Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (10/14/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Estuary Habitat Restoration

Title II: Chesapeake Bay and Other Regional Initiatives

Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1998 - Title I: Estuary Habitat Restoration - Establishes the Estuary Habitat Restoration Collaborative Council, to be composed of specified Federal officials.

(Sec. 105) Directs the Council to develop an estuary habitat restoration strategy to ensure a comprehensive approach to the selection and prioritization of estuary habitat restoration projects and the coordination of Federal and non-Federal activities related to such restoration.

Sets forth factors to be considered by the Council in determining project assistance eligibility.

Grants a restoration project a higher priority for funding if it meets selection criteria and: (1) it is part of an approved Federal estuary management or habitat restoration plan; (2) the non-Federal share of the project exceeds 50 percent; or (3) there is a program within the project watershed that addresses sources of water pollution that would otherwise re-impair the restored habitat.

Permits the Council to pay up to 25 percent of the cost of interim actions of restoration activity, pending completion of the strategy.

Prohibits selection of a project until non-Federal interests have entered into specified written cooperation agreements. Requires such agreements to provide for project maintenance and monitoring.

Authorizes appropriations for the Council.

(Sec. 106) Requires non-Federal applicants for assistance to demonstrate that a project meets this title's requirements and criteria established by the Council. Limits the Federal share of assistance to 65 percent of a project's cost.

(Sec. 107) Directs the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the Department of Commerce to maintain a database of information on projects funded under this title.

(Sec. 110) Makes certain funds provided under the Water Resources Development Acts of 1986 and 1996 available to States and non-Federal persons in carrying out interim actions or projects under this title.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 111) Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to permit certain grants for the development of estuary conservation and management plans to be used for the implementation of plans as well.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for the National Estuary Program through FY 2000.

(Sec. 112) Requires the Secretary of the Army to give estuary habitat restoration projects the same consideration as irrigation, navigation, or flood control projects and to establish such restoration as a primary mission of the Army Corps of Engineers. Authorizes the Secretary to carry out such projects.

Directs the Comptroller General to report to the Congress and the Secretary on the extent to which the Council needs additional personnel and administrative resources to carry out this title, including recommendations for necessary additional funding.

Title II: Chesapeake Bay and Other Regional Initiatives - Revises provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to: (1) continue the Chesapeake Bay Program; and (2) maintain a Program Office to provide specified support to the Chesapeake Executive Council.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide technical assistance and assistance grants to nonprofit private organizations and individuals, State and local governments, colleges and universities, and interstate agencies to carry out the Program. Provides the Federal and non-Federal share of various Program costs. Provides for Chesapeake Bay Agreement (an agreement among signatory members to restore and protect the Bay's ecosystem) signatory management mechanism implementation grants, with specified Federal and non-Federal shares.

Requires any Federal agency that owns or operates a facility within the Bay watershed to participate in regional and subwatershed planning and restoration programs.

Directs the Administrator to ensure that management plans are developed and that implementation is begun by Agreement signatories for the Bay tributaries to achieve specified nutrient, water quality, toxics reduction, and habitat restoration and protection goals.

Authorizes the Administrator to offer technical assistance and assistance grants for cooperative tributary basin strategies that address the Bay's water quality and living resource needs or locally-based protection and restoration programs that complement such strategies.

Directs the Administrator to study and report to the Congress on Program goals, effects, and needs.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical and financial assistance to: (1) identify, conserve, restore, and interpret natural, recreational, historical, and cultural resources within the Bay watershed; (2) identify and utilize such resources as Chesapeake Bay Gateways sites for enhancing public education of and access to the Bay; (3) link such Gateways sites with trails, roads, byways, and other connections; (4) develop and establish Chesapeake Bay Watertrails comprising water routes and connections to the Gateways sites and other land resources within the watershed; and (5) create a network of Gateways sites and Watertrails, including within such network State or Federal parks or refuges, historic seaports, and archaeological, cultural, historical, or recreational sites.

Requires the Secretary to establish a Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 203) Directs the Administrator, the Secretary of Commerce (acting through the Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service), the Secretary of Health and Human Services (acting through the Directors of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and the Secretary of Agriculture to: (1) establish a research program for the eradication or control of Pfiesteria piscicida and other aquatic toxins; and (2) make grants to colleges, universities, and other entities in affected States for the eradication or control of Pfiesteria and other aquatic toxins.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 204) Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to extend the authorization of appropriations for specified activities related to the Management Conference of the Long Island Sound Study.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes the Administrator to provide financial assistance to the National Environmental Waste Technology Testing and Evaluation Center in Butte, Montana.

Authorizes appropriations.