H. R. 1904

One Hundred Eighth Congress of the United States of America

at the first session

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the seventh day of January, two thousand and three

 

An Act

To improve the capacity of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to conduct hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management lands aimed at protecting communities, watersheds, and certain other at-risk lands from catastrophic wildfire, to enhance efforts to protect watersheds and address threats to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire, across the landscape, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

 

(a) SHORT TITLE. — This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003’’.

(b) TABLE OFCONTENTS .—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

 

TITLE I — HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION ON FEDERAL LAND

Sec. 101. Definitions.

Sec. 102. Authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects.

Sec. 103. Prioritization.

Sec. 104. Environmental analysis.

Sec. 105. Special administrative review process.

Sec. 106. Judicial review in United States district courts.

Sec. 107. Effect of title.

Sec. 108. Authorization of appropriations.

 

TITLE II — BIOMASS

Sec. 201. Improved biomass use research program.

Sec. 202. Rural revitalization through forestry.

Sec. 203. Biomass commercial utilization grant program.

 

TITLE III — WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE

Sec. 301. Findings and purposes.

Sec. 302. Watershed forestry assistance program.

Sec. 303. Tribal watershed forestry assistance.

 

TITLE IV — INSECT INFESTATIONS AND RELATED DISEASES

Sec. 401. Findings and purpose.

Sec. 402. Definitions.

Sec. 403. Accelerated information gathering regarding forest-damaging insects.

Sec. 404. Applied silvicultural assessments.

Sec. 405. Relation to other laws.

Sec. 406. Authorization of appropriations.

 

TITLE V — HEALTHY FORESTS RESERVE PROGRAM

Sec. 501. Establishment of healthy forests reserve program.

Sec. 502. Eligibility and enrollment of lands in program.

Sec. 503. Restoration plans.

 

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Sec. 504. Financial assistance.

Sec. 505. Technical assistance.

Sec. 506. Protections and measures

Sec. 507. Involvement by other agencies and organizations.

Sec. 508. Authorization of appropriations.

 

TITLE VI — MISCELLANEOUS

Sec. 601. Forest stands inventory and monitoring program to improve detection of and response to environmental threats.

 

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

The purposes of this Act are —

(1) to reduce wildfire risk to communities, municipal water supplies, and other at-risk Federal land through a collaborative process of planning, prioritizing, and implementing hazardous fuel reduction projects;

(2) to authorize grant programs to improve the commercial value of forest biomass (that otherwise contributes to the risk of catastrophic fire or insect or disease infestation) for producing electric energy, useful heat, transportation fuel, and petroleum-based product substitutes, and for other commercial purposes;

(3) to enhance efforts to protect watersheds and address threats to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire, across the landscape;

(4) to promote systematic gathering of information to address the impact of insect and disease infestations and other damaging agents on forest and rangeland health;

(5) to improve the capacity to detect insect and disease infestations at an early stage, particularly with respect to hardwood forests; and

(6) to protect, restore, and enhance forest ecosystem components —

(A) to promote the recovery of threatened and endangered species;

(B) to improve biological diversity; and

(C) to enhance productivity and carbon sequestration.

 

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) FEDERAL LAND. —The term‘‘Federal land ’’ means —

(A) land of the National Forest System (as defined in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a))) administered by the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service; and

(B) public lands (as defined in section 103 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702)), the surface of which is administered by the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management.

(2) INDIAN TRIBE. — The term‘‘Indian tribe’’ has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).

 

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TITLE I — HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION ON FEDERAL LAND

SEC. 101. DEFINITIONS.

In this title:

(1) AT-RISK COMMUNITY. —The term‘‘at-risk community ’’ means an area —

(A) that is comprised of —

(i) an interface community as defined in the notice entitled‘‘Wildland Urban Interface Communities Within the Vicinity of Federal Lands That Are at High Risk From Wildfire ’’ issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with title IV of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 (114 Stat. 1009) (66 Fed. Reg. 753, January 4, 2001); or

(ii) a group of homes and other structures with

basic infrastructure and services (such as utilities and

collectively maintained transportation routes) within

or adjacent to Federal land;

(B) in which conditions are conducive to a large-scale

wildland fire disturbance event; and

(C) for which a significant threat to human life or

property exists as a result of a wildland fire disturbance

event.

(2) AUTHORIZED HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION PROJECT. —

The term‘‘authorized hazardous fuel reduction project ’’ means

the measures and methods described in the definition of‘‘appropriate

tools ’’ contained in the glossary of the Implementation

Plan, on Federal land described in section 102(a) and conducted

under sections 103 and 104.

(3) COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN. —The term

 ‘‘community wildfire protection plan ’’ means a plan for an atrisk

community that —

(A) is developed within the context of the collaborative

agreements and the guidance established by the Wildland

Fire Leadership Council and agreed to by the applicable

local government, local fire department, and State agency

responsible for forest management, in consultation with

interested parties and the Federal land management agencies

managing land in the vicinity of the at-risk community;

(B) identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel

reduction treatments and recommends the types and

methods of treatment on Federal and non-Federal land

that will protect 1 or more at-risk communities and essential

infrastructure; and

(C) recommends measures to reduce structural ignitability

throughout the at-risk community.

(4) CONDITION CLASS 2. —The term‘‘condition class 2 ’’, with

respect to an area of Federal land, means the condition class

description developed by the Forest Service Rocky Mountain

Research Station in the general technical report entitled

 ‘‘Development of Coarse-Scale Spatial Data for Wildland Fire

and Fuel Management ’’ (RMRS –87), dated April 2000 (including

any subsequent revision to the report), under which —

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(A) fire regimes on the land have been moderately

altered from historical ranges;

(B) there exists a moderate risk of losing key ecosystem

components from fire;

(C) fire frequencies have increased or decreased from

historical frequencies by 1 or more return intervals,

resulting in moderate changes to —

(i) the size, frequency, intensity, or severity of

fires; or

(ii) landscape patterns; and

(D) vegetation attributes have been moderately altered

from the historical range of the attributes.

(5) CONDITION CLASS 3. —The term‘‘condition class 3 ’’, with

respect to an area of Federal land, means the condition class

description developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station

in the general technical report referred to in paragraph (4)

(including any subsequent revision to the report), under

which —

(A) fire regimes on land have been significantly altered

from historical ranges;

(B) there exists a high risk of losing key ecosystem

components from fire;

(C) fire frequencies have departed from historical frequencies

by multiple return intervals, resulting in dramatic

changes to —

(i) the size, frequency, intensity, or severity of

fires; or

(ii) landscape patterns; and

(D) vegetation attributes have been significantly

altered from the historical range of the attributes.

(6) DAY. —The term‘‘day ’’ means —

(A) a calendar day; or

(B) if a deadline imposed by this title would expire

on a nonbusiness day, the end of the next business day.

(7) DECISION DOCUMENT. —The term‘‘decision document ’’

means —

(A) a decision notice (as that term is used in the

Forest Service Handbook);

(B) a decision record (as that term is used in the

Bureau of Land Management Handbook); and

(C) a record of decision (as that term is used in

applicable regulations of the Council on Environmental

Quality).

(8) FIRE REGIME I. —The term‘‘fire regime I ’’ means an

area —

(A) in which historically there have been low-severity

fires with a frequency of 0 through 35 years; and

(B) that is located primarily in low elevation forests

of pine, oak, or pinyon juniper.

(9) FIRE REGIME II. —The term‘‘fire regime II ’’ means an

area —

(A) in which historically there are stand replacement

severity fires with a frequency of 0 through 35 years;

and

(B) that is located primarily in low- to mid-elevation

rangeland, grassland, or shrubland.

