[Senate Report 113-28]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                        Calendar No. 59
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     113-28
======================================================================
 
                      DEVIL'S STAIRCASE WILDERNESS

                                _______
                                

                 April 22, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 352]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 352) to provide for the designation of 
the Devil's Staircase Wilderness Area in the State of Oregon, 
to designate segments of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the 
State of Oregon as wild rivers, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of S. 352 is to designate approximately 30,540 
acres of Federal land in the State of Oregon as the Devil's 
Staircase Wilderness and to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers 
Act to designate approximately 10.1 miles of Wasson Creek and 
4.5 miles of Franklin Creek in the State of Oregon as 
components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

                          Background and Need

    The Devil's Staircase area is part of the Oregon Coast 
Range on the west coast of Oregon, northwest of Elkton. The 
terrain is steep, wild, and remote, and is home to two 
threatened bird species: the northern spotted owl and the 
marbled murrelet. The name ``Devil's Staircase'' comes from a 
stair-step waterfall on Wasson Creek.
    Approximately 23,660 acres of the land proposed for 
wilderness designation are managed by the Forest Service as 
Late Successional Reserves in the Siuslaw National Forest. The 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages approximately 6,880 
acres of the land proposed for wilderness designation, most of 
which is revested Oregon and California Railroad land. The BLM 
land currently is administratively protected as an Area of 
Critical Environmental Concern and through other protective 
classifications.
    The creeks proposed for designation under the Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Act are characterized by outstanding scenic, 
recreational, and ecological values, and have been identified 
as critical habitat for coho salmon, a threatened species under 
the Endangered Species Act.

                          Legislative History

    S. 352 was introduced by Senators Wyden and Merkley on 
February 14, 2013. At its business meeting on March 14, 2013, 
the Committee ordered S. 23 favorably reported by voice vote.
    Similar legislation, S. 766, was introduced in the 112th 
Congress by Senators Wyden and Merkley on April 7, 2011. The 
Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing on the 
bill on May 18, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-39). At its business meeting 
on November 10, 2011, the Committee ordered S. 766 favorably 
reported without amendment (S. Rpt. 112-39). The Committee 
reported a similar bill (S. 1272) in the 111th Congress.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on March 14, 2013, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 352.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 provides the short title for the bill, the 
``Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act of 2013.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
    Section 3(a) designates approximately 30,540 acres of 
Federal land managed by the Forest Service and BLM as the 
Devil's Staircase Wilderness.
    Subsection (b) directs the Secretary to prepare a map and 
legal description of the Wilderness and to make it publically 
available.
    Subsection (c) provides that the designation of the Devil's 
Staircase Wilderness shall be administered in accordance with 
the Wilderness Act, except as provided in paragraphs (1) and 
(2) and subject to valid existing rights. The Committee is 
aware that the Forest Service's records indicate that some 
parcels of National Forest land within the proposed wilderness 
are subject to an existing undeveloped easement, including in 
sec. 15, T. 21 S., R. 10 W. This provision reiterates that the 
application of the Wilderness Act to the Federal land is 
subject to and would not interfere with the exercise of any 
valid existing easements.
    Subsection (d) clarifies that the wilderness designation 
does not affect the State of Oregon's jurisdiction with respect 
to fish and wildlife.
    Subsection (e) clarifies that the wilderness designation 
does not create a buffer or preclude non-wilderness activities 
outside of the wilderness.
    Subsection (f) confirms that the wilderness designation 
does not diminish any tribal treaty rights.
    Subsection (g) transfers administrative jurisdiction over 
approximately 49 acres of BLM land to the Forest Service, to be 
administered in accordance with the Weeks Law (16 U.S.C. 480 et 
seq.) and other laws applicable to the National Forest System.
    Section 4 amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. 
1274(a)) to add approximately 4.5 miles of Franklin Creek and 
approximately 10.1 miles in two segments of Wasson Creek to be 
administered by the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior 
as wild rivers.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 352--Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act of 2013

    S. 352 would designate about 30,540 acres of federal land 
in Oregon as the Devil's Staircase Wilderness. The bill also 
would designate about 15 miles of creeks in the area as wild 
rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Based on 
information provided by the agencies that administer those 
areas and assuming the appropriation of the necessary amounts, 
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost less than 
$300,000 over the 2014-2018 period. Enacting S. 352 would not 
affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that completing a management plan for the 
waterways to be added by S. 352 to the Wild and Scenic Rivers 
System would cost about $250,000 within two years. We estimate 
that any costs to revise brochures, maps, and signs to reflect 
the new designations would be minimal because most such 
revisions would take place in conjunction with scheduled 
reprinting and routine maintenance.
    The lands that would be designated as wilderness under the 
bill are already managed for conservation purposes and produce 
no income from commercial activities. Therefore, CBO estimates 
that enacting S. 352 would have no effect on offsetting 
receipts.
    S. 352 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 352.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 352, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    S. 352, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        Executive Communications

    Executive Communications were not requested by the Senate 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the 113th 
Congress. The following Administration testimony references 
similar legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.
    The views of the Department of Agriculture and the 
Department of the Interior were included in testimony received 
by the Committee at the May 18, 2011, hearing (S. Hrg. 112-39), 
which is provided below.

