[Senate Report 109-182]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-182
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 294

 
                  CORAL REEF CONSERVATION ACT OF 2005

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1390




               November 17, 2005.--Ordered to be printed


       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred ninth congress
                             first session

                     TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
                 DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Co-Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                    Virginia
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas          BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              BARBARA BOXER, California
GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon              BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        E. BENJAMIN NELSON, Nebraska
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina           MARK PRYOR, Arkansas
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
                    Lisa Sutherland, Staff Director
             Christine Drager Kurth, Deputy Staff Director
                      David Russell, Chief Counsel
     Margaret Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
 Samuel Whitehorn, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 294
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-182

======================================================================




                  CORAL REEF CONSERVATION ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

               November 17, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Stevens, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1390]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1390) to reauthorize the Coral 
Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments 
and recommend that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 1390, the Coral Reef Conservation 
Amendments Act of 2005, as reported, is to reauthorize the 
Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and for other purposes. 
The bill would authorize appropriations to the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for Fiscal Years (FY) 
2006 through 2012, strengthen and expand NOAA's Coral Reef 
Conservation Program, authorize NOAA to prevent and mitigate 
vessel impacts to coral reefs, and streamline reporting 
requirements.

                          Background and Needs

  Covering less than one percent of the Earth's surface, coral 
reefs provide resources and services worth billions of dollars 
each year to the United States economy and economies worldwide 
in the form of food, jobs, natural products, pharmaceuticals, 
and shoreline protection. NOAA's 2005 Report to Congress, 
Implementation of the National Coral Reef Action Strategy, 
notes that 10.5 million Americans live adjacent to a U.S. coral 
reef, and that coral reef fisheries provide the U.S. economy 
with more than $137.1 million in ex-vessel landing value. 
However, more needs to be done to reduce threats to coral reef 
ecosystems, such as pollution, coastal development, and other 
impacts.
  In 2000, Congress recognized the need to preserve, sustain, 
and restore the condition of coral reef ecosystems by enacting 
CRCA, calling for the creation of a national strategy and 
program to address the threats to coral reef communities. CRCA 
called for NOAA to carry out a number of activities to promote 
the wise management and sustainable use of coral reef 
ecosystems, to develop sound scientific information on the 
condition of coral reef ecosystems, and to assist in the 
preservation of coral reefs by supporting external conservation 
programs. CRCA created a Coral Reef Conservation grant program 
at NOAA, as well as a Coral Reef Conservation Fund to support 
public-private matching funds and partnerships to further the 
purposes of CRCA.
  Funding for NOAA's CRCA activities have exceeded amounts 
authorized under CRCA, rising to $26.32 million in FY 2004 
before dropping slightly in FY 2005 to $24.64 million. The 
President's FY 2006 budget proposes $25.96 million for CRCA 
activities, and specifically calls for funding of multi-year 
``local action strategies'' developed under the CRCA National 
Coral Action Strategy. Much of NOAA's increased coral reef 
funding has been associated with CRCA and other NOAA activities 
in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem 
Reserve (NWHI-CRER), which, at 1200 nautical miles long and 100 
nautical miles wide, is the largest coral conservation project 
in the nation, if not the world. The NWHI-CRER, now undergoing 
designation as a National Marine Sanctuary, has provided a 
laboratory for the study of coral reefs and conservation 
techniques.
  This research, assessment, and conservation work has provided 
substantial new knowledge about coral reef systems in U.S. 
waters since enactment of CRCA. NOAA's 2005 Report highlights 
this progress, and describes actions taken to implement the 
National Coral Reef Action Strategy developed pursuant to CRCA. 
The Report notes that a comprehensive program led by NOAA has 
now mapped 66 percent of all U.S. shallow (<30 meters) coral 
reefs, marking good progress toward the goal of producing 
comprehensive digital maps of all U.S. shallow coral reefs by 
2009. The Report tracks the expansion of coral reef monitoring 
and research, and highlights areas in need of more funding and 
management focus at the local, State, and Federal levels, 
including coastal uses like ship groundings, pollution, and 
fishing impacts.
  On June 15, 2005, the National Ocean Policy Study held a 
hearing entitled Invasive Species Ballast Water Management and 
Threats to Coral Reefs. At this hearing, Mr. Timothy Keeney, 
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and 
Atmosphere and co-chair of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, 
testified on the need to reauthorize CRCA to continue NOAA's 
progress, in coordination with other Federal, State, and 
territorial governments, in understanding and conserving coral 
reef ecosystems. He noted vessel impacts as a high priority for 
legislative attention, explaining that NOAA has the authority 
to address coral reef damage from groundings in designated 
protected areas such as National Marine Sanctuaries, but has no 
such authority outside of these designated areas.
  Also at this hearing, Ms. Kim Hum, Coastal Marine Program 
Director at The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, testified about 
the effectiveness of the coral reef mapping and conservation 
efforts in that State, and of the need for greater authority 
for NOAA to respond to coral reef groundings outside of 
designated National Marine Sanctuaries. She also recommended 
greater use of community-based solutions to coral reef 
management that rely on traditional or island-based management 
concepts, such as those being developed in Hawaii and the 
Western Pacific.
  The Committee believes that Federal agencies should have the 
authority to respond swiftly to coral reef vessel groundings in 
shallow U.S. waters, since rapid response can often allow 
stabilization of the coral reef, lessening both the extent of 
damage to the reef and the costs of recovery. The Committee 
also believes that a Community-Based Grants Program that 
enhances existing investment in coral reef activities could 
offer more cost-effective and long-lasting coral reef 
conservation results at the local level. The one-time program 
authorization included in the bill is designed to test the 
effectiveness of this approach, which the Committee will 
evaluate during the next reauthorization cycle. The Committee 
also recognizes that authorization levels in CRCA needed to be 
increased to conform to funding priorities and needs.
  The Committee notes that the expanded authorities, programs, 
lists, and reports in this bill extend only to coral reefs or 
coral reef ecosystems. These terms are defined in the CRCA. The 
Committee uses these terms to describe large coral formations 
and their associated ecosystems, respectively, in shallow, warm 
waters, including corals in the waters of Hawaii and the 
Western Pacific. The expanded authorities, programs, lists, and 
reports in this bill do not extend to corals or coral 
formations existing in cold and/or deep waters, even where such 
corals or coral formations occur in a density or abundance 
similar to the shallow water structures the Committee refers to 
as coral reefs. Similarly, the terms ``vessel impacts'' and 
``anthropogenic impacts'' as used in this bill refer only to 
impacts on coral reefs (in shallow water) and do not refer to 
impacts, whether actual or potential, from fishing gear 
deployed in cold or deep waters beyond the States and island 
territories currently participating in CRCA.

