H. R. 674
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating prehistoric, historic, and limestone forest sites on Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as a unit of the National Park System.
Short title; findings
This Act may be cited as the
Rota Cultural and Natural Resources Study Act
Congress finds as follows:
The island of Rota was the only major island in the Mariana Islands to be spared the destruction and large scale land use changes brought about by World War II.
The island of Rota has been described by professional archeologists as having the most numerous, most intact, and generally the most unique prehistoric sites of any of the islands of the Mariana Archipelago.
The island of Rota contains remaining examples of what is known as the Latte Phase of the cultural tradition of the indigenous Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands. Latte stone houses are remnants of the ancient Chamorro culture.
Four prehistoric sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Monchon Archeological District (also known locally as Monchon Latte Stone Village), Taga Latte Stone Quarry, the Dugi Archeological Site that contains latte stone structures, and the Chugai Pictograph Cave that contains examples of ancient Chamorro rock art. Alaguan Bay Ancient Village is another latte stone prehistoric site that is surrounded by tall-canopy limestone forest.
In addition to prehistoric sites, the island of Rota boasts historic sites remaining from the Japanese period (1914–1945). Several of these sites are on the National Register of Historic Places: Nanyo Kohatsu Kabushiki Kaisha Sugar Mill, Japanese Coastal Defense Gun, and the Japanese Hospital.
The island of Rota’s natural resources are significant because of the extent and intact condition of its native limestone forest that provides habitat for several federally endangered listed species, the Mariana crow, and the Rota bridled white-eye birds, that are also native to the island of Rota. Three endangered plant species are also found on Rota and two are endemic to the island.
Because of the significant cultural and natural resources listed above, on September 2005, the National Park Service, Pacific West Region, completed a preliminary resource assessment on the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which determined that the “establishment of a unit of the national park system appear[ed] to be the best way to ensure the long term protection of Rota’s most important cultural resources and its best examples of its native limestone forest.”.
NPS study of sites on the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The Secretary of the Interior shall—
carry out a study regarding the suitability and feasibility of designating prehistoric, historic, and limestone forest sites on the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as a unit of the National Park System; and
consider management alternatives for the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Study Process and Completion
Submission of Study Results
Not later than 3 years after the date that funds are made available for this section, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report describing the results of the study.
Passed the House of Representatives June 17, 2013.
Karen L. Haas,