 Statement of Mary Wagner, Associate Chief, Forest Service, Department 
                             of Agriculture

    Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ranking Member and distinguished 
members of the Committee, I am Mary Wagner, Associate Chief of 
the Forest Service. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with 
you today about a bill that addresses Wilderness designation in 
the coastal Douglas-fir forests of Oregon.
    S. 766 would designate an area known as the Devil's 
Staircase as wilderness under the National Wilderness 
Preservation System. In addition, S. 766 would designate 
segments of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the State of Oregon 
and within the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness as wild 
rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
    The Department supports the designation of the Devil's 
Staircase Wilderness as well as the Wild and Scenic River 
designations on National Forest System lands. We would like to 
offer minor modifications to S. 766 that would enhance 
wilderness values and improve our ability to manage resources 
in the area.
    The Devil's Staircase area lies in the central Oregon Coast 
Range, north of the Umpqua River and south of the Smith River. 
Elevations in the area range from near sea level to about 1,600 
feet. The area is characterized by steep, highly dissected 
terrain. It is quite remote and difficult to access. A stair 
step waterfall on Wasson Creek is the source of the name 
Devil's Staircase.
    The area that would be designated as wilderness by S. 766 
encompasses approximately 30,540 acres of National Forest 
System (NFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. NFS 
lands are approximately 24,000 acres, and BLM lands are 
approximately 6,500 acres.
    All NFS lands that would be designated as wilderness are 
classified as Late Successional Reserve under the Northwest 
Forest Plan, which amended the Siuslaw National Forest LRMP in 
1994. This land allocation provides for the preservation of old 
growth (late successional) habitat and is compatible with a 
wilderness designation. There are no planned resource 
management or developed recreation projects within the NFS 
portion of the lands to be designated as wilderness.
    Most of the area is forested with older stands of Douglas-
fir and western hemlock, and red alder in riparian areas. All 
three tree species are under-represented in the National 
Wilderness Preservation System, relative to their abundance on 
NFS lands in Washington and Oregon. These older stands provide 
critical habitat and support nesting pairs of the northern 
spotted owl and marbled murrelet, which are listed as 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
    The proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness provides an 
outstanding representation of the Oregon Coast Range and would 
enhance the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Oregon 
Coast Range has been largely modified with development, roads, 
and logging. Three small wilderness areas currently exist along 
the Oregon portion of the Pacific Coast Range, and the proposed 
Devil's Staircase Wilderness would more than double the acres 
of old-growth coastal rainforest in a preservation status. 
Wilderness designation would also preserve the Devil's 
Staircase, which is a unique landscape feature.
    There are approximately 24 miles of National Forest System 
roads within the proposed boundary, 10.5 miles of which are not 
needed for administrative use and would be decommissioned and 
obliterated. The remainder would be converted to a trail as 
discussed below. The Department recognizes that decommissioning 
and obliteration of this magnitude may require the use of 
motorized equipment to remove road related structures and 
grading. We anticipate analyzing such use under the Forest 
Service's minimum requirements analysis process.
    The remaining 13.5 miles of road comprise Forest Service 
Road 4100, which bisects the proposed wilderness. The 
Department recommends that this road be converted and managed 
as a non-motorized, foot and/or horse trail compatible with 
wilderness uses. The Forest Service would use a minimum 
requirement analysis process to determine the appropriate tools 
necessary to complete activities associated with the road.
    The bill would transfer administrative jurisdiction over 49 
acres of BLM land to the Forest Service. The Forest Service 
supports the transfer of jurisdiction.
    S. 766 also would designate approximately 10.4 miles of 
streams on National Forest System lands as part of the National 
Wild and Scenic Rivers System: 5.9 miles of Wasson Creek and 
4.5 miles of Franklin Creek, both on the Siuslaw National 
Forest. Both Wasson and Franklin Creeks have been identified by 
the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as critical 
habitat for coho salmon (Oregon Coast ESU [Evolutionarily 
Significant Unit] of coho salmon), a threatened species under 
the Endangered Species Act. While the critical habitat portion 
of Wasson Creek is below the Devil's Staircase waterfall and 
thus largely outside the proposed wild and scenic designation, 
the designation will nevertheless help ensure that the lower 
portion of the creek remains suitable as coho habitat.
    The Department defers to, and agrees with, the Department 
of the Interior concerning the proposal to designate the 4.2-
mile segment of Wasson Creek flowing on lands administered by 
BLM.
    The Forest Service conducted an evaluation of the Wasson 
and Franklin Creeks to determine their eligibility for wild and 
scenic rivers designation as part of the forest planning 
process for the Siuslaw National Forest. However, the agency 
has not conducted a wild and scenic river suitability study, 
which provides the basis for determining whether to recommend a 
river as an addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers 
System. Wasson Creek was found eligible as it is both free-
flowing and possesses outstandingly remarkable scenic, 
recreational and ecological values. The Department supports 
designation of the 5.9 miles of the Wasson Creek on NFS lands 
based on the segment's eligibility.
    At the time of the evaluation in 1990, Franklin Creek, 
although free flowing, was found not to possess river-related 
values significant at a regional or national scale and was 
therefore determined ineligible for designation. Subsequent to 
the 1990 eligibility study, the Forest Service has found that 
Franklin Creek provides critical habitat for coho salmon, 
currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species 
Act, and also serves as a reference stream for research because 
of its relatively pristine character, which is rare in the 
Oregon Coast Range. Due to the presence of coho salmon and the 
pristine character the Department does not oppose its 
designation. Designation of the proposed segments of both 
Wasson and Franklin Creeks is consistent with the proposed 
designation of the area as wilderness. The actual Devil's 
Staircase landmark is located on Wasson Creek.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I am happy to 
answer any questions that you may have on Devil's Staircase 
Wilderness Act.