                         Summary of Provisions

  S. 1390, the Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2005, 
reauthorizes and amends CRCA to respond to the needs identified 
at the Committee hearing held on June 15, 2005. These changes 
include increased authorizations for both the national and 
coral reef grant programs, expanded funding and authority for 
NOAA to prevent and respond to vessel groundings on coral 
reefs, and the creation of a community-based planning grant 
program to develop and implement local plans using watershed 
principles and traditional or island-based management 
techniques.
  Section 1 contains the short title of the bill, the ``Coral 
Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2005''.
  Section 2 amends section 204(d) of CRCA to expand and refocus 
the Coral Reef Conservation Grants Program on emerging threats 
to coral reefs, including minimizing vessel impacts and 
promoting community-based planning and management initiatives.
  Section 3 amends section 206 of CRCA to expand NOAA's 
emergency response authorities to prevent or mitigate imminent 
coral reef destruction from vessel impacts or other physical 
damage to coral reefs, and directs NOAA to work in coordination 
with other Federal agencies and seek existing funding sources 
when possible.
  Section 4 amends section 207(b) of CRCA to expand the focus 
of the National Coral Reef Conservation Program to include 
prevention activities to minimize physical damage to coral 
reefs, such as vessel impacts.
  Section 5 amends section 208 of CRCA to streamline and focus 
NOAA's reporting requirements.
  Section 6 amends section 205 of CRCA to allow funding for 
emergency response and mitigation activities under section 206 
from the Coral Reef Conservation Fund. Section 6 also amends 
CRCA by adding a new section 209, Community-Based Planning 
Grants, and adds a new section 210 authorizing NOAA to maintain 
a vessel grounding inventory, identify at-risk reefs, and 
develop a list of recommendations for preventative measures. 
Finally, section 6 directs Federal, State, and territorial 
coordination to implement the U.S. Coral Reef Action Strategy 
developed under CRCA.
  Section 7 provides annual program authorizations of $30 
million in FY 2006, up to $35 million annually by FYs 2009 
through 2012, and sets aside 30 percent of these funds for the 
grants program. It authorizes an additional $8 million, 
available from FY 2007 through FY 2012, for a Community-Based 
Planning Grants program. The bill also increases the cap on 
administrative costs from $1 million to $2 million. Finally, 
this section allocates up to 10 percent of the Coral Reef 
Conservation Fund to mitigation and response activities 
authorized under section 206.