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(10) FIRE REGIME III. —The term‘‘fire regime III ’’ means

an area —

(A) in which historically there are mixed severity fires

with a frequency of 35 through 100 years; and

(B) that is located primarily in forests of mixed conifer,

dry Douglas fir, or wet Ponderosa pine.

(11) IMPLEMENTATION PLAN. —The term‘‘Implementation

Plan ’’ means the Implementation Plan for the Comprehensive

Strategy for a Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland

Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment, dated May

2002, developed pursuant to the conference report to accompany

the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations

Act, 2001 (House Report No. 106 –64) (and subsequent

revisions).

(12) MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM. —The term‘‘municipal

water supply system ’’ means the reservoirs, canals, ditches,

flumes, laterals, pipes, pipelines, and other surface facilities

and systems constructed or installed for the collection, impoundment,

storage, transportation, or distribution of drinking water.

(13) RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN. —The term‘‘resource

management plan ’’ means —

(A) a land and resource management plan prepared

for 1 or more units of land of the National Forest System

described in section 3(1)(A) under section 6 of the Forest

and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974

(16 U.S.C. 1604); or

(B) a land use plan prepared for 1 or more units

of the public land described in section 3(1)(B) under section

202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of

1976 (43 U.S.C. 1712).

(14) SECRETARY. —The term‘‘Secretary ’’ means —

(A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to land

of the National Forest System described in section 3(1)(A);

and

(B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public

lands described in section 3(1)(B).

(15) THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES HABITAT. —The

term‘‘threatened and endangered species habitat ’’ means Federal

land identified in —

(A) a determination that a species is an endangered

species or a threatened species under the Endangered Species

Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);

(B) a designation of critical habitat of the species under

that Act; or

(C) a recovery plan prepared for the species under

that Act.

(16) WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE. —The term‘‘wildlandurban

interface ’’ means —

(A) an area within or adjacent to an at-risk community

that is identified in recommendations to the Secretary in

a community wildfire protection plan; or

(B) in the case of any area for which a community

wildfire protection plan is not in effect —

(i) an area extending 1⁄2-mile from the boundary

of an at-risk community;

(ii) an area within 11⁄2 miles of the boundary of

an at-risk community, including any land that—

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(I) has a sustained steep slope that creates

the potential for wildfire behavior endangering the

at-risk community;

(II) has a geographic feature that aids in creating

an effective fire break, such as a road or

ridge top; or

(III) is in condition class 3, as documented

by the Secretary in the project-specific environmental

analysis; and

(iii) an area that is adjacent to an evacuation

route for an at-risk community that the Secretary

determines, in cooperation with the at-risk community,

requires hazardous fuel reduction to provide safer

evacuation from the at-risk community.

SEC. 102. AUTHORIZED HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION PROJECTS.

(a) AUTHORIZED PROJECTS.—As soon as practicable after the

date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall implement authorized

hazardous fuel reduction projects, consistent with the

Implementation Plan, on—

(1) Federal land in wildland-urban interface areas;

(2) condition class 3 Federal land, in such proximity to

a municipal water supply system or a stream feeding such

a system within a municipal watershed that a significant risk

exists that a fire disturbance event would have adverse effects

on the water quality of the municipal water supply or the

maintenance of the system, including a risk to water quality

posed by erosion following such a fire disturbance event;

(3) condition class 2 Federal land located within fire regime

I, fire regime II, or fire regime III, in such proximity to a

municipal water supply system or a stream feeding such a

system within a municipal watershed that a significant risk

exists that a fire disturbance event would have adverse effects

on the water quality of the municipal water supply or the

maintenance of the system, including a risk to water quality

posed by erosion following such a fire disturbance event;

(4) Federal land on which windthrow or blowdown, ice

storm damage, the existence of an epidemic of disease or insects,

or the presence of such an epidemic on immediately adjacent

land and the imminent risk it will spread, poses a significant

threat to an ecosystem component, or forest or rangeland

resource, on the Federal land or adjacent non-Federal land;

and

(5) Federal land not covered by paragraphs (1) through

(4) that contains threatened and endangered species habitat,

if—

(A) natural fire regimes on that land are identified

as being important for, or wildfire is identified as a threat

to, an endangered species, a threatened species, or habitat

of an endangered species or threatened species in a species

recovery plan prepared under section 4 of the Endangered

Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533), or a notice published

in the Federal Register determining a species to be an

endangered species or a threatened species or designating

critical habitat;

(B) the authorized hazardous fuel reduction project

will provide enhanced protection from catastrophic wildfire

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for the endangered species, threatened species, or habitat

of the endangered species or threatened species; and

(C) the Secretary complies with any applicable guidelines

specified in any management or recovery plan

described in subparagraph (A).

(b) RELATION TO AGENCY PLANS.—An authorized hazardous

fuel reduction project shall be conducted consistent with the

resource management plan and other relevant administrative policies

or decisions applicable to the Federal land covered by the

project.

(c) ACREAGE LIMITATION.—Not more than a total of 20,000,000

acres of Federal land may be treated under authorized hazardous

fuel reduction projects.

(d) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN FEDERAL LAND.—The Secretary may

not conduct an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project that

would occur on—

(1) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation

System;

(2) Federal land on which the removal of vegetation is

prohibited or restricted by Act of Congress or Presidential

proclamation (including the applicable implementation plan);

or

(3) a Wilderness Study Area.

(e) OLD GROWTH STANDS.—

(1) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection and subsection (f):

(A) APPLICABLE PERIOD.—The term ‘‘applicable period’’

means—

(i) the 2-year period beginning on the date of enactment

of this Act; or

(ii) in the case of a resource management plan

that the Secretary is in the process of revising as

of the date of enactment of this Act, the 3-year period

beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.

(B) COVERED PROJECT.—The term ‘‘covered project’’

means an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project carried

out on land described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or

(5) of subsection (a).

(C) MANAGEMENT DIRECTION.—The term ‘‘management

direction’’ means definitions, designations, standards,

guidelines, goals, or objectives established for an old growth

stand under a resource management plan developed in

accordance with applicable law, including section 6(g)(3)(B)

of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning

Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(B)).

(D) OLD GROWTH STAND.—The term ‘‘old growth stand’’

has the meaning given the term under management direction

used pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (4), based on

the structure and composition characteristic of the forest

type, and in accordance with applicable law, including section

6(g)(3)(B) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable

Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(B)).

(2) PROJECT REQUIREMENTS.—In carrying out a covered

project, the Secretary shall fully maintain, or contribute toward

the restoration of, the structure and composition of old growth

stands according to the pre-fire suppression old growth conditions

characteristic of the forest type, taking into account the

contribution of the stand to landscape fire adaptation and

H. R. 1904—8

watershed health, and retaining the large trees contributing

to old growth structure.

(3) NEWER MANAGEMENT DIRECTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—If the management direction for an

old growth stand was established on or after December

15, 1993, the Secretary shall meet the requirements of

paragraph (2) in carrying out a covered project by implementing

the management direction.

(B) AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS.—Any amendment or

revision to management direction for which final administrative

approval is granted after the date of enactment

of this Act shall be consistent with paragraph (2) for the

purpose of carrying out covered projects.

(4) OLDER MANAGEMENT DIRECTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—If the management direction for an

old growth stand was established before December 15,

1993, the Secretary shall meet the requirements of paragraph

(2) in carrying out a covered project during the

applicable period by implementing the management direction.

(B) REVIEW REQUIRED.—Subject to subparagraph (C),

during the applicable period for management direction

referred to in subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall—

(i) review the management direction for affected

covered projects, taking into account any relevant scientific

information made available since the adoption

of the management direction; and

(ii) amend the management direction for affected

covered projects to be consistent with paragraph (2),

if necessary to reflect relevant scientific information

the Secretary did not consider in formulating the

management direction.

