reference in the Wilderness Act to the Secretary of Agriculture shall be considered to be a reference to the Secretary.

(c)

Incorporation of acquired land and interests in land

Any land or interest in land within the boundary of the wilderness areas designated by subsection (a) that is acquired by the United States shall—

(1)

become part of the wilderness area in which the land is located; and

(2)

be managed in accordance with—

(A)

the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.);

(B)

this Act; and

(C)

any other applicable laws.

(d)

Grazing

Grazing of livestock in the wilderness areas designated by subsection (a), where established before the date of enactment of this Act, shall be administered in accordance with—

(1)

section 4(d)(4) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(4)); and

(2)

the guidelines set forth in appendix A of the Report of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs to accompany H.R. 2570 of the 101st Congress (H. Rept. 101–405).

(e)

Buffer zones

(1)

In general

Nothing in this section creates a protective perimeter or buffer zone around any wilderness area designated by subsection (a).

(2)

Activities outside wilderness areas

The fact that an activity or use on land outside any wilderness area designated by subsection (a) can be seen or heard within the wilderness area shall not preclude the activity or use outside the boundary of the wilderness area.

(f)

Release of wilderness study areas

Congress finds that, for purposes of section 603(c) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782(c)), the public land within the San Antonio Wilderness Study Area not designated as wilderness by this section—

(1)

has been adequately studied for wilderness designation;

(2)

is no longer subject to section 603(c) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782(c)); and

(3)

shall be managed in accordance with this Act.

5.

General provisions

(a)

Maps and legal descriptions

(1)

In general

As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall file the map and legal descriptions of the Conservation Area and the wilderness areas designated by section 4(a) with—

(A)

the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives.

(2)

Force of law

The map and legal descriptions filed under paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary may correct errors in the legal description and map.

(3)

Public availability

The map and legal descriptions filed under paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the Bureau of Land Management.

(b)

National landscape conservation system

The Conservation Area and the wilderness areas designated by section 4(a) shall be administered as components of the National Landscape Conservation System.

(c)

Fish and wildlife

Nothing in this Act affects the jurisdiction of the State with respect to fish and wildlife located on public land in the State, except that the Secretary, after consultation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, may designate zones where, and establishing periods when, hunting shall not be allowed for reasons of public safety, administration, or public use and enjoyment.

(d)

Withdrawals

Subject to valid existing rights, any Federal land within the Conservation Area and the wilderness areas designated by section 4(a), including any land or interest in land that is acquired by the United States after the date of enactment of this Act, is withdrawn from—

(1)

entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws;

(2)

location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and

(3)

operation of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, and geothermal leasing laws.

(e)

Treaty rights

Nothing in this Act enlarges, diminishes, or otherwise modifies any treaty rights.

6.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this Act.