                          Legislative History

  S. 1390 was introduced in the Senate on July 13, 2005, by 
Senator Inouye and co-sponsored by Senator Sununu, and referred 
to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. On 
July 21, 2005, the Committee considered the bill in an open 
executive session. Senator Inouye offered a technical amendment 
making several minor grammatical corrections, and Senator Bill 
Nelson offered an amendment regarding the grant allocation 
formula in section 2 of the bill. The Committee, without 
objection, ordered S. 1390 reported with amendments.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                                    August 8, 2005.
Hon. Ted Stevens,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1390, the Coral Reef 
Conservation Amendments Act of 2005.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                               Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
    Enclosure.

S. 1390--Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2005

    Summary: S. 1390 would authorize the appropriation of $284 
million through fiscal year 2012 to the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the coral reef 
conservation program. Assuming appropriation of the authorized 
amounts, CBO estimates that carrying out this program would 
cost $20 million in 2006 and $172 million over the 2006-2010 
period. We estimate that another $112 million of the authorized 
amounts would be spent after 2010, including $43 million 
authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal years 2011 and 
2012. Enacting S. 1390 would have no effect on revenues or 
direct spending.
    This bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); 
any costs to State, local, or tribal governments would result 
from complying with conditions of federal assistance.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1390 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                           -----------------------------------------------------
                                                              2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Spending for the Coral Reef Conservation Program Under
 Current Law:
    Budget Authority \1\..................................       26        0        0        0        0        0
    Estimated Outlays.....................................       26        9        7        1        0        0
Proposed Changes:
    Authorization Level \2\...............................        0       30       40       42       43       43
    Estimated Outlays.....................................        0       20       30       37       42       43
Spending for the Coral Reef Conservation Program Under S.
 1390:
    Authorization Level \1\...............................       26       30       40       42       43       43
    Estimated Outlays.....................................       26       29       37       38       42       43
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2005 level is the amount appropriated for that year for the Coral Reef Conservation Program.
\2\ The bill would also authorize funding of $43 million a year for 2011 and 2012.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
1390 will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2006 and 
that the authorized amounts will be appropriated for each year. 
The authorization levels are those stated in the bill for each 
year. They include between $30 million and $35 million annually 
for Federal activities and grants, and $8 million annually 
(beginning in 2007) for new community planning grants. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
this program.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1390 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Enacting this bill would benefit state, local, 
and tribal governments receiving grant funding for conservation 
projects; any costs that they might incur would result from 
complying with conditions of Federal assistance.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis. Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum. 
Impact on the Private Sector: Alicia Hardy.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  S. 1390 as reported by the Committee would authorize 
appropriations to continue and expand existing NOAA programs 
and make a number of changes to current law. The bill would 
have little, if any, regulatory impact.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  The bill, as reported, provides authorization levels of $30 
million for FY 2006, $32 million for FY 2007, $34 million for 
FY 2008, and $35 million for FY 2009 through FY 2012 for NOAA 
to carry out the purposes of the bill. The bill also provided a 
one-time authorization of $8 million for the Community-Based 
Planning Grants program, to be available until FY 2012. These 
funding levels are not expected to have an inflationary impact 
on the Nation's economy.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill would have little, if any, impact on the 
personal privacy of U.S. citizens.

                               PAPERWORK

  The reported bill would not increase paperwork requirements 
for the private sector. Those State, local, and non-
governmental partners that volunteer to participate in the 
Coral Reef Grant program or Community-Based Planning Grants 
Program would likely increase their written communications, 
data management, and technical expertise capacity related to 
coral reef management.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  This section states that the Act may be cited as the ``Coral 
Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2005''.

Section 2. Expansion of the Coral Reef Conservation Grant Program

  The bill amends section 204(d) of CRCA to make changes to the 
uses and allocation of grant funds to reflect emerging needs 
and increased overall authorization levels. The program 
provides grants to seven U.S. coral reef jurisdictions: four in 
the Pacific (Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth 
of the Northern Marianas Islands) and three in the Atlantic/
Caribbean (Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico).
  The law allocates 40 percent each to the Pacific and 
Atlantic/Caribbean, and the remaining monies may be used for a 
broad new range of projects in either region. This section 
expands priority areas to include prevention of vessel impacts 
and development of community-based planning and management 
initiatives.

Section 3. Expansion of emergency response authority

  The bill amends section 206 of CRCA to expand NOAA's 
emergency response authorities to include the ability to 
prevent or mitigate imminent coral reef destruction from vessel 
impacts or other physical damage to coral reefs, and allows 
public-private funding for such response actions through the 
Coral Reef Conservation Fund established under section 205. 
Currently under section 206, NOAA is only able to administer 
grants in support of such activities, not direct the activities 
themselves. This new language would allow NOAA to remove 
abandoned vessels from coral reef areas and mitigate damage 
from storms. The bill directs NOAA to work in coordination with 
other Federal agencies and to seek existing funding sources 
when possible. This section responds to the Ocean Commission 
recommendation for increasing Federal authority to address 
vessel groundings and other impacts to coral reefs.