(C) REVIEW NOT COMPLETED.—If the Secretary does

not complete the review of the management direction in

accordance with subparagraph (B) before the end of the

applicable period, the Secretary shall not carry out any

portion of affected covered projects in stands that are

identified as old growth stands (based on substantial supporting

evidence) by any person during scoping, within

the period—

(i) beginning at the close of the applicable period

for the management direction governing the affected

covered projects; and

(ii) ending on the earlier of—

(I) the date the Secretary completes the action

required by subparagraph (B) for the management

direction applicable to the affected covered

projects; or

(II) the date on which the acreage limitation

specified in subsection (c) (as that limitation may

be adjusted by a subsequent Act of Congress) is

reached.

(5) LIMITATION TO COVERED PROJECTS.—Nothing in this

subsection requires the Secretary to revise or otherwise amend

a resource management plan to make the project requirements

of paragraph (2) apply to an activity other than a covered

project.

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(f) LARGE TREE RETENTION.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except in old growth stands where the

management direction is consistent with subsection (e)(2), the

Secretary shall carry out a covered project in a manner that—

(A) focuses largely on small diameter trees, thinning,

strategic fuel breaks, and prescribed fire to modify fire

behavior, as measured by the projected reduction of

uncharacteristically severe wildfire effects for the forest

type (such as adverse soil impacts, tree mortality or other

impacts); and

(B) maximizes the retention of large trees, as appropriate

for the forest type, to the extent that the trees

promote fire-resilient stands.

(2) WILDFIRE RISK.—Nothing in this subsection prevents

achievement of the purposes described in section 2(1).

(g) MONITORING AND ASSESSING FOREST AND RANGELAND

HEALTH.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each Forest Service administrative

region and each Bureau of Land Management State Office,

the Secretary shall—

(A) monitor the results of a representative sample of

the projects authorized under this title for each management

unit; and

(B) not later than 5 years after the date of enactment

of this Act, and each 5 years thereafter, issue a report

that includes—

(i) an evaluation of the progress towards project

goals; and

(ii) recommendations for modifications to the

projects and management treatments.

(2) CONSISTENCY OF PROJECTS WITH RECOMMENDATIONS.—

An authorized hazardous fuel reduction project approved following

the issuance of a monitoring report shall, to the maximum

extent practicable, be consistent with any applicable

recommendations in the report.

(3) SIMILAR VEGETATION TYPES.—The results of a monitoring

report shall be made available for use (if appropriate)

in an authorized hazardous fuels reduction project conducted

in a similar vegetation type on land under the jurisdiction

of the Secretary.

(4) MONITORING AND ASSESSMENTS.—Monitoring and

assessment shall include a description of the changes in condition

class, using the Fire Regime Condition Class Guidebook

or successor guidance, specifically comparing end results to—

(A) pretreatment conditions;

(B) historical fire regimes; and

(C) any applicable watershed or landscape goals or

objectives in the resource management plan or other relevant

direction.

(5) MULTIPARTY MONITORING.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In an area where significant interest

is expressed in multiparty monitoring, the Secretary shall

establish a multiparty monitoring, evaluation, and accountability

process in order to assess the positive or negative

ecological and social effects of authorized hazardous fuel

reduction projects and projects conducted pursuant to section

404.

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(B) DIVERSE STAKEHOLDERS.—The Secretary shall

include diverse stakeholders (including interested citizens

and Indian tribes) in the process required under subparagraph

(A).

(C) FUNDING.—Funds to carry out this paragraph may

be derived from operations funds for projects described

in subparagraph (A).

(6) COLLECTION OF MONITORING DATA.—The Secretary may

collect monitoring data by entering into cooperative agreements

or contracts with, or providing grants to, small or microbusinesses,

cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, Youth Conservation

Corps work crews, or related State, local, and other

non-Federal conservation corps.

(7) TRACKING.—For each administrative unit, the Secretary

shall track acres burned, by the degree of severity, by large

wildfires (as defined by the Secretary).

(8) MONITORING AND MAINTENANCE OF TREATED AREAS.—

The Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable,

develop a process for monitoring the need for maintenance

of treated areas, over time, in order to preserve the forest

health benefits achieved.

SEC. 103. PRIORITIZATION.

(a) IN GENERAL.—In accordance with the Implementation Plan,

the Secretary shall develop an annual program of work for Federal

land that gives priority to authorized hazardous fuel reduction

projects that provide for the protection of at-risk communities or

watersheds or that implement community wildfire protection plans.

(b) COLLABORATION.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall consider recommendations

under subsection (a) that are made by at-risk

communities that have developed community wildfire protection

plans.

(2) EXEMPTION.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5

U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the planning process and recommendations

concerning community wildfire protection plans.

(c) ADMINISTRATION.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Federal agency involvement in developing

a community wildfire protection plan, or a recommendation

made in a community wildfire protection plan, shall not be

considered a Federal agency action under the National Environmental

Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(2) COMPLIANCE.—In implementing authorized hazardous

fuel reduction projects on Federal land, the Secretary shall,

in accordance with section 104, comply with the National

Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(d) FUNDING ALLOCATION.—

(1) FEDERAL LAND.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary

shall use not less than 50 percent of the funds

allocated for authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects

in the wildland-urban interface.

(B) APPLICABILITY AND ALLOCATION.—The funding

allocation in subparagraph (A) shall apply at the national

level. The Secretary may allocate the proportion of funds

differently than is required under subparagraph (A) within

individual management units as appropriate, in particular

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to conduct authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects

on land described in section 102(a)(4).

(C) WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE.—In the case of an

authorized hazardous fuel reduction project for which a

decision notice is issued during the 1-year period beginning

on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall

use existing definitions of the term ‘‘wildland-urban interface’’

rather than the definition of that term provided under

section 101.

(2) NON-FEDERAL LAND.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In providing financial assistance

under any provision of law for hazardous fuel reduction

projects on non-Federal land, the Secretary shall consider

recommendations made by at-risk communities that have

developed community wildfire protection plans.

(B) PRIORITY.—In allocating funding under this paragraph,

the Secretary should, to the maximum extent practicable,

give priority to communities that have adopted

a community wildfire protection plan or have taken

proactive measures to encourage willing property owners

to reduce fire risk on private property.

SEC. 104. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS.

(a) AUTHORIZED HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION PROJECTS.—

Except as otherwise provided in this title, the Secretary shall conduct

authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects in accordance

with—

(1) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42

U.S.C. 4331 et seq.); and

(2) other applicable laws.

(b) ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

STATEMENT.—The Secretary shall prepare an environmental assessment

or an environmental impact statement pursuant to section

102(2) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C.

4332(2)) for each authorized hazardous fuel reduction project.

(c) CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (d), in

the environmental assessment or environmental impact statement

prepared under subsection (b), the Secretary shall study,

develop, and describe—

(A) the proposed agency action;

(B) the alternative of no action; and

(C) an additional action alternative, if the additional

alternative—

(i) is proposed during scoping or the collaborative

process under subsection (f); and

(ii) meets the purpose and need of the project,

in accordance with regulations promulgated by the

Council on Environmental Quality.

(2) MULTIPLE ADDITIONAL ALTERNATIVES.—If more than 1

additional alternative is proposed under paragraph (1)(C), the

Secretary shall—

(A) select which additional alternative to consider,

which is a choice that is in the sole discretion of the

Secretary; and

(B) provide a written record describing the reasons

for the selection.

