The Secretary may conduct a Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, in cooperation with appropriate State, regional, and other units of government, for the purposes of protecting important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural, undeveloped, or recreational state to other uses or could be managed or restored to effectively conserve, enhance, or restore ecological function. The program shall be administered by the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.
Grant funds under the program shall require a 100 percent match from other non-Federal sources.
The Secretary may grant a waiver of subparagraph (A) for underserved communities, communities that have an inability to draw on other sources of funding because of the small population or low income of the community, or for other reasons the Secretary deems appropriate and consistent with the purposes of the program.
Where financial assistance awarded under this section represents only a portion of the total cost of a project, funding from other Federal sources may be applied to the cost of the project. Each portion shall be subject to match requirements under the applicable provision of law.
No less than 15 percent of funds made available under this section shall be available for acquisitions benefitting National Estuarine Research Reserves.
No more than 5 percent of the funds made available to the Secretary under this section shall be used by the Secretary for planning or administration of the program. The Secretary shall provide a report to Congress with an account of all expenditures under this section for fiscal year 2009 and triennially thereafter.
If the grant recipient elects to use any land or interest in land held by a non-governmental organization as a non-Federal match under subsection (g), the grant recipient must to the Secretary’s satisfaction demonstrate in the grant application that such land or interest will satisfy the same requirements as the lands or interests in lands acquired under the program.
The term “conservation easement” includes an easement or restriction, recorded deed, or a reserve interest deed where the grantee acquires all rights, title, and interest in a property, that do not conflict with the goals of this section except those rights, title, and interests that may run with the land that are expressly reserved by a grantor and are agreed to at the time of purchase.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this section $60,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.