United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Dec 03, 2022

§ 2330c.
Aquatic ecosystem restoration
(a)
Definition of eligible entity
In this section, the term “eligible entity” means—
(1)
any State, Indian Tribe, irrigation district, or water district;
(2)
any State, regional, or local authority, the members of which include 1 or more organizations with water or power delivery authority;
(3)
any other entity or organization that owns a facility that is eligible for upgrade, modification or removal under this section;
(4)
any nonprofit conservation organization, acting in partnership with any entity listed in paragraphs (1) through (3), with respect to a project involving land or infrastructure owned by the entity; and
(5)
an agency established under State law for the joint exercise of powers or a combination of entities described in paragraphs (1) through (4).
(b)
General authority
(1)
In general

Subject to the requirements of this section and paragraph (2), on request of any eligible entity the Secretary may negotiate and enter into an agreement on behalf of the United States to fund the design, study, and construction of an aquatic ecosystem restoration and protection project in a Reclamation State if the Secretary determines that the project is likely to improve the health of fisheries, wildlife or aquatic habitat, including through habitat restoration and improved fish passage via the removal or bypass of barriers to fish passage.

(2)
Exception
With respect to an aquatic ecosystem restoration and protection project under this section that removes a dam or modifies a dam in a manner that reduces storage or diversion capacity, the Secretary may only negotiate and enter into an agreement to fund—
(A)
the design or study of such project if the Secretary has received consent from the owner of the applicable dam; or
(B)
the construction of such project if the Secretary—
(i)
identifies any eligible entity that receives water or power from the facility that is under consideration for removal or modification at the time of the request;
(ii)
notifies each eligible entity identified in clause (i) that the dam removal or modification project has been requested; and
(iii)
does not receive, by the date that is 120 days after the date on which all eligible entities have been notified under clause (ii), written objection from 1 or more eligible entities that collectively receive ⅓ or more of the water or power delivered from the facility that is under consideration for removal or modification at the time of the request.
(c)
Requirements
(1)
In general

The Secretary shall accept and consider public comment prior to initiating design, study or development of a project under this section.

(2)
Preconditions
Construction of a project under this section shall be a voluntary project initiated only after—
(A)
an eligible entity has entered into an agreement with the Secretary to pay no less than 35 percent of the costs of project construction;
(B)
an eligible entity has entered an agreement to pay 100 percent of any operation, maintenance, and replacement and rehabilitation costs with respect to the project;
(C)
the Secretary determines the proposed project—
(i)
will not result in an unmitigated adverse impact on fulfillment of existing water delivery obligations consistent with historical operations and applicable contracts;
(ii)
will not result in an unmitigated adverse effect on the environment;
(iii)
is consistent with the responsibilities of the Secretary—
(I)
in the role as trustee for federally recognized Indian Tribes; and
(II)
to ensure compliance with any applicable international and Tribal treaties and agreements and interstate compacts and agreements;
(iv)
is in the financial interest of the United States based on a determination that the project advances Federal objectives including environmental enhancement objectives in a Reclamation State; and
(v)
complies with all applicable Federal and State law, including environmental laws; and
(D)
the Secretary has complied with all applicable environmental laws, including—
(i)
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);
(ii)
the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); and
(iii)
subtitle III of title 54.
(d)
Funding

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $15,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026, to remain available until expended.

(e)
Effects
(1)
In general

Nothing in this section supersedes or limits any existing authority provided, or responsibility conferred, by any provision of law.

(2)
Effect on state water law
Nothing in this section preempts or affects any—
(A)
State water law; or
(B)
interstate compact governing water.
(f)
Compliance required

The Secretary shall comply with applicable State water laws in carrying out this section.

(g)
Priority for projects providing regional benefits and assistance for aging assets
When funding projects under this section, the Secretary shall prioritize projects that—
(1)
are jointly developed and supported by a diverse array of stakeholders including representatives of irrigated agricultural production, hydroelectric production, potable water purveyors and industrial water users, Indian Tribes, commercial fishing interests, and nonprofit conservation organizations;
(2)
affect water resources management in 2 or more river basins while providing regional benefits not limited to fisheries restoration;
(3)
are a component of a broader strategy or plan to replace aging facilities with 1 or more alternate facilities providing similar benefits; and
(4)
contribute to the restoration of anadromous fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
(Pub. L. 116–260, div. FF, title XI, § 1109, Dec. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 3244.)
cite as: 33 USC 2330c