Section 4. Expansion of national program

  The bill would amend section 207(b) of CRCA to expand the 
focus of the National Coral Reef Conservation Program to 
include prevention activities to minimize vessel impacts or 
other physical damage to coral reefs.

Section 5. Streamlining reporting requirement

  This provision revises section 208 of CRCA to allow NOAA to 
prepare and submit only one report to Congress every 3 years, 
and eliminates the one-time grants report required under CRCA. 
The reporting requirements are also expanded to include 
information on vessel groundings and a description of Federal 
disaster response actions. The first report would be required 
in March 2007.

Section 6. Coral fund; grants; grounding inventory; and coordination.

  This section contains a number of provisions including:
           Emergency Response Funding.--This section 
        amends section 205(a) of CRCA, which establishes the 
        Coral Reef Conservation Fund, to allow the fund to be 
        used to pay for emergency response and mitigation 
        activities. It also encourages the non-profit 
        organization that administers the fund to solicit 
        monies from private and non-governmental organizations 
        to support these activities.
           Community Based Planning Grants.--This 
        section creates a new section 209 that would authorize 
        NOAA to award grants to entities that have already 
        received general Coral Reef Conservation Grants to 
        allow them to develop and implement community based 
        coral protection plans, in coordination with 
        appropriate Federal and State authorities. These plans, 
        based on watershed approaches and incorporating 
        traditional or island-based resource management 
        concepts, should encourage comprehensive planning 
        programs and provide for more effective conservation of 
        coral reefs. The section also provides that the non-
        Federal matching requirement is reduced from 50 percent 
        to 25 percent in recognition of the limited resources 
        available to many smaller communities.
           Vessel Grounding Inventory and List of At-
        Risk Coral Areas.--This section creates a new section 
        210 of CRCA to authorize NOAA to create and maintain an 
        inventory of all vessel grounding incidents involving 
        coral reef resources. For each incident the inventory 
        will contain information related to: (1) grounding 
        impacts; (2) vessel identity; (3) incident response; 
        and (4) recommendations for preventing similar 
        incidents. NOAA is also directed to identify coral reef 
        areas outside of National Marine Sanctuaries that have 
        a high incidence of vessel impacts and to identify 
        potential measures to prevent or mitigate these 
        impacts.
           Regional Coordination.--The section creates 
        a new section 211 of CRCA directing the Secretary of 
        Commerce to, in coordination with other Federal, State, 
        and U.S. territorial governments, implement the U.S. 
        National Coral Action Strategy, including regional and 
        local strategies to address multiple threats to coral 
        reefs.

Section 7. Authorization of appropriations

  The bill authorizes appropriations for CRCA of $30 million in 
FY 2006, $32 million in FY 2007, $34 million in FY 2008, and 
$35 million per year for FYs 2009 through 2012. This level of 
authorized appropriations would allow NOAA to undertake an 
increased level of coordination required by the proposed 
amendments and allow for funding of local action strategies.
  Of the authorized funds, the bill directs at least 30 percent 
to the general grants program. The 30-percent minimum for 
grants would ensure that grant funding for the existing program 
is predictable and at levels higher than in FY 2005. The bill 
authorizes a total of $8 million for the Community Based 
Planning Grants to provide long-term funding for implementation 
of community-based plans, to be available until expended from 
FY 2007 through FY 2012.
  The bill sets aside up to 10 percent of appropriations for 
the Coral Reef Conservation Fund established in section 205 of 
CRCA, in order to ensure that there is funding available for 
emergency response and prevention activities, which can be 
increased through non-Federal contributions.
  This section of the bill also raises the cap on funding 
administrative activities from $1 million to $2 million. This 
would help ensure that NOAA has dedicated and predictable 
funding to administer the Coral Reef Conservation Program.
  As under existing law, funds not set aside for grants or the 
Fund will be used by the National Program, which should 
emphasize prevention as well as assessment, conservation, and 
research.
  The removal/replacement of sections 209(c) and (d) removes 
existing confusion over how to allocate funding among the major 
programs authorized under CRCA.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):

                  CORAL REEF CONSERVATION ACT OF 2000

SEC. 204. CORAL REEF CONSERVATION PROGRAM.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6403]

