HOUSE BILL 266
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
Paul C. Bandy and Peter Wirth
RELATING TO NATURAL RESOURCES; ENACTING THE FOREST AND WATERSHED RESTORATION ACT; ESTABLISHING A BOARD; PROVIDING POWERS AND DUTIES; PROVIDING CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION AND FUNDING OF PROJECTS; MAKING A DISTRIBUTION FROM THE NEW MEXICO IRRIGATION WORKS CONSTRUCTION FUND AND THE IMPROVEMENT OF RIO GRANDE INCOME FUND.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--Sections 1 through 6 of this act may be cited as the "Forest and Watershed Restoration Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Forest and Watershed Restoration Act:
A. "board" means the forest and watershed advisory
B. "division" means the forestry division of the
energy, minerals and natural resources department;
C. "project" means a large-scale forest and watershed restoration project on any lands in the state that increases the adaptability and resilience to recurring drought and extreme weather events of the state's forests and watersheds; protects water sources; reduces the risk of wildfire, including plans for watershed conservation; restores burned areas or thins forests; and includes a related economic or workforce development project or a wildlife conservation or habitat improvement project; and
D. "sponsor" means a federal, state or local
government agency, tribal entity, corporation or organization
that applies for a project or is conducting a project in
conjunction with the division.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] FOREST AND WATERSHED ADVISORY BOARD CREATED--MEMBERSHIP--APPOINTMENTS--TERMS--COMPENSATION.--
A. The "forest and watershed advisory board" is
created and is administratively attached to the energy,
minerals and natural resources department. The board consists
of the following members:
(1) the New Mexico state forester;
(2) the commissioner of public lands or the
(3) the secretary of economic development or
the secretary's designee;
(4) the secretary of environment or the
(5) the director of the department of game
and fish or the director's designee;
(6) the state fire marshal or the fire marshal's designee; and
(7) three public members appointed by the
governor from a list of nominees submitted to the governor
jointly by the president pro tempore of the senate and the
speaker of the house of representatives:
(a) one of whom shall be a representative of the forest products industry;
(b) one of whom shall be a representative of local government interests, such as a member of New Mexico counties or the soil and water conservation commission; and
(c) one of whom shall be a representative of an academic or nonprofit conservation organization with a focus on ecological restoration science.
B. Public members of the board shall serve until
their successors have been appointed.
C. A majority of the members of the board
constitutes a quorum for transaction of business. The board
shall elect a chair from among its members.
D. Members of the board are entitled to receive per diem and mileage pursuant to the Per Diem and Mileage Act and
shall receive no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] BOARD--DIVISION--POWERS AND DUTIES.--
A. The board shall:
(1) recommend guidelines, protocols and best
management practices for projects;
(2) foster partnerships and cooperation
among federal, state and county agencies, tribal entities,
political subdivisions of the state, soil and water
conservation districts, the forest products industry and other
public or private organizations dedicated to forest and
watershed conservation and restoration programs or projects or
wildlife conservation or habitat improvement programs or
(3) evaluate and recommend projects to the division for funding.
B. The division may:
(1) seek and accept all public and private
funds and gifts, devises, grants and donations from others to
carry out the provisions of the Forest and Watershed
(2) beginning July 1, 2019, provide partial or full funding for approved projects and facilitate and coordinate funding from multiple sources for projects, when appropriate; and
(3) adopt rules to carry out the purposes of the Forest and Watershed Restoration Act.
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] USE OF FOREST AND WATERSHED RESTORATION FUND--PROJECT EVALUATION AND PRIORITIZATION.--
A. Money in the forest land protection revolving fund may be used to administer and carry out the purposes of the Forest and Watershed Restoration Act and to fund projects
authorized by the division on any lands in the state for:
(1) on-the-ground restoration treatments;
(2) project planning;
(3) economic development programs to advance
the use of small-diameter trees and wood biomass removed for
hazardous fuel reduction and forest and watershed restoration; or
(4) workforce development for wood utilization projects.
B. A project is eligible for funding if the
project is for a public benefit and:
(1) is part of a current state forest and
watershed health plan or forest action plan, a community
wildfire protection plan, other comprehensive forest and
watershed treatment plan or wildlife conservation or habitat
improvement plan approved by the board;
(2) incorporates actions recommended by
current plans or, where new plans are developed, seeks to
integrate forest, fire and water management with community and
economic development plans;
(3) protects watersheds that are the
source of drinking or irrigation water;
(4) targets an area at high risk of
catastrophic wildfire; or
(5) has obtained all requisite state and
federal permits and authorizations necessary to initiate the
project, if the project is other than a planning project.
C. A project that is eligible for funding in
accordance with Subsection B of this section shall be given
priority for funding by the division if the project:
(1) leverages federal, state, local, tribal or private sources and, if available, support from other public or private water, forest, fire, wildlife habitat or economic development programs;
(2) is in an area:
(a) with a wood supply that can be used
as biomass for energy production;
(b) where small-diameter trees may be
put to commercial use; or
(c) where traditional forest products
may be produced;
(3) is clustered around priority areas that
are able to supply a useful amount of wood products for industry; or
(4) creates incentives to increase
investment by federal, state, local, tribal or private
entities, including investment by downstream water users to
manage forested headwaters and water sources.
