[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 117, 108th Congress, 1st Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

117 STAT. 1887

Public Law 108-148
108th Congress

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. [NOTE: Dec. 3, 2003 -  [H.R. 1904]]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress [NOTE: Healthy Forests Restoration
Act of 2003.] assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short Title.--This [NOTE: 16 USC 6501 note.] Act may be cited
as the ``Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003''.

(b) Table of Contents.--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.

[[Page 1888]]
117 STAT. 1888

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6501.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6502.] 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).

[[Page 1889]]
117 STAT. 1889

TITLE I--HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION ON FEDERAL LAND

SEC. 101. [NOTE: 16 USC 6511.] 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 at-
risk 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--

[[Page 1890]]
117 STAT. 1890

(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.

[[Page 1891]]
117 STAT. 1891

(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 ``wildland-urban
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 1\1/2\ miles of the
boundary of an at-risk community, including any
land that--

[[Page 1892]]
117 STAT. 1892

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6512.] 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

[[Page 1893]]
117 STAT. 1893

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

[[Page 1894]]
117 STAT. 1894

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.

[[Page 1895]]
117 STAT. 1895

(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) [NOTE: Deadline. Reports.] 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.

[[Page 1896]]
117 STAT. 1896

(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 micro-
businesses, 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6513.] 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

[[Page 1897]]
117 STAT. 1897

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6514.] 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.

[[Page 1898]]
117 STAT. 1898

(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 1\1/2\ 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

[[Page 1899]]
117 STAT. 1899

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6515.] SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESS.

(a) Interim Final Regulations.--
(1) In general.--Not [NOTE: Deadline.] 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.

[[Page 1900]]
117 STAT. 1900

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6516.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6517.] 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,

[[Page 1901]]
117 STAT. 1901

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6518.] 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) [NOTE: 7 USC 8101 note.] 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) [NOTE: 7 USC 8101
note.] is amended by striking ``$49,000,000'' and inserting
``$54,000,000''.

[[Page 1902]]
117 STAT. 1902

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6531.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6541.] 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;

[[Page 1903]]
117 STAT. 1903

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 2103b.] 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;

[[Page 1904]]
117 STAT. 1904

``(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.

[[Page 1905]]
117 STAT. 1905

``(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6542.] 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

[[Page 1906]]
117 STAT. 1906

assistance to Indian tribes for the purpose of expanding tribal
stewardship capacities and activities through tribal forestry best-
management 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

[[Page 1907]]
117 STAT. 1907

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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6551.] 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;

[[Page 1908]]
117 STAT. 1908

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6552.] DEFINITIONS.

In this title:
(1) Applied silvicultural assessment.--

[[Page 1909]]
117 STAT. 1909

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6553.] 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.

[[Page 1910]]
117 STAT. 1910

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6554.] 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.).

[[Page 1911]]
117 STAT. 1911

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6555.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6556.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6571.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6572.] 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

[[Page 1912]]
117 STAT. 1912

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6573.] 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--

[[Page 1913]]
117 STAT. 1913

(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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6574.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6575.] 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.

[[Page 1914]]
117 STAT. 1914

SEC. 506. [NOTE: 16 USC 6576.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6577.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6578.] 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. [NOTE: 16 USC 6591.] 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.

[[Page 1915]]
117 STAT. 1915

(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.

Approved December 3, 2003.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1904:
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HOUSE REPORTS: Nos. 108-96, Pt. 1 (Comm. on Agriculture) and Pt. 2
(Comm. on the Judiciary) and 108-386 (Comm. of Conference).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 108-121 (Comm. on Agriculture, Nutrition, and
Forestry).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 149 (2003):
May 20, considered and passed House.
Oct. 29, 30, considered and passed Senate, amended.
Nov. 21, House and Senate agreed to conference report.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 39 (2003):
Dec. 3, Presidential remarks.