  (a) Grants.--The Secretary, through the Administrator and 
subject to the availability of funds, shall provide grants of 
financial assistance for projects for the conservation of coral 
reefs (hereafter in this title referred to as ``coral 
conservation projects''), for proposals approved by the 
Administrator in accordance with this section.
  (b) Matching Requirements.--
          (1) Fifty percent.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), Federal funds for any coral conservation project 
        under this section may not exceed 50 percent of the 
        total cost of such project. For purposes of this 
        paragraph, the non-Federal share of project costs may 
        be provided by in-kind contributions and other noncash 
        support.
          (2) Waiver.--The Administrator may waive all or part 
        of the matching requirement under paragraph (1) if the 
        Administrator determines that no reasonable means are 
        available through which applicants can meet the 
        matching requirement and the probable benefit of such 
        project outweighs the public interest in such matching 
        requirement.
  (c) Eligibility.--Any natural resource management authority 
of a State or other government authority with jurisdiction over 
coral reefs or whose activities directly or indirectly affect 
coral reefs, or coral reef ecosystems, or educational or 
nongovernmental institutions with demonstrated expertise in the 
conservation of coral reefs, may submit to the Administrator a 
coral conservation proposal under subsection (e).
  (d) [Geographic and Biological] Project Diversity.--The 
Administrator shall ensure that funding for grants awarded 
under subsection (b) during a fiscal year are distributed in 
the following manner:
          (1) No less than 40 percent of funds available shall 
        be awarded for coral conservation projects in the 
        Pacific Ocean within the maritime areas and zones 
        subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United 
        States.
          (2) No less than 40 percent of the funds available 
        shall be awarded for coral conservation projects in the 
        Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean 
        Sea within the maritime areas and zones subject to the 
        jurisdiction or control of the United States.
          [(3) Remaining funds shall be awarded for projects 
        that address emerging priorities or threats, including 
        international priorities or threats, identified by the 
        Administrator. When identifying emerging threats or 
        priorities, the Administrator may consult with the 
        Coral Reef Task Force.]
          (3) Remaining funds shall be awarded for--
                  (A) projects (with priority given to 
                community-based local action strategies) that 
                address emerging priorities or threats, 
                including international and territorial 
                priorities, or threats identified by the 
                Administrator in consultation with the Coral 
                Reef Task Force; and
                  (B) other appropriate projects, as determined 
                by the Administrator, including monitoring and 
                assessment, research, pollution reduction, 
                education, and technical support.
  (e) Project proposals.--Each proposal for a grant under this 
section shall include the following:
          (1) The name of the individual or entity responsible 
        for conducting the project.
          (2) A description of the qualifications of the 
        individuals who will conduct the project.
          (3) A succinct statement of the purposes of the 
        project.
          (4) An estimate of the funds and time required to 
        complete the project.
          (5) Evidence of support for the project by 
        appropriate representatives of States or other 
        government jurisdictions in which the project will be 
        conducted.
          (6) Information regarding the source and amount of 
        matching funding available to the applicant.
          (7) A description of how the project meets one or 
        more of the criteria in subsection (g).
          (8) Any other information the Administrator considers 
        to be necessary for evaluating the eligibility of the 
        project for funding under this title.
  (f) Project Review and Approval.--
          (1) In general.--The Administrator shall review each 
        coral conservation project proposal to determine if it 
        meets the criteria set forth in subsection (g).
          (2) Review; approval or disapproval.--Not later than 
        6 months after receiving a project proposal under this 
        section, the Administrator shall--
                  (A) request and consider written comments on 
                the proposal from each Federal agency, State 
                government, or other government jurisdiction, 
                including the relevant regional fishery 
                management councils established under the 
                Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
                Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), or any 
                National Marine Sanctuary, with jurisdiction or 
                management authority over coral reef ecosystems 
                in the area where the project is to be 
                conducted, including the extent to which the 
                project is consistent with locally-established 
                priorities;
                  (B) provide for the merit-based peer review 
                of the proposal and require standardized 
                documentation of that peer review;
                  (C) after considering any written comments 
                and recommendations based on the reviews under 
                subparagraphs (A) and (B), approve or 
                disapprove the proposal; and
                  (D) provide written notification of that 
                approval or disapproval to the person who 
                submitted the proposal, and each of those 
                States and other government jurisdictions that 
                provided comments under subparagraph (A).
  (g) Criteria for Approval.--The Administrator may not approve 
a project proposal under this section unless the project is 
consistent with the coral reef action strategy under section 
203 and will enhance the conservation of coral reefs by--
          (1) implementing coral conservation programs which 
        promote sustainable development and ensure effective, 
        long-term conservation of coral reefs;
          (2) addressing the conflicts arising from the use of 
        environments near coral reefs or from the use of 
        corals, species associated with coral reefs, and coral 
        products;
          (3) enhancing compliance with laws that prohibit or 
        regulate the taking of coral products or species 
        associated with coral reefs or regulate the use and 
        management of coral reef ecosystems;
          (4) developing sound scientific information on the 
        condition of coral reef ecosystems or the threats to 
        such ecosystems, including factors that cause coral 
        disease;
          (5) promoting and assisting to implement cooperative 
        coral reef conservation projects that involve affected 
        local communities, nongovernmental organizations, or 
        others in the private sector;
          (6) increasing public knowledge and awareness of 
        coral reef ecosystems and issues regarding their long 
        term conservation;
          (7) mapping the location and distribution of coral 
        reefs;
          (8) developing and implementing techniques to monitor 
        and assess the status and condition of coral reefs;
          (9) developing and implementing cost-effective 
        methods to restore degraded coral reef ecosystems; [or]
          [(10) promoting ecologically sound navigation and 
        anchorages near coral reefs.]
          (10) promoting activities designed to minimize the 
        likelihood of vessel impacts on coral reefs, 
        particularly those activities described in section 
        210(b), including the promotion of ecologically sound 
        navigation and anchorages near coral reefs; or
          (11) promoting and assisting entities to work with 
        local communities, and all appropriate governmental and 
        nongovernmental organizations, to support community-
        based planning and management initiatives for the 
        protection of coral reef systems.
  (h) Project Reporting.--Each grantee under this section shall 
provide periodic reports as required by the Administrator. Each 
report shall include all information required by the 
Administrator for evaluating the progress and success of the 
project.
  (i) Coral Reef Task Force.--The Administrator may consult 
with the Coral Reef Task Force to obtain guidance in 
establishing coral conservation project priorities under this 
section.
  (j) Implementation Guidelines.--Within 180 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall 
promulgate necessary guidelines for implementing this section. 
In developing those guidelines, the Administrator shall consult 
with State, regional, and local entities involved in setting 
priorities for conservation of coral reefs and provide for 
appropriate public notice and opportunity for comment.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 205. CORAL REEF CONSERVATION FUND.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6404]