D. Beginning July 1, 2019, sponsors may apply to the division for project funding.
SECTION 6. [NEW MATERIAL] REPORT BY DIVISION.--At least forty-five days prior to each legislative session, the division shall submit a report concerning its activities, the projects
implemented and any recommended legislation to the governor
and the legislature.
SECTION 7. Section 68-2-28 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1987, Chapter 143, Section 6, as amended) is amended to read:
"68-2-28. FOREST LAND PROTECTION REVOLVING FUND CREATED.--
A. There is created in the state treasury a revolving fund to be known as the "forest land protection revolving fund". The forest land protection revolving fund shall consist of all receipts as provided by Section 68-2-26 NMSA 1978, appropriations, gifts, grants, donations and [from] revenue received by the forestry division of the energy, minerals and natural resources department from the federal government or other state agencies and other sources for conducting forest and watershed management projects. Subject to legislative appropriation, expenditures may be made from the forest land protection revolving fund upon vouchers signed by the state forester and warrants issued by the secretary of finance and administration:
(1) for the administration and enforcement of the Forest Conservation Act; [and]
(2) to administer forest and watershed management projects, including acquisition of tools and equipment and expenses incurred by the forestry division in planning and supervising forest and watershed management projects; and
(3) to fund approved projects pursuant to the Forest and Watershed Restoration Act.
B. Money in the forest land protection revolving fund shall not revert to the general fund."
SECTION 8. Section 72-14-6 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1935, Chapter 24, Section 3, as amended by Laws 1997, Chapter 241, Section 3 and also by Laws 1997, Chapter 246, Section 3) is amended to read:
"72-14-6. APPROPRIATION--HOW DISBURSEMENTS ARE TO BE MADE.--
A. Annually, one million dollars ($1,000,000) shall be distributed from the improvement of Rio Grande income fund to the forest land protection revolving fund.
B. There is appropriated annually all money remaining in the improvement of the Rio Grande income fund after the distribution pursuant to Subsection A of this section or as much thereof as may be necessary for the purpose of complying with Sections 72-14-4 through 72-14-6 and 72-14-9 through 72-14-28 NMSA 1978 and to fulfill and carry out their purposes and intentions. The appropriations authorized shall be paid, from time to time as may be necessary, upon vouchers approved by the interstate stream commission."
SECTION 9. Section 72-14-23 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1955, Chapter 266, Section 15, as amended) is amended to read:
"72-14-23. NEW MEXICO IRRIGATION WORKS CONSTRUCTION FUND CREATED--LIMITATION OF LIABILITY UNDER ACT--REPARATION OF DAMAGES CAUSED IN CARRYING OUT POWERS GRANTED--AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION TO RECEIVE CONTRIBUTIONS.--
A. There is [(hereby)] created a fund to be known as the "New Mexico irrigation works construction fund", which shall consist of the income creditable to the permanent reservoirs for irrigation purposes income fund not otherwise pledged under Section [75-34-19 New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 1953 Compilation, (being Laws 1955, Chapter 266, Section 11)] 72-14-19 NMSA 1978 and all other [moneys which] money that may be appropriated by the [state] legislature to [said] the construction fund. [Such] The fund shall be a continuing fund and shall not revert to the general fund [of the state] or to any other fund [of the state at the end of any biennium].
B. Annually, one million dollars ($1,000,000) shall be distributed from the New Mexico irrigation works construction fund to the forest land protection revolving fund.
C. The cost of investigations and construction as authorized in Section [75-34-11 New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 1953 Compilation (being Laws 1955, Chapter 266, Section 3)] 72-14-11 NMSA 1978 shall be paid from [said] the New Mexico irrigation works construction fund and also the cost of all preliminary work on any project, and all expenses directly chargeable to such project, prior to the receipt of the proceeds of bonds, shall be paid from the construction fund. The amount of all such expenses on account of any project [or projects] and such part of the general administrative expenses of the commission and the cost of investigation [or investigations] as shall be properly chargeable, in the opinion of the commission, to such project [or projects] shall be reimbursed to the construction fund upon the receipt of the proceeds of bonds issued for such project [or projects]. No liability or obligation shall be incurred under the provisions of Sections [75-34-9 to 75-34-27 New Mexico Statutes, 1953 Compilation (being Laws 1955, Chapter 266, Sections 1 to 19)] 72-14-9 through 72-14-28 NMSA 1978 beyond the extent to which the money [shall have] has been provided under the authority of [this act] those sections. All public and private property damaged or destroyed in carrying out the powers granted under [this act] those sections shall be restored or repaired and placed in [their] its original condition, as nearly as practicable, or adequate compensation made therefor out of funds provided by [this act] those sections.
D. The commission shall also have authority to pay the cost of such investigations and construction on any project from [said] the New Mexico irrigation works construction fund when contracts in form satisfactory to it [shall] have been entered into whereby title to works [shall] have been mortgaged, deeded, assigned or transferred by the owner [thereof] to the commission, and a program for reimbursement of all amounts expended, together with operation and maintenance charges, [shall] have been agreed upon; provided that no construction contract shall be entered into without the prior approval of the state board of finance. The commission shall also have authority to receive and accept appropriations and contributions from any source of either money or property or other things of value to be held, used and applied for the purposes [in this act] provided in Sections 72-14-9 through 72-14-28 NMSA 1978."
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