  Statement of Mike Pool, Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Thank you for inviting the Department of the Interior to 
testify on S. 766, the Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act of 
2011. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supports S. 766 as it 
applies to lands we manage.


                               background


    The proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness, near the coast 
of southwestern Oregon, is not for the faint of heart. Mostly 
wild land and difficult to access, the Devil's Staircase 
reminds us of what much of this land looked like hundreds of 
years ago. A multi-storied forest of Douglas fir and western 
hemlock towers over underbrush of giant ferns, providing 
critical habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and 
Marbled Murrelet. The remote and rugged nature of this area 
provides a truly wild experience for any hiker.


                                 s. 766


    S. 766 proposes to designate over 30,000 acres as 
wilderness, as well as portions of both Franklin Creek and 
Wasson Creek as components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers 
System. The majority of these designations are on lands managed 
by the U.S. Forest Service. The Department of the Interior 
defers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on those 
designations.
    Approximately 6,830 acres of the proposed Devil's Staircase 
Wilderness and 4.2 miles of the Wasson Creek proposed 
designation are within lands managed by the BLM. The Department 
of the Interior supports these designations.
    We note that while the vast majority of the acres proposed 
for designation are Oregon & California (O&C) lands, identified 
under the 1937 O&C Lands Act for timber production, the BLM 
currently restricts timber production on these lands. These 
lands are administratively withdrawn from timber production by 
the BLM through various administrative classifications. 
Additionally, the BLM estimates that nearly 90 percent of the 
area proposed for designation is comprised of forest stands 
that are over 100 years old, and provides critical habitat for 
the threatened Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl.
    The 4.2 miles of Wasson Creek would be designated as a wild 
river to be managed by the BLM under S. 766. The majority of 
the acres protected through this designation would be within 
the proposed Devil's Staircase wilderness designation, though 
376 acres would be outside the proposed wilderness on adjacent 
BLM lands.
    The designations identified on BLM-managed lands under S. 
766 would result in only minor modification of current 
management of the area and would preserve these wild lands for 
future generations.


                               conclusion


    Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of 
these important Oregon designations. The Department of the 
Interior looks forward to welcoming these units into the BLM's 
National Landscape Conservation System.

                        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 S. 766, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                       WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS ACT

             (Public Law 90-542; Approved October 2, 1968)


  AN ACT To provide a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for 
other purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Sec. 3.(a)
    The following rivers and the land adjacent thereto are 
hereby designed as components of the national wild and scenic 
rivers system:

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (210) Franklin creek, oregon.--The 4.5-mile segment 
        from its headwaters to the line of angle points within 
        sec. 8, T. 22 S., R. 10 W., shown on the survey 
        recorded in the Official Records of Douglas County, 
        Oregon, as M64-62, to be administered by the Secretary 
        of Agriculture as a wild river.
          (211) Wasson creek, oregon.--The 10.1-mile segment in 
        the following classes:
                  (A) The 4.2-mile segment from the eastern 
                boundary of sec. 17, T. 21 S., R. 9 W., 
                downstream to the western boundary of sec. 12, 
                T. 21 S., R. 10 W., to be administered by the 
                Secretary of the Interior as a wild river.
                  (B) The 5.9-mile segment from the western 
                boundary of sec. 12, T. 21 S., R. 10 W., 
                downstream to the eastern boundary of the 
                northwest quarter of sec. 22, T. 21 S., R. 10 
                W., to be administered by the Secretary of 
                Agriculture as a wild river.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *