An Abundant Supply of Natural Resource-related Legislation in 113th Session of U.S. Congress

In spite of our nation’s preoccupation with a handful of other more headline-grabbing issues (no need to list them here), there have been numerous pieces of natural resource/conservation-related legislation introduced in the current session of the U.S. Congress. Several of these bills have local and regional implications, including the reauthorization and funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  As many of our readers may know, NFWF (nif-wif, as “they” say) is engaged in several current and emerging wildlife and fisheries partnership projects here in northern Michigan.  A call to your U.S. Congressman in support of H.R. 263/S. 51 would be well worth the time.  Here’s a quick and easy way to find that contact information – just enter your zip code! US Capitol Bldg

Our thanks to Danica Zupic of The Wildlife Society for providing this legislative summary:

H.R. 996 Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2013. Similar to H.R. 5864 and S. 3606 (both introduced in the 112th Congress), this bill updates the Lacey Act to strengthen the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ‘s (FWS) ability to assess and designate a species as ‘injurious’, as well as their ability to limit the importation or transport of these species.

S. 338 Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013. This bill would make the financial authorization of this fund permanent and dedicate at least 1.5 percent of the fund for recreational (hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities) access to existing federal lands.

H.R. 657 /S. 258 Grazing Improvement Act of 2013. This bill would amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to: (1) double grazing permit and lease lengths from 10 to 20 years, (2) allow shorter leases where the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has not been completed, (3) include new directions for reissuance and renewal of issued permits, and (4) make NEPA inapplicable to crossing and trailing authorizations for domestic livestock.

H.R. 349 Preserving Marginal Lands and Protecting Farming Act. Proposing to amend the Food Security Act of 1985, this bill would: (1) limit the amount of land that may be enrolled in the conservation reserve program (CRP) for fiscal years 2013-2018, (2) prohibit enrollment of class I and II land, and (3) allow the Secretary of Agriculture to permit terminations of CRP contracts (that have been in effect for at least five years) during fiscal year 2014.

H.R. 1080 To amend the Sikes Act to promote the use of cooperative agreements under such an Act for land management related to Department of Defense readiness activities and to amend title 10, United States Code, to facilitate inter-agency cooperation in conservation programs to avoid or reduce adverse impacts on military readiness activities.  This bill would allow The Department of Defense, which manages some 30 million acres of land in the U. S. where more than 300 federally listed species live, to extend a program reducing restrictions on training by finding and restoring habitat off base.

H.R. 263 / S. 51 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2013. (Re-introduction of S. 1494 from the 112th Congress.) This bill reauthorizes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act (the Act) for appropriations for fiscal years 2014-2019. It would revise the Act to increase the director board from 23 to 28, while removing their appointment limitations. It would also authorize the foundation to assess, collect, use, and match fees and contributions, and allow the foundation to receive and administer restitution and community service payments, mitigation, etc. for further fish and wildlife conservation efforts.

S. 340 Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act. (Re-introduced.) Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (AK-R) revised bill would convey approximately 70,000 acres of federal lands that are generally depicted as “Sealaska Selections” land — land entitlement under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 — to “Sealaska” or Southeast Alaska’s Sealaska Native Regional Corporation. This bill (and its previous iterations) has been controversial among non-profit groups, Alaskan communities, and other stakeholders.

S. 231 Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act. (Re-introduction of S. 3208 from the 112th Congress.) This bill would amend the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act of 2010 to require such stamps to be made available to the public for an additional four years. Proceeds raised through sales are transferred to FWS to be equally divided among the African Elephant Conservation Fund, the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, the Great Ape Conservation Fund, the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, and other international wildlife conservation funds authorized by Congress.

S. 368 A bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) (a.k.a. Baca Act) through 2021. FLTFA directs the revenues generated from the sale or disposal of certain public lands to an account that can be used by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and FWS to purchase lands located within federally designated areas from willing sellers.

H.R. 39 Multinational Species Conservation Funds.  This bill would reauthorize the Acts that provide grant funding through the African Elephant Conservation Fund, Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund.

About Northern Michigan Conservation Network

The mission of the Northern Michigan Conservation Network is to "connect conservation-minded hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts to those issues affecting Michigan's forests, waters, and wildlife."

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