H.R. 2188: Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2009

H.R. 2188

Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2009

Date
July 13, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 2188 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage on Monday, July 13, 2009. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) on April 30, 2009. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill on July 10, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2188 would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish a Joint Ventures Program through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to provide financial and technical support to migratory bird conservation partnerships. The Director of the FWS would be required to establish joint partnerships with public and private entities in order to protect migratory bird populations and complement and support the activities of previous legislation designed with a similar purpose.

The bill would authorize the Director of the FWS enter into joint ventures with eligible partners, including federal and State agencies, state and local governments, private landowners, and nongovernmental organizations with expertise in bird conservation. Any agreements entered into must establish a management board to oversee the joint venture. Each board would be required to develop, publish, and comply with a plan that specifies the organizational structure of the joint venture and prescribes its operational practices and procedures. Each management plan must be reviewed and approved by the FWS Director.

In supporting these newly established joint ventures, the Director of the FWS may provide grants to pay for administrative costs, personnel, meetings, travel, and to support specific conservation actions. Priority for establishing joint ventures which the Director determines offer equal benefits would go to the program for which there exist non-Federal matching contributions.

The bill would require annual reports from each management board containing a description and justification of all conservation actions approved and implemented. The program would also be reviewed every five years to determine the effectiveness of the program in meeting its stated goals.

 

Background

According to House Report 111-201, which accompanies the legislation, there are already 21 public and private joint ventures that support migratory bird habitat protection in the U.S. and four in Canada. The joint ventures were established following the creation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), an agreement for protecting North American migratory birds that was developed by the U.S. and Canadian governments in the 1980s. Joint ventures were created as a method for utilizing pre-existing public and private resources to protect bird habitat. Under joint ventures, the federal government is authorized to provide funds for administration and personnel for non-federal entities.

According to the FWS, joint ventures are described as, "A self-directed partnership of agencies, organizations, corporations, tribes, or individuals that has formally accepted the responsibility of implementing national or international bird conservation plans within a specific geographic area or for a specific taxonomic group, and has received general acceptance in the bird conservation community for such responsibility." The Committee Report states that joint ventures have invested $4.5 billion to conserve approximately 15.6 million acres of habitat since they were created.

Since these joint ventures already exist under current law, some Members may believe that the establishment of additional joint venture authority is duplicative and unnecessary. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 2188 would have a negligible effect on federal budget because "a similar program already exists." In addition, CBO notes that programs have received $13 million in appropriations in FY 2009.

 

Cost

According to CBO, H.R. 2188 would have "a negligible effect on the federal budget."