< Back to H.R. 2705 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)

Text of the Stanislaus River Native Anadromous Fish Improvement Act

This bill was introduced on July 17, 2013, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jul 17, 2013 (Introduced).

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2705

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 17, 2013

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

A BILL

To develop a pilot program to remove non-native predator fishes from the Stanislaus River to protect the native anadromous fishery resources affected by the operation of the New Melones Unit of the East Side Division of the Central Valley Project, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Stanislaus River Native Anadromous Fish Improvement Act .

2.

Pilot program to protect anadromous fish in the stanislaus river

(a)

Establishment of non-Native predator fish removal program

The Commissioner and districts, in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, shall jointly develop and conduct a pilot non-native predator fish removal program to remove non-native striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black bass, and other non-native predator fishes from the Stanislaus River. The pilot program shall—

(1)

be scientifically based;

(2)

include methods to quantify the number and size of predator fishes removed each year, the impact of such removal on the overall abundance of predator fishes, and the impact of such removal on the populations of juvenile anadromous fish found in the Stanislaus River by, among other things, evaluating the number of juvenile anadromous fish that migrate past the rotary screw trap located at Caswell;

(3)

use wire fyke trapping, portable resistance board weirs, and boat electrofishing, which are the most effective predator collection techniques that minimize affects to native anadromous fish;

(4)

be developed, including the application for all necessary scientific research and species enhancement permits under section 10(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 ( 16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(1) ), for the performance of the pilot program, not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act;

(5)

be implemented on the first business day of the calendar year following the issuance of all necessary scientific research and species enhancement permits needed to begin the pilot program; and

(6)

be implemented for a period of five consecutive calendar years.

(b)

Management

The management of the pilot program shall be the joint responsibility of the Commissioner and the districts. Such parties shall work collaboratively to insure the performance of the pilot program, and shall discuss and agree upon, among other things, changes in the structure, management, personnel, techniques, strategy, data collection, reporting, and conduct of the pilot program.

(c)

Conduct

(1)

In general

At the election of the districts, the pilot program may be conducted by their own personnel, qualified private contractors hired by the districts, personnel of, on loan to, or otherwise assigned to the Bureau of Reclamation, or a combination thereof.

(2)

Participation by bureau of reclamation

In the event the districts elect to conduct the program using their own personnel or qualified private contractors hired by them, the Commissioner has the option to assign an employee of, on loan to, or otherwise assigned to the Bureau of Reclamation, to be present for all activities performed in the field. Such presence shall insure compliance with the agreed upon elements specified in subsection (b). The districts shall pay 100 percent of the cost of such participation as specified in subsection (d).

(3)

Timing of Election

The districts shall notify the Commissioner of their election on or before October 15 of each calendar year of the pilot program, which election shall apply to the work performed in the subsequent calendar year.

(d)

Funding

(1)

Annual funding

The districts shall be responsible for 100 percent of the cost of the pilot program. On or before December 1 of each year of the pilot program, the Commissioner shall submit to the districts an estimate of the cost to be incurred by the Bureau of Reclamation in the following calendar year, if any, including the cost of any data collection and posting under subsection (e). If an amount equal to the estimate is not provided to the reclamation fund identified in section 3 of the Act of February 21, 1911 ( 43 U.S.C. 525 ), by the districts on or before December 31 of each year—

(A)

the Bureau of Reclamation shall have no obligation to conduct the pilot program activities otherwise scheduled until full payment is made by the districts; and

(B)

the districts shall be prohibited from conducting any aspect of the pilot program until full payment is made by the districts.

(2)

Accounting

On or before September 1 of each calendar year, the Commissioner shall provide an accounting of the prior calendar year’s expenses to the districts. If the estimate paid by the districts was less than the actual costs incurred by the Bureau of Reclamation, the districts shall have until September 30 of that calendar year to pay the difference to the reclamation fund. If the estimate paid by the districts was greater than the actual costs incurred by the Bureau of Reclamation, then a credit shall be provided to the districts, which shall be deducted from the estimate payment the districts must make for the work performed by the Bureau of Reclamation, if any, in the next calendar year.

(e)

Reporting and evaluation

(1)

In general

On or before the 15th day of each month, the Commissioner shall post on the Web site of the Bureau of Reclamation a tabular summary of the raw data collected in the prior month.

(2)

Report

On or before June 30 of the calendar year following the completion of the program, the Commissioner and districts shall jointly publish a peer reviewed report that—

(A)

discusses the findings and conclusions of the pilot program;

(B)

synthesizes the data collected under paragraph (1); and

(C)

makes recommendations for further study and action.

(f)

Permits process

(1)

Not later than 180 days after filing of an application by the Commissioner and the districts, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, or both, as appropriate, shall issue all necessary scientific research and species enhancement permits under section 10(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 153(9)(a)(1)), for the performance of the pilot program.

(2)

Any permit application that is not approved by the Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Commerce, or both, as appropriate, for any reason, within 180 days after receiving the application, shall be deemed approved.

(3)

All permits issued shall be in the name of the Bureau of Reclamation and the districts.

(4)

Districts may delegate the authority to administer the permit authority to any qualified private contractor retained in accordance with subsection (c).

(5)

The pilot program, including amendments thereto by the appropriate Federal and State agencies, shall constitute a conservation plan that complies with the requirements of section 10(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(2)).

(g)

NEPA

Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) shall not apply with respect to section 2 and the issuance of any permit under this subsection during the seven-year period beginning on the date of the implementation of the pilot program.

3.

Restrictions

Any restriction imposed under California law on the catch, take, or harvest of any non-native or introduced aquatic or terrestrial species that preys upon anadromous fish and that occupies or is found in the Stanislaus River is hereby void and is preempted.

4.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Act:

(1)

Anadromous fish

(A)

The term anadromous fish as applied to the Stanislaus River and the operation of New Melones—

(i)

means those native stocks of salmon (including steelhead) that—

(I)

as of October 30, 1992, were present in and had not been extirpated from the Stanislaus River; and

(II)

which ascend the Stanislaus River to reproduce after maturing in San Francisco Bay or the Pacific Ocean; and

(ii)

does not mean any stock, strain or member of American shad, sockeye salmon, or striped bass.

(B)

The definition of anadromous fish provided in section 3403(a) of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act ( Public Law 102–575 ) shall not apply to the operation of New Melones Dam and Reservoir, or to any Federal action in the Stanislaus River.

(2)

Commissioner

The term Commissioner means the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

(3)

Districts

The term districts means the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

(4)

Pilot program

The term pilot program means the pilot non-native predator removal program established under section 2(b).

5.

Sunset

This Act and the authorities provided under this Act shall expire 7 years after implementation of the pilot program begins.