  (a) Fund.--The Administrator may enter into an agreement with 
a nonprofit organization that promotes coral reef conservation 
authorizing such organization to receive, hold, and administer 
funds received pursuant to this section. The organization shall 
invest, reinvest, and otherwise administer the funds and 
maintain such funds and any interest or revenues earned in a 
separate interest bearing account, hereafter referred to as the 
Fund, established by such [organization solely to support 
partnerships between the public and private sectors that 
further the purposes of this Act and are consistent with the 
national coral reef action strategy under section 203.] 
organization--
          (1) to support partnerships between the public and 
        private sectors that further the purposes of this Act 
        and are consistent with the national coral reef 
        strategy under section 203; and
          (2) to address emergency response actions under 
        section 206.
  (b) Authorization to Solicit Donations.--Pursuant to an 
agreement entered into under subsection (a) of this section, an 
organization may accept, receive, solicit, hold, administer, 
and use any gift to further the purposes of this title. Any 
moneys received as a gift shall be deposited and maintained in 
the Fund established by the organization under subsection (a). 
The organization is encouraged to solicit funding and in-kind 
services from the private sector, including nongovernmental 
organizations, for emergency response actions under section 206 
and for activities to prevent damage to coral reefs, including 
activities described in section 210(b)(2).
  (c) Review of Performance.--The Administrator shall conduct a 
continuing review of [the grant program] any grant program or 
emergency response action administered by an organization under 
this section. Each review shall include a written assessment 
concerning the extent to which that organization has 
implemented the goals and requirements of this section and the 
national coral reef action strategy under section 203.
  (d) Administration.--Under an agreement entered into pursuant 
to subsection (a), the Administrator may transfer funds 
appropriated to carry out this title to an organization. 
Amounts received by an organization under this subsection may 
be used for matching, in whole or in part, contributions 
(whether in money, services, or property) made to the 
organization by private persons and State and local government 
agencies.

[SEC. 206. EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6405]

  [The Administrator may make grants to any State, local, or 
territorial government agency with jurisdiction over coral 
reefs for emergencies to address unforeseen or disaster-related 
circumstance pertaining to coral reefs or coral reef 
ecosystems.]

SEC. 206. EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTIONS.

  (a) In General.--The Administrator may undertake or authorize 
action necessary to prevent or minimize the destruction or loss 
of, or injury to, coral reefs or coral reef ecosystems from 
vessel impacts or other physical damage to coral reefs, 
including damage from unforeseen or disaster-related 
circumstances.
  (b) Actions Authorized.--Action authorized by subsection (a) 
includes vessel removal and emergency restabilization of the 
vessel and any impacted coral reef.
  (c) Partnering With Other Federal Agencies.--When possible, 
action by the Administrator under this section should--
          (1) be conducted in partnership with other Federal 
        agencies, including the United States Coast Guard, the 
        Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army 
        Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior; 
        and
          (2) leverage resources of such other agencies, 
        including funding or assistance authorized under other 
        Federal laws, such as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, 
        the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, 
        and Liability Act, and the Federal Water Pollution 
        Control Act.

