[109th Congress Public Law 294]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

[DOCID: f:publ294.109]

[[Page 120 STAT. 1351]]

Public Law 109-294
109th Congress

                                 An Act

  To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical and 
  financial assistance to private landowners to restore, enhance, and 
 manage private land to improve fish and wildlife habitats through the 
  Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. <<NOTE: Oct. 3, 2006 -  [S. 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Act.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 16 USC 3771 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act''.


    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) approximately 60 percent of fish and wildlife in the 
        United States are on private land;
            (2) it is imperative to facilitate private landowner-
        centered and results-oriented efforts that promote efficient and 
        innovative ways to protect and enhance natural resources;
            (3) there is no readily available source of technical 
        biological information that the public can access to assist with 
        the application of state-of-the-art techniques to restore, 
        enhance, and manage fish and wildlife habitats;
            (4) a voluntary cost-effective program that leverages public 
        and private funds to assist private landowners in the conduct of 
        state-of-the-art fish and wildlife habitat restoration, 
        enhancement, and management projects is needed;
            (5) durable partnerships working collaboratively with 
        willing private landowners to implement on-the-ground projects 
        has lead to the reduction of endangered species listings;
            (6) Executive Order No. 13352 (69 Fed. Reg. 52989) directs 
        the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and 
        Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue new 
        cooperative conservation programs involving the collaboration of 
        Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, private for-
        profit and non-profit institutions, non-governmental entities, 
        and individuals;
            (7) since 1987, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 
        has exemplified cooperative conservation as an innovative, 
        voluntary partnership program that helps private landowners 
        restore wetland and other important fish and wildlife habitat; 
            (8) through 33,103 agreements with private landowners, the 
        Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has accomplished the 
        restoration of 677,000 acres of wetland, 1,253,700 acres

[[Page 120 STAT. 1352]]

        of prairie and native grasslands, and 5,560 miles of riparian 
        and in-stream habitat since 1987, demonstrating much of that 
        success since only 2001.

    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide for the 
restoration, enhancement, and management of fish and wildlife habitats 
on private land through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, a 
program that works with private landowners to conduct cost-effective 
habitat projects for the benefit of fish and wildlife resources in the 
United States.

SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 16 USC 3772.>> DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Federal trust species.--The term ``Federal trust 
        species'' means migratory birds, threatened species, endangered 
        species, interjurisdictional fish, marine mammals, and other 
        species of concern.
            (2) Habitat enhancement.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``habitat enhancement'' 
                means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or 
                biological characteristics of a habitat to change a 
                specific function or seral stage of the habitat.
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``habitat enhancement'' 
                          (i) an activity conducted to increase or 
                      decrease a specific function for the purpose of 
                      benefitting species, including--
                                    (I) increasing the hydroperiod and 
                                water depth of a stream or wetland 
                                beyond what would naturally occur;
                                    (II) improving waterfowl habitat 
                                    (III) establishing water level 
                                management capabilities for native plant 
                                    (IV) creating mud flat conditions 
                                important for shorebirds; and
                                    (V) cross fencing or establishing a 
                                rotational grazing system on native 
                                range to improve grassland nesting bird 
                                habitat conditions; and
                          (ii) an activity conducted to shift a native 
                      plant community successional stage, including--
                                    (I) burning an established native 
                                grass community to reduce or eliminate 
                                invading brush or exotic species;
                                    (II) brush shearing to set back 
                                early successional plant communities; 
                                    (III) forest management that 
                                promotes a particular seral stage.
                    (C) Exclusions.--The term ``habitat enhancement'' 
                does not include regularly scheduled and routine 
                maintenance and management activities, such as annual 
                mowing or spraying of unwanted vegetation.
            (3) Habitat establishment.--The term ``habitat 
        establishment'' means the manipulation of physical, chemical, or 
        biological characteristics of a project site to create and 
        maintain habitat that did not previously exist on the project 
        site, including construction of--
                    (A) shallow water impoundments on non-hydric soils; 

[[Page 120 STAT. 1353]]

                    (B) side channel spawning and rearing habitat.
            (4) Habitat improvement.--The term ``habitat improvement'' 
        means restoring, enhancing, or establishing physiographic, 
        hydrological, or disturbance conditions necessary to establish 
        or maintain native plant and animal communities, including 
        periodic manipulations to maintain intended habitat conditions 
        on completed project sites.
            (5) Habitat restoration.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``habitat restoration'' 
                means the manipulation of the physical, chemical, or 
                biological characteristics of a site with the goal of 
                returning the majority of natural functions to the lost 
                or degraded native habitat.
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``habitat restoration'' 
                          (i) an activity conducted to return a project 
                      site, to the maximum extent practicable, to the 
                      ecological condition that existed prior to the 
                      loss or degradation, including--
                                    (I) removing tile drains or plugging 
                                drainage ditches in former or degraded 
                                    (II) returning meanders and 
                                sustainable profiles to straightened 
                                    (III) burning grass communities 
                                heavily invaded by exotic species to 
                                reestablish native grass and plant 
                                communities; and
                                    (IV) planting plant communities that 
                                are native to the project site;
                          (ii) if restoration of a project site to its 
                      original ecological condition is not practicable, 
                      an activity that repairs 1 or more of the original 
                      habitat functions and that involve the use of 
                      native vegetation, including--
                                    (I) the installation of a water 
                                control structure in a swale on land 
                                isolated from overbank flooding by a 
                                major levee to simulate natural 
                                hydrological processes; and
                                    (II) the placement of streambank or 
                                instream habitat diversity structures in 
                                streams that cannot be restored to 
                                original conditions or profile; and
                          (iii) removal of a disturbing or degrading 
                      element to enable the native habitat to 
                      reestablish or become fully functional.
            (6) Private land.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``private land'' means any 
                land that is not owned by the Federal Government or a 
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``private land'' includes 
                tribal land and Hawaiian homeland.
            (7) Project.--The term ``project'' means a project carried 
        out under the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program established 
        by section 4.
            (8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior.

[[Page 120 STAT. 1354]]


    The Secretary shall carry out the Partners for Fish and Wildlife 
Program within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to provide--
            (1) technical and financial assistance to private landowners 
        for the conduct of voluntary projects to benefit Federal trust 
        species by promoting habitat improvement, habitat restoration, 
        habitat enhancement, and habitat establishment; and
            (2) technical assistance to other public and private 
        entities regarding fish and wildlife habitat restoration on 
        private land.


    There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act not 
more than $75,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2011.

    Approved October 3, 2006.


HOUSE REPORTS: No. 109-562 (Comm. on Resources).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 109-86 (Comm. on Environment and Public Works).
                                                        Vol. 151 (2005):
                                    June 27, considered and passed 
                                                        Vol. 152 (2006):
                                    Sept. 20, considered and passed