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(d) ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS PROCESS FOR PROJECTS IN

WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE.—

(1) PROPOSED AGENCY ACTION AND 1 ACTION ALTERNATIVE.—

For an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project that is

proposed to be conducted in the wildland-urban interface, the

Secretary is not required to study, develop, or describe more

than the proposed agency action and 1 action alternative in

the environmental assessment or environmental impact statement

prepared pursuant to section 102(2) of the National

Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)).

(2) PROPOSED AGENCY ACTION.—Notwithstanding paragraph

(1), but subject to paragraph (3), if an authorized hazardous

fuel reduction project proposed to be conducted in the

wildland-urban interface is located no further than 11⁄2 miles

from the boundary of an at-risk community, the Secretary

is not required to study, develop, or describe any alternative

to the proposed agency action in the environmental assessment

or environmental impact statement prepared pursuant to section

102(2) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

(42 U.S.C. 4332(2)).

(3) PROPOSED AGENCY ACTION AND COMMUNITY WILDFIRE

PROTECTION PLAN ALTERNATIVE.—In the case of an authorized

hazardous fuel reduction project described in paragraph (2),

if the at-risk community has adopted a community wildfire

protection plan and the proposed agency action does not implement

the recommendations in the plan regarding the general

location and basic method of treatments, the Secretary shall

evaluate the recommendations in the plan as an alternative

to the proposed agency action in the environmental assessment

or environmental impact statement prepared pursuant to section

102(2) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

(42 U.S.C. 4332(2)).

(e) PUBLIC NOTICE AND MEETING.—

(1) PUBLIC NOTICE.—The Secretary shall provide notice of

each authorized hazardous fuel reduction project in accordance

with applicable regulations and administrative guidelines.

(2) PUBLIC MEETING.—During the preparation stage of each

authorized hazardous fuel reduction project, the Secretary

shall—

(A) conduct a public meeting at an appropriate location

proximate to the administrative unit of the Federal land

on which the authorized hazardous fuel reduction project

will be conducted; and

(B) provide advance notice of the location, date, and

time of the meeting.

(f) PUBLIC COLLABORATION.—In order to encourage meaningful

public participation during preparation of authorized hazardous

fuel reduction projects, the Secretary shall facilitate collaboration

among State and local governments and Indian tribes, and participation

of interested persons, during the preparation of each authorized

fuel reduction project in a manner consistent with the

Implementation Plan.

(g) ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND PUBLIC COMMENT.—In

accordance with section 102(2) of the National Environmental Policy

Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)) and the applicable regulations

H. R. 1904—13

and administrative guidelines, the Secretary shall provide an opportunity

for public comment during the preparation of any environmental

assessment or environmental impact statement for an

authorized hazardous fuel reduction project.

(h) DECISION DOCUMENT.—The Secretary shall sign a decision

document for authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects and provide

notice of the final agency actions.

SEC. 105. SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESS.

(a) INTERIM FINAL REGULATIONS.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 30 days after the date

of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall

promulgate interim final regulations to establish a predecisional

administrative review process for the period described in paragraph

(2) that will serve as the sole means by which a person

can seek administrative review regarding an authorized hazardous

fuel reduction project on Forest Service land.

(2) PERIOD.—The predecisional administrative review

process required under paragraph (1) shall occur during the

period—

(A) beginning after the completion of the environmental

assessment or environmental impact statement; and

(B) ending not later than the date of the issuance

of the final decision approving the project.

(3) ELIGIBILITY.—To be eligible to participate in the

administrative review process for an authorized hazardous fuel

reduction project under paragraph (1), a person shall submit

to the Secretary, during scoping or the public comment period

for the draft environmental analysis for the project, specific

written comments that relate to the proposed action.

(4) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The interim final regulations promulgated

under paragraph (1) shall take effect on the date of

promulgation of the regulations.

(b) FINAL REGULATIONS.—The Secretary shall promulgate final

regulations to establish the process described in subsection (a)(1)

after the interim final regulations have been published and reasonable

time has been provided for public comment.

(c) ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A person may bring a civil action challenging

an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project in a

Federal district court only if the person has challenged the

authorized hazardous fuel reduction project by exhausting—

(A) the administrative review process established by

the Secretary of Agriculture under this section; or

(B) the administrative hearings and appeals procedures

established by the Department of the Interior.

(2) ISSUES.—An issue may be considered in the judicial

review of an action under section 106 only if the issue was

raised in an administrative review process described in paragraph

(1).

(3) EXCEPTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—An exception to the requirement of

exhausting the administrative review process before

seeking judicial review shall be available if a Federal court

finds that the futility or inadequacy exception applies to

a specific plaintiff or claim.

H. R. 1904—14

(B) INFORMATION.—If an agency fails or is unable to

make information timely available during the administrative

review process, a court should evaluate whether the

administrative review process was inadequate for claims

or issues to which the information is material.

SEC. 106. JUDICIAL REVIEW IN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS.

(a) VENUE.—Notwithstanding section 1391 of title 28, United

States Code, or other applicable law, an authorized hazardous fuels

reduction project conducted under this title shall be subject to

judicial review only in the United States district court for a district

in which the Federal land to be treated under the authorized

hazardous fuels reduction project is located.

(b) EXPEDITIOUS COMPLETION OF JUDICIAL REVIEW.—In the

judicial review of an action challenging an authorized hazardous

fuel reduction project under subsection (a), Congress encourages

a court of competent jurisdiction to expedite, to the maximum

extent practicable, the proceedings in the action with the goal

of rendering a final determination on jurisdiction, and (if jurisdiction

exists) a final determination on the merits, as soon as practicable

after the date on which a complaint or appeal is filed to initiate

the action.

(c) INJUNCTIONS.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), the length of

any preliminary injunctive relief and stays pending appeal

covering an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project carried

out under this title shall not exceed 60 days.

(2) RENEWAL.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A court of competent jurisdiction

may issue 1 or more renewals of any preliminary injunction,

or stay pending appeal, granted under paragraph

(1).

(B) UPDATES.—In each renewal of an injunction in

an action, the parties to the action shall present the court

with updated information on the status of the authorized

hazardous fuel reduction project.

(3) BALANCING OF SHORT- AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS.—As

part of its weighing the equities while considering any request

for an injunction that applies to an agency action under an

authorized hazardous fuel reduction project, the court reviewing

the project shall balance the impact to the ecosystem likely

affected by the project of—

(A) the short- and long-term effects of undertaking

the agency action; against

(B) the short- and long-term effects of not undertaking

the agency action.

SEC. 107. EFFECT OF TITLE.

(a) OTHER AUTHORITY.—Nothing in this title affects, or otherwise

biases, the use by the Secretary of other statutory or administrative

authority (including categorical exclusions adopted to implement

the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C.

4321 et seq.)) to conduct a hazardous fuel reduction project on

Federal land (including Federal land identified in section 102(d))

that is not conducted using the process authorized by section 104.

(b) NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM.—For projects and activities of

the National Forest System other than authorized hazardous fuel

reduction projects, nothing in this title affects, or otherwise biases,

H. R. 1904—15

the notice, comment, and appeal procedures for projects and activities

of the National Forest System contained in part 215 of title

36, Code of Federal Regulations, or the consideration or disposition

of any legal action brought with respect to the procedures.

SEC. 108. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There is authorized to be appropriated $760,000,000 for each

fiscal year to carry out—

(1) activities authorized by this title; and

(2) other hazardous fuel reduction activities of the Secretary,

including making grants to States, local governments,

Indian tribes, and other eligible recipients for activities authorized

by law.

TITLE II—BIOMASS

SEC. 201. IMPROVED BIOMASS USE RESEARCH PROGRAM.