SEC. 207. NATIONAL PROGRAM.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6406]

  (a) In General.--Subject to the availability of 
appropriations, the Secretary may conduct activities to 
conserve coral reefs and coral reef ecosystems, that are 
consistent with this title, the National Marine Sanctuaries 
Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 
1972.
  (b) Authorized Activities.--Activities authorized under 
subsection (a) include--
          (1) mapping, monitoring, assessment, restoration, and 
        scientific research that benefit the understanding, 
        sustainable use, and long-term conservation of coral 
        reefs and coral reef ecosystems;
          (2) enhancing public awareness, education, 
        understanding, and appreciation of coral reefs and 
        coral reef ecosystems;
          (3) providing assistance to States in removing 
        abandoned fishing gear, marine debris, and abandoned 
        vessels from coral reefs to conserve living marine 
        resources; [and]
          (4) cooperative conservation and management of coral 
        reefs and coral reef ecosystems with local, regional, 
        or international programs and [partners.] partners; and
          (5) activities designed to minimize the likelihood of 
        vessel impacts or other physical damage to coral reefs, 
        including those activities identified in section 
        210(b).

[SEC. 208. EFFECTIVENESS REPORTS.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6407]

  [(a) Grant Program.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to 
the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of 
Representatives a report that documents the effectiveness of 
the grant program under section 204 in meeting the purposes of 
this title. The report shall include a State-by-State summary 
of Federal and non-Federal contributions toward the costs of 
each project.
  [(b) National Program.--Not later than 2 years after the date 
on which the Administrator publishes the national coral reef 
strategy under section 203 and every 2 years thereafter, the 
Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on 
Resources of the House of Representatives a report describing 
all activities undertaken to implement that strategy, under 
section 203, including a description of the funds obligated 
each fiscal year to advance coral reef conservation.]

SEC. 208. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

  Not later than March 1, 2007, and every 3 years thereafter, 
the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on 
Resources of the House of Representatives a report describing 
all activities undertaken to implement the strategy, 
including--
          (1) a description of the funds obligated by each 
        participating Federal agency to advance coral reef 
        conservation during each of the 3 fiscal years next 
        preceding the fiscal year in which the report is 
        submitted;
          (2) a description of Federal interagency and 
        cooperative efforts with States and United States 
        territories to prevent or address overharvesting, 
        coastal runoff, or other anthropogenic impacts on coral 
        reefs, including projects undertaken with the 
        Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, the 
        Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States 
        Army Corps of Engineers;
          (3) a summary of the information contained in the 
        vessel grounding inventory established under section 
        210, including additional authorization or funding, 
        needed for response and removal of such vessels;''
          (4) a description of Federal disaster response 
        actions taken pursuant to the National Response Plan to 
        address damage to coral reefs and coral reef 
        ecosystems; and
          (5) an assessment of the condition of United States 
        coral reefs, accomplishments under this Act, and the 
        effectiveness of management actions to address threats 
        to coral reefs.

SEC. 209. COMMUNITY-BASED PLANNING GRANTS.

  (a) In General.--The Administrator may make grants to 
entities who have received grants under section 204(c) to 
provide additional funds to such entities to work with local 
communities and through appropriate Federal and State entities 
to prepare and implement plans for the increased protection of 
coral reef areas identified by the community and the best 
scientific information available scientific experts as high 
priorities for focused attention. The plans shall--
          (1) support attainment of 1 or more of the criteria 
        described in section 204(g);
          (2) be developed at the community level;
          (3) utilize watershed-based approaches;
          (4) provide for coordination with Federal and State 
        experts and managers; and
          (5) build upon local approaches or models, including 
        traditional or island-based resource management 
        concepts.
  (b) Terms and Conditions.--The provisions of subsections (b), 
(d), (f), and (h) of section 204 apply to grants under 
subsection (a), except that, for the purpose of applying 
section 204(b)(1) to grants under this section, `25 percent 75 
percent' shall be substituted for `50 percent'.

``SEC. 210. VESSEL GROUNDING INVENTORY.