(a) USES OF GRANTS, CONTRACTS, AND ASSISTANCE.—Section

307(d) of the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000 (7

U.S.C. 7624 note; Public Law 106–224) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (3), by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end;

(2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end

and inserting ‘‘; or’’; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

‘‘(5) research to integrate silviculture, harvesting, product

development, processing information, and economic evaluation

to provide the science, technology, and tools to forest managers

and community developers for use in evaluating forest treatment

and production alternatives, including—

‘‘(A) to develop tools that would enable land managers,

locally or in a several-State region, to estimate—

‘‘(i) the cost to deliver varying quantities of wood

to a particular location; and

‘‘(ii) the amount that could be paid for stumpage

if delivered wood was used for a specific mix of products;

‘‘(B) to conduct research focused on developing appropriate

thinning systems and equipment designs that are—

‘‘(i) capable of being used on land without significant

adverse effects on the land;

‘‘(ii) capable of handling large and varied landscapes;

‘‘(iii) adaptable to handling a wide variety of tree

sizes;

‘‘(iv) inexpensive; and

‘‘(v) adaptable to various terrains; and

‘‘(C) to develop, test, and employ in the training of

forestry managers and community developers curricula

materials and training programs on matters described in

subparagraphs (A) and (B).’’.

(b) FUNDING.—Section 310(b) of the Biomass Research and

Development Act of 2000 (7 U.S.C. 7624 note; Public Law 106–

224) is amended by striking ‘‘$49,000,000’’ and inserting

‘‘$54,000,000’’.

H. R. 1904—16

SEC. 202. RURAL REVITALIZATION THROUGH FORESTRY.

Section 2371 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade

Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6601) is amended by adding at the end

the following:

‘‘(d) RURAL REVITALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture, acting

through the Chief of the Forest Service, in consultation with

the State and Private Forestry Technology Marketing Unit

at the Forest Products Laboratory, and in collaboration with

eligible institutions, may carry out a program—

‘‘(A) to accelerate adoption of technologies using biomass

and small-diameter materials;

‘‘(B) to create community-based enterprises through

marketing activities and demonstration projects; and

‘‘(C) to establish small-scale business enterprises to

make use of biomass and small-diameter materials.

‘‘(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized

to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $5,000,000

for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.’’.

SEC. 203. BIOMASS COMMERCIAL UTILIZATION GRANT PROGRAM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—In addition to any other authority of the

Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to a person that owns

or operates a facility that uses biomass as a raw material to

produce electric energy, sensible heat, transportation fuel, or substitutes

for petroleum-based products, the Secretary may make

grants to a person that owns or operates a facility that uses biomass

for wood-based products or other commercial purposes to offset

the costs incurred to purchase biomass.

(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized

to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each

of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

TITLE III—WATERSHED FORESTRY

ASSISTANCE

SEC. 301. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) FINDINGS.—Congress finds that—

(1) there has been a dramatic shift in public attitudes

and perceptions about forest management, particularly in the

understanding and practice of sustainable forest management;

(2) it is commonly recognized that the proper stewardship

of forest land is essential to sustaining and restoring the health

of watersheds;

(3) forests can provide essential ecological services in filtering

pollutants, buffering important rivers and estuaries, and

minimizing flooding, which makes forest restoration worthy

of special focus; and

(4) strengthened education, technical assistance, and financial

assistance for nonindustrial private forest landowners and

communities, relating to the protection of watershed health,

is needed to realize the expectations of the general public.

(b) PURPOSES.—The purposes of this title are—

(1) to improve landowner and public understanding of the

connection between forest management and watershed health;

H. R. 1904—17

(2) to encourage landowners to maintain tree cover on

property and to use tree plantings and vegetative treatments

as creative solutions to watershed problems associated with

varying land uses;

(3) to enhance and complement forest management and

buffer use for watersheds, with an emphasis on community

watersheds;

(4) to establish new partnerships and collaborative watershed

approaches to forest management, stewardship, and conservation;

(5) to provide technical and financial assistance to States

to deliver a coordinated program that enhances State forestry

best-management practices programs, and conserves and

improves forested land and potentially forested land, through

technical, financial, and educational assistance to qualifying

individuals and entities; and

(6) to maximize the proper management and conservation

of wetland forests and to assist in the restoration of those

forests.

SEC. 302. WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 is amended

by inserting after section 5 (16 U.S.C. 2103a) the following:

‘‘SEC. 6. WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

‘‘(a) DEFINITION OF NONINDUSTRIAL PRIVATE FOREST LAND.—

In this section, the term ‘nonindustrial private forest land’ means

rural land, as determined by the Secretary, that—

‘‘(1) has existing tree cover or that is suitable for growing

trees; and

‘‘(2) is owned by any nonindustrial private individual,

group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity,

that has definitive decisionmaking authority over the land.

‘‘(b) GENERAL AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE.—The Secretary, acting

through the Chief of the Forest Service and (where appropriate)

through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension

Service, may provide technical, financial, and related assistance

to State foresters, equivalent State officials, or Cooperative Extension

officials at land grant colleges and universities and 1890

institutions for the purpose of expanding State forest stewardship

capacities and activities through State forestry best-management

practices and other means at the State level to address watershed

issues on non-Federal forested land and potentially forested land.

‘‘(c) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in cooperation with State

foresters or equivalent State officials, shall engage interested

members of the public, including nonprofit organizations and

local watershed councils, to develop a program of technical

assistance to protect water quality described in paragraph (2).

‘‘(2) PURPOSE OF PROGRAM.—The program under this subsection

shall be designed—

‘‘(A) to build and strengthen watershed partnerships

that focus on forested landscapes at the State, regional,

and local levels;

‘‘(B) to provide State forestry best-management practices

and water quality technical assistance directly to

owners of nonindustrial private forest land;

H. R. 1904—18

‘‘(C) to provide technical guidance to land managers

and policymakers for water quality protection through

forest management;

‘‘(D) to complement State and local efforts to protect

water quality and provide enhanced opportunities for consultation

and cooperation among Federal and State agencies

charged with responsibility for water and watershed

management; and

‘‘(E) to provide enhanced forest resource data and support

for improved implementation and monitoring of State

forestry best-management practices.

‘‘(3) IMPLEMENTATION.—In the case of a participating State,

the program of technical assistance shall be implemented by

State foresters or equivalent State officials.

‘‘(d) WATERSHED FORESTRY COST-SHARE PROGRAM.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a watershed

forestry cost-share program—

‘‘(A) which shall be—

‘‘(i) administered by the Forest Service; and

‘‘(ii) implemented by State foresters or equivalent

State officials in participating States; and

‘‘(B) under which funds or other support provided to

participating States shall be made available for State forestry

best-management practices programs and watershed

forestry projects.

‘‘(2) WATERSHED FORESTRY PROJECTS.—The State forester,

an equivalent State official of a participating State, or a

Cooperative Extension official at a land grant college or university

or 1890 institution, in coordination with the State Forest

Stewardship Coordinating Committee established under section

19(b) (or an equivalent committee) for that State, shall make

awards to communities, nonprofit groups, and owners of nonindustrial

private forest land under the program for watershed

forestry projects described in paragraph (3).

‘‘(3) PROJECT ELEMENTS AND OBJECTIVES.—A watershed forestry

project shall accomplish critical forest stewardship, watershed

protection, and restoration needs within a State by demonstrating

the value of trees and forests to watershed health

and condition through—

‘‘(A) the use of trees as solutions to water quality

problems in urban and rural areas;

‘‘(B) community-based planning, involvement, and

action through State, local, and nonprofit partnerships;

‘‘(C) application of and dissemination of monitoring

information on forestry best-management practices relating

to watershed forestry;

‘‘(D) watershed-scale forest management activities and

conservation planning; and

‘‘(E)(i) the restoration of wetland (as defined by the

States) and stream-side forests; and

‘‘(ii) the establishment of riparian vegetative buffers.