  (a) In General.--The Administrator may maintain an inventory 
of all vessel grounding incidents involving coral reef 
resources, including a description of--
          (1) the impacts to such resources;
          (2) vessel and ownership information, if available;
          (3) the estimated cost of removal, mitigation, or 
        restoration;
          (4) the response action taken by the owner, the 
        Administrator, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, or 
        other Federal or State agency representatives;
          (5) the status of the response action, including the 
        dates of vessel removal and mitigation or restoration 
        and any actions taken to prevent future grounding 
        incidents; and
          (6) recommendations for additional navigational aids 
        or other mechanisms for preventing future grounding 
        incidents.
  (b) Identification of At-Risk Reefs.--The Administrator may--
          (1) use information from any inventory maintained 
        under subsection (a) or any other available information 
        source to identify coral reef areas outside designated 
        National Marine Sanctuaries that have a high incidence 
        of vessel impacts, including groundings and anchor 
        damage; and
          (2) identify appropriate measures, including action 
        by other agencies, to reduce the likelihood of such 
        impacts.

``SEC. 211. REGIONAL COORDINATION.

  The Administrator shall work in coordination and 
collaboration with other Federal agencies, States, and United 
States territorial governments to implement the strategies 
developed under section 203, including regional and local 
strategies, to address multiple threats to coral reefs and 
coral reef ecosystems such as coastal runoff, vessel impacts, 
and overharvesting.

SEC. [209.] 212. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6408]

  (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to 
the Secretary to carry out this title [$16,000,000 for each of 
fiscal years 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004,] $30,000,000 for 
fiscal year 2006, $32,000,000 for fiscal year 2007, $34,000,000 
for fiscal year 2008, and $35,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
2009 through 2012, of which no less than 30 percent per year 
(for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2012) shall be used for 
the grant program under section 204 and up to 10 percent per 
year shall be used for the Fund established under section 205, 
which may remain available until expended.
  (b) Administration.--Of the amounts appropriated under 
subsection (a), not more than the lesser of [$1,000,000] 
$2,000,000 or 10 percent of the amounts appropriated, may be 
used for program administration or for overhead costs incurred 
by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the 
Department of Commerce and assessed as an administrative 
charge.
  [(c) Coral Reef Conservation Program.--From the amounts 
appropriated under subsection (a), there shall be made 
available to the Secretary $8,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 for coral reef conservation 
activities under section 204.]
  (c) Community-Based Planning Grants.--There is authorized to 
be appropriated to the Administrator to carry out section 209 
the sum of $8,000,000 for fiscal years 2007 through 2012, such 
sum to remain available until expended.
  [(d) National Coral Reef Activities.--From the amounts 
appropriated under subsection (a), there shall be made 
available to the Secretary $8,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 for activities under section 207.]

SEC. [210.] 213. DEFINITIONS.

                            [16 U.S.C. 6409]

  In this title
          (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means 
        the Administrator of the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration.
          (2) Conservation.--The term ``conservation'' means 
        the use of methods and procedures necessary to preserve 
        or sustain corals and associated species as diverse, 
        viable, and self-perpetuating coral reef ecosystems, 
        including all activities associated with resource 
        management, such as assessment, conservation, 
        protection, restoration, sustainable use, and 
        management of habitat; mapping; habitat monitoring; 
        assistance in the development of management strategies 
        for marine protected areas and marine resources 
        consistent with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 
        U.S.C. 1431 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
        Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et 
        seq.); law enforcement; conflict resolution 
        initiatives; community outreach and education; and that 
        promote safe and ecologically sound navigation.
          (3) Coral.--The term ``coral'' means species of the 
        phylum Cnidaria, including--
                  (A) all species of the orders Antipatharia 
                (black corals), Scleractinia (stony corals), 
                Gorgonacea (horny corals), Stolonifera 
                (organpipe corals and others), Alcyanacea (soft 
                corals), and Coenothecalia (blue coral), of the 
                class Anthozoa; and
                  (B) all species of the order Hydrocorallina 
                (fire corals and hydrocorals) of the class 
                Hydrozoa.
          (4) Coral reef.--The term ``coral reef'' means any 
        reefs or shoals composed primarily of corals.
          (5) Coral reef ecosystem.--The term ``coral reef 
        ecosystem'' means coral and other species of reef 
        organisms (including reef plants) associated with coral 
        reefs, and the nonliving environmental factors that 
        directly affect coral reefs, that together function as 
        an ecological unit in nature.
          (6) Coral products.--The term ``coral products'' 
        means any living or dead specimens, parts, or 
        derivatives, or any product containing specimens, 
        parts, or derivatives, of any species referred to in 
        paragraph (3).
          (7) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the 
        Secretary of Commerce.
          (8) State.--The term ``State'' means any State of the 
        United States that contains a coral reef ecosystem 
        within its seaward boundaries, American Samoa, Guam, 
        the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the 
        Virgin Islands, and any other territory or possession 
        of the United States, or separate sovereign in free 
        association with the United States, that contains a 
        coral reef ecosystem within its seaward boundaries.