‘‘(4) COST-SHARING.—

‘‘(A) FEDERAL SHARE.—

‘‘(i) FUNDS UNDER THIS SUBSECTION.—Funds provided

under this subsection for a watershed forestry

project may not exceed 75 percent of the cost of the

project.

H. R. 1904—19

‘‘(ii) OTHER FEDERAL FUNDS.—The percentage of

the cost of a project described in clause (i) that is

not covered by funds made available under this subsection

may be paid using other Federal funding

sources, except that the total Federal share of the

costs of the project may not exceed 90 percent.

‘‘(B) FORM.—The non-Federal share of the costs of a

project may be provided in the form of cash, services,

or other in-kind contributions.

‘‘(5) PRIORITIZATION.—The State Forest Stewardship

Coordinating Committee for a State, or equivalent State committee,

shall prioritize watersheds in that State to target watershed

forestry projects funded under this subsection.

‘‘(6) WATERSHED FORESTER.—Financial and technical assistance

shall be made available to the State Forester or equivalent

State official to create a State watershed or best-management

practice forester position to—

‘‘(A) lead statewide programs; and

‘‘(B) coordinate watershed-level projects.

‘‘(e) DISTRIBUTION.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Of the funds made available for a fiscal

year under subsection (g), the Secretary shall use—

‘‘(A) at least 75 percent of the funds to carry out

the cost-share program under subsection (d); and

‘‘(B) the remainder of the funds to deliver technical

assistance, education, and planning, at the local level,

through the State Forester or equivalent State official.

‘‘(2) SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS.—Distribution of funds by

the Secretary among States under paragraph (1) shall be made

only after giving appropriate consideration to—

‘‘(A) the acres of agricultural land, nonindustrial private

forest land, and highly erodible land in each State;

‘‘(B) the miles of riparian buffer needed;

‘‘(C) the miles of impaired stream segments and other

impaired water bodies where forestry practices can be used

to restore or protect water resources;

‘‘(D) the number of owners of nonindustrial private

forest land in each State; and

‘‘(E) water quality cost savings that can be achieved

through forest watershed management.

‘‘(f) WILLING OWNERS.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Participation of an owner of nonindustrial

private forest land in the watershed forestry assistance

program under this section is voluntary.

‘‘(2) WRITTEN CONSENT.—The watershed forestry assistance

program shall not be carried out on nonindustrial private forest

land without the written consent of the owner of, or entity

having definitive decisionmaking over, the nonindustrial private

forest land.

‘‘(g) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized

to be appropriated to carry out this section $15,000,000 for each

of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.’’.

SEC. 303. TRIBAL WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to

in this section as the ‘‘Secretary’’), acting through the Chief of

the Forest Service, shall provide technical, financial, and related

H. R. 1904—20

assistance to Indian tribes for the purpose of expanding tribal

stewardship capacities and activities through tribal forestry bestmanagement

practices and other means at the tribal level to address

watershed issues on land under the jurisdiction of or administered

by the Indian tribes.

(b) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in cooperation with Indian

tribes, shall develop a program to provide technical assistance

to protect water quality, as described in paragraph (2).

(2) PURPOSE OF PROGRAM.—The program under this subsection

shall be designed—

(A) to build and strengthen watershed partnerships

that focus on forested landscapes at the State, regional,

tribal, and local levels;

(B) to provide tribal forestry best-management practices

and water quality technical assistance directly to

Indian tribes;

(C) to provide technical guidance to tribal land managers

and policy makers for water quality protection

through forest management;

(D) to complement tribal efforts to protect water quality

and provide enhanced opportunities for consultation and

cooperation among Federal agencies and tribal entities

charged with responsibility for water and watershed

management; and

(E) to provide enhanced forest resource data and support

for improved implementation and monitoring of tribal

forestry best-management practices.

(c) WATERSHED FORESTRY PROGRAM.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a watershed

forestry program in cooperation with Indian tribes.

(2) PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS.—Funds or other support provided

under the program shall be made available for tribal

forestry best-management practices programs and watershed

forestry projects.

(3) ANNUAL AWARDS.—The Secretary shall annually make

awards to Indian tribes to carry out this subsection.

(4) PROJECT ELEMENTS AND OBJECTIVES.—A watershed forestry

project shall accomplish critical forest stewardship, watershed

protection, and restoration needs within land under the

jurisdiction of or administered by an Indian tribe by demonstrating

the value of trees and forests to watershed health

and condition through—

(A) the use of trees as solutions to water quality problems;

(B) application of and dissemination of monitoring

information on forestry best-management practices relating

to watershed forestry;

(C) watershed-scale forest management activities and

conservation planning;

(D) the restoration of wetland and stream-side forests

and the establishment of riparian vegetative buffers; and

(E) tribal-based planning, involvement, and action

through State, tribal, local, and nonprofit partnerships.

(5) PRIORITIZATION.—An Indian tribe that participates in

the program under this subsection shall prioritize watersheds

in land under the jurisdiction of or administered by the Indian

H. R. 1904—21

tribe to target watershed forestry projects funded under this

subsection.

(6) WATERSHED FORESTER.—The Secretary may provide to

Indian tribes under this section financial and technical assistance

to establish a position of tribal forester to lead tribal

programs and coordinate small watershed-level projects.

(d) DISTRIBUTION.—The Secretary shall devote—

(1) at least 75 percent of the funds made available for

a fiscal year under subsection (e) to the program under subsection

(c); and

(2) the remainder of the funds to deliver technical assistance,

education, and planning in the field to Indian tribes.

(e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized

to be appropriated to carry out this section $2,500,000 for each

of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

TITLE IV—INSECT INFESTATIONS AND

RELATED DISEASES

SEC. 401. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) FINDINGS.—Congress finds that—

(1) high levels of tree mortality resulting from insect

infestation (including the interaction between insects and diseases)

may result in—

(A) increased fire risk;

(B) loss of old trees and old growth;

(C) loss of threatened and endangered species;

(D) loss of species diversity;

(E) degraded watershed conditions;

(F) increased potential for damage from other agents

of disturbance, including exotic, invasive species; and

(G) decreased timber values;

(2)(A) forest-damaging insects destroy hundreds of thousands

of acres of trees each year;

(B) in the West, more than 21,000,000 acres are at high

risk of forest-damaging insect infestation, and in the South,

more than 57,000,000 acres are at risk across all land ownerships;

and

(C) severe drought conditions in many areas of the South

and West will increase the risk of forest-damaging insect

infestations;

(3) the hemlock woolly adelgid is—

(A) destroying streamside forests throughout the mid-

Atlantic and Appalachian regions;

(B) threatening water quality and sensitive aquatic

species; and

(C) posing a potential threat to valuable commercial

timber land in northern New England;

(4)(A) the emerald ash borer is a nonnative, invasive pest

that has quickly become a major threat to hardwood forests

because an emerald ash borer infestation is almost always

fatal to affected trees; and

(B) the emerald ash borer pest threatens to destroy more

than 692,000,000 ash trees in forests in Michigan and Ohio

alone, and between 5 and 10 percent of urban street trees

in the Upper Midwest;

H. R. 1904—22

(5)(A) epidemic populations of Southern pine beetles are

ravaging forests in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,

Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,

and Virginia; and

(B) in 2001, Florida and Kentucky experienced 146 percent

and 111 percent increases, respectively, in Southern pine beetle

populations;

(6) those epidemic outbreaks of Southern pine beetles have

forced private landowners to harvest dead and dying trees,

in rural areas and increasingly urbanized settings;

(7) according to the Forest Service, recent outbreaks of

the red oak borer in Arkansas and Missouri have been unprecedented,

with more than 1,000,000 acres infested at population

levels never seen before;

(8) much of the damage from the red oak borer has taken

place in national forests, and the Federal response has been

inadequate to protect forest ecosystems and other ecological

and economic resources;

(9)(A) previous silvicultural assessments, while useful and

informative, have been limited in scale and scope of application;

and

(B) there have not been sufficient resources available to

adequately test a full array of individual and combined applied

silvicultural assessments;

(10) only through the full funding, development, and assessment

of potential applied silvicultural assessments over specific

time frames across an array of environmental and climatic

conditions can the most innovative and cost effective management

applications be determined that will help reduce the

susceptibility of forest ecosystems to attack by forest pests;

(11)(A) often, there are significant interactions between

insects and diseases;

(B) many diseases (such as white pine blister rust, beech

bark disease, and many other diseases) can weaken trees and

forest stands and predispose trees and forest stands to insect

attack; and

(C) certain diseases are spread using insects as vectors

(including Dutch elm disease and pine pitch canker); and

(12) funding and implementation of an initiative to combat

forest pest infestations and associated diseases should not come

at the expense of supporting other programs and initiatives

of the Secretary.

(b) PURPOSES.—The purposes of this title are—

(1) to require the Secretary to develop an accelerated basic

and applied assessment program to combat infestations by

forest-damaging insects and associated diseases;

(2) to enlist the assistance of colleges and universities

(including forestry schools, land grant colleges and universities,

and 1890 Institutions), State agencies, and private landowners

to carry out the program; and

(3) to carry out applied silvicultural assessments.

SEC. 402. DEFINITIONS.

In this title:

(1) APPLIED SILVICULTURAL ASSESSMENT.—

H. R. 1904—23

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘applied silvicultural

assessment’’ means any vegetative or other treatment carried

out for information gathering and research purposes.

(B) INCLUSIONS.—The term ‘‘applied silvicultural

assessment’’ includes timber harvesting, thinning, prescribed

burning, pruning, and any combination of those

activities.

(2) 1890 INSTITUTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘1890 Institution’’ means

a college or university that is eligible to receive funds

under the Act of August 30, 1890 (7 U.S.C. 321 et seq.).

(B) INCLUSION.—The term ‘‘1890 Institution’’ includes

Tuskegee University.

(3) FOREST-DAMAGING INSECT.—The term ‘‘forest-damaging

insect’’ means—

(A) a Southern pine beetle;

(B) a mountain pine beetle;

(C) a spruce bark beetle;

(D) a gypsy moth;

(E) a hemlock woolly adelgid;

(F) an emerald ash borer;

(G) a red oak borer;

(H) a white oak borer; and

(I) such other insects as may be identified by the

Secretary.

(4) SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Secretary’’ means—

(A) the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the

Forest Service, with respect to National Forest System

land; and

(B) the Secretary of the Interior, acting through appropriate

offices of the United States Geological Survey, with

respect to federally owned land administered by the Secretary

of the Interior.

SEC. 403. ACCELERATED INFORMATION GATHERING REGARDING

FOREST-DAMAGING INSECTS.

(a) INFORMATION GATHERING.—The Secretary, acting through

the Forest Service and United States Geological Survey, as appropriate,

shall establish an accelerated program—

(1) to plan, conduct, and promote comprehensive and

systematic information gathering on forest-damaging insects

and associated diseases, including an evaluation of—

(A) infestation prevention and suppression methods;

(B) effects of infestations and associated disease interactions

on forest ecosystems;

(C) restoration of forest ecosystem efforts;

(D) utilization options regarding infested trees; and

(E) models to predict the occurrence, distribution, and

impact of outbreaks of forest-damaging insects and associated

diseases;

(2) to assist land managers in the development of treatments

and strategies to improve forest health and reduce the

susceptibility of forest ecosystems to severe infestations of

forest-damaging insects and associated diseases on Federal land

and State and private land; and

(3) to disseminate the results of the information gathering,

treatments, and strategies.

H. R. 1904—24

(b) COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE.—The Secretary shall—

(1) establish and carry out the program in cooperation

with—

(A) scientists from colleges and universities (including

forestry schools, land grant colleges and universities, and

1890 Institutions);

(B) Federal, State, and local agencies; and

(C) private and industrial landowners; and

(2) designate such colleges and universities to assist in

carrying out the program.

SEC. 404. APPLIED SILVICULTURAL ASSESSMENTS.

(a) ASSESSMENT EFFORTS.—For information gathering and

research purposes, the Secretary may conduct applied silvicultural

assessments on Federal land that the Secretary determines is at

risk of infestation by, or is infested with, forest-damaging insects.

(b) LIMITATIONS.—

(1) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN AREAS.—Subsection (a) does not

apply to—

(A) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation

System;

(B) any Federal land on which, by Act of Congress

or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation

is restricted or prohibited;

(C) a congressionally-designated wilderness study area;

or

(D) an area in which activities under subsection (a)

would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource

management plan.

(2) CERTAIN TREATMENT PROHIBITED.—Nothing in subsection

(a) authorizes the application of insecticides in municipal

watersheds or associated riparian areas.

(3) PEER REVIEW.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Before being carried out, each

applied silvicultural assessment under this title shall be

peer reviewed by scientific experts selected by the Secretary,

which shall include non-Federal experts.

(B) EXISTING PEER REVIEW PROCESSES.—The Secretary

may use existing peer review processes to the extent the

processes comply with subparagraph (A).

(c) PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENT.—

(1) PUBLIC NOTICE.—The Secretary shall provide notice of

each applied silvicultural assessment proposed to be carried

out under this section.

(2) PUBLIC COMMENT.—The Secretary shall provide an

opportunity for public comment before carrying out an applied

silviculture assessment under this section.

(d) CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Applied silvicultural assessment and

research treatments carried out under this section on not more

than 1,000 acres for an assessment or treatment may be categorically

excluded from documentation in an environmental

impact statement and environmental assessment under the

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321

et seq.).

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(2) ADMINISTRATION.—Applied silvicultural assessments

and research treatments categorically excluded under paragraph

(1)—

(A) shall not be carried out in an area that is adjacent

to another area that is categorically excluded under paragraph

(1) that is being treated with similar methods; and

(B) shall be subject to the extraordinary circumstances

procedures established by the Secretary pursuant to section

1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations.

(3) MAXIMUM CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION.—The total number

of acres categorically excluded under paragraph (1) shall not

exceed 250,000 acres.

(4) NO ADDITIONAL FINDINGS REQUIRED.—In accordance

with paragraph (1), the Secretary shall not be required to

make any findings as to whether an applied silvicultural assessment

project, either individually or cumulatively, has a significant

effect on the environment.

SEC. 405. RELATION TO OTHER LAWS.

The authority provided to each Secretary under this title is

supplemental to, and not in lieu of, any authority provided to

the Secretaries under any other law.

SEC. 406. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are

necessary to carry out this title for each of fiscal years 2004 through

2008.

TITLE V—HEALTHY FORESTS RESERVE

PROGRAM

SEC. 501. ESTABLISHMENT OF HEALTHY FORESTS RESERVE PROGRAM.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish

the healthy forests reserve program for the purpose of restoring

and enhancing forest ecosystems—

(1) to promote the recovery of threatened and endangered

species;

(2) to improve biodiversity; and

(3) to enhance carbon sequestration.

(b) COORDINATION.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall carry

out the healthy forests reserve program in coordination with the

Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce.

SEC. 502. ELIGIBILITY AND ENROLLMENT OF LANDS IN PROGRAM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination

with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce,

shall describe and define forest ecosystems that are eligible for

enrollment in the healthy forests reserve program.

(b) ELIGIBILITY.—To be eligible for enrollment in the healthy

forests reserve program, land shall be—

(1) private land the enrollment of which will restore,

enhance, or otherwise measurably increase the likelihood of

recovery of a species listed as endangered or threatened under

section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.

1533); and

H. R. 1904—26

(2) private land the enrollment of which will restore,

enhance, or otherwise measurably improve the well-being of

species that—

(A) are not listed as endangered or threatened under

section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.

1533); but

(B) are candidates for such listing, State-listed species,

or special concern species.

(c) OTHER CONSIDERATIONS.—In enrolling land that satisfies

the criteria under subsection (b), the Secretary of Agriculture shall

give additional consideration to land the enrollment of which will—

(1) improve biological diversity; and

(2) increase carbon sequestration.

(d) ENROLLMENT BY WILLING OWNERS.—The Secretary of Agriculture

shall enroll land in the healthy forests reserve program

only with the consent of the owner of the land.

(e) MAXIMUM ENROLLMENT.—The total number of acres enrolled

in the healthy forests reserve program shall not exceed 2,000,000

acres.

(f) METHODS OF ENROLLMENT.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Land may be enrolled in the healthy

forests reserve program in accordance with—

(A) a 10-year cost-share agreement;

(B) a 30-year easement; or

(C) an easement of not more than 99 years.

(2) PROPORTION.—The extent to which each enrollment

method is used shall be based on the approximate proportion

of owner interest expressed in that method in comparison to

the other methods.

(g) ENROLLMENT PRIORITY.—

(1) SPECIES.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall give priority

to the enrollment of land that provides the greatest conservation

benefit to—

(A) primarily, species listed as endangered or threatened

under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of

1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533); and

(B) secondarily, species that—

(i) are not listed as endangered or threatened

under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973

(16 U.S.C. 1533); but

(ii) are candidates for such listing, State-listed species,

or special concern species.

(2) COST-EFFECTIVENESS.—The Secretary of Agriculture

shall also consider the cost-effectiveness of each agreement

or easement, and associated restoration plans, so as to maximize

the environmental benefits per dollar expended.

SEC. 503. RESTORATION PLANS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Land enrolled in the healthy forests reserve

program shall be subject to a restoration plan, to be developed

jointly by the landowner and the Secretary of Agriculture, in

coordination with the Secretary of Interior.

(b) PRACTICES.—The restoration plan shall require such restoration

practices as are necessary to restore and enhance habitat

for—

H. R. 1904—27

(1) species listed as endangered or threatened under section

4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533);

and

(2) animal or plant species before the species reach threatened

or endangered status, such as candidate, State-listed species,

and special concern species.

SEC. 504. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.

(a) EASEMENTS OF NOT MORE THAN 99 YEARS.—In the case

of land enrolled in the healthy forests reserve program using an

easement of not more than 99 years described in section 502(f)(1)(C),

the Secretary of Agriculture shall pay the owner of the land an

amount equal to not less than 75 percent, nor more than 100

percent, of (as determined by the Secretary)—

(1) the fair market value of the enrolled land during the

period the land is subject to the easement, less the fair market

value of the land encumbered by the easement; and

(2) the actual costs of the approved conservation practices

or the average cost of approved practices carried out on the

land during the period in which the land is subject to the

easement.

(b) THIRTY-YEAR EASEMENT.—In the case of land enrolled in

the healthy forests reserve program using a 30-year easement,

the Secretary of Agriculture shall pay the owner of the land an

amount equal to not more than (as determined by the Secretary)—

(1) 75 percent of the fair market value of the land, less

the fair market value of the land encumbered by the easement;

and

(2) 75 percent of the actual costs of the approved conservation

practices or 75 percent of the average cost of approved

practices.

(c) TEN-YEAR AGREEMENT.—In the case of land enrolled in

the healthy forests reserve program using a 10-year cost-share

agreement, the Secretary of Agriculture shall pay the owner of

the land an amount equal to not more than (as determined by

the Secretary)—

(1) fifty percent of the actual costs of the approved conservation

practices; or

(2) fifty percent of the average cost of approved practices.

(d) ACCEPTANCE OF CONTRIBUTIONS.—The Secretary of Agriculture

may accept and use contributions of non-Federal funds

to make payments under this section.

SEC. 505. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall provide

landowners with technical assistance to assist the owners in complying

with the terms of plans (as included in agreements or easements)

under the healthy forests reserve program.

(b) TECHNICAL SERVICE PROVIDERS.—The Secretary of Agriculture

may request the services of, and enter into cooperative

agreements with, individuals or entities certified as technical service

providers under section 1242 of the Food Security Act of 1985

(16 U.S.C. 3842), to assist the Secretary in providing technical

assistance necessary to develop and implement the healthy forests

reserve program.

H. R. 1904—28

SEC. 506. PROTECTIONS AND MEASURES.

(a) PROTECTIONS.—In the case of a landowner that enrolls

land in the program and whose conservation activities result in

a net conservation benefit for listed, candidate, or other species,

the Secretary of Agriculture shall make available to the landowner

safe harbor or similar assurances and protection under—

(1) section 7(b)(4) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973

(16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4)); or

(2) section 10(a)(1) of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(1)).

(b) MEASURES.—If protection under subsection (a) requires the

taking of measures that are in addition to the measures covered

by the applicable restoration plan agreed to under section 503,

the cost of the additional measures, as well as the cost of any

permit, shall be considered part of the restoration plan for purposes

of financial assistance under section 504.

SEC. 507. INVOLVEMENT BY OTHER AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS.

In carrying out this title, the Secretary of Agriculture may

consult with—

(1) nonindustrial private forest landowners;

(2) other Federal agencies;

(3) State fish and wildlife agencies;

(4) State forestry agencies;

(5) State environmental quality agencies;

(6) other State conservation agencies; and

(7) nonprofit conservation organizations.

SEC. 508. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title—

(1) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2004; and

(2) such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years

2005 through 2008.

TITLE VI—MISCELLANEOUS

SEC. 601. FOREST STANDS INVENTORY AND MONITORING PROGRAM

TO IMPROVE DETECTION OF AND RESPONSE TO

ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out

a comprehensive program to inventory, monitor, characterize,

assess, and identify forest stands (with emphasis on hardwood

forest stands) and potential forest stands—

(1) in units of the National Forest System (other than

those units created from the public domain); and

(2) on private forest land, with the consent of the owner

of the land.

(b) ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED.—In carrying out the program,

the Secretary shall address issues including—

(1) early detection, identification, and assessment of

environmental threats (including insect, disease, invasive species,

fire, and weather-related risks and other episodic events);

(2) loss or degradation of forests;

(3) degradation of the quality forest stands caused by inadequate

forest regeneration practices;

(4) quantification of carbon uptake rates; and

(5) management practices that focus on preventing further

forest degradation.

H. R. 1904—29

(c) EARLY WARNING SYSTEM.—In carrying out the program,

the Secretary shall develop a comprehensive early warning system

for potential catastrophic environmental threats to forests to

increase the likelihood that forest managers will be able to—

(1) isolate and treat a threat before the threat gets out

of control; and

(2) prevent epidemics, such as the American chestnut blight

in the first half of the twentieth century, that could be environmentally

and economically devastating to forests.

(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized

to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each

of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.