Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the Secretary shall administer the Assateague Island National Seashore for general purposes of public outdoor recreation, including conservation of natural features contributing to public enjoyment. In the administration of the seashore and the administrative site the Secretary may utilize such statutory authorities relating to areas administered and supervised by the Secretary through the National Park Service and such statutory authority otherwise available to him for the conservation and management of natural resources as he deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of sections 459f to 459f–11 of this title.
Notwithstanding any other provision of sections 459f to 459f–11 of this title, land and waters in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which are a part of the seashore, shall be administered for refuge purposes under laws and regulations applicable to national wildlife refuges, including administration for public recreation uses in accordance with the provisions of the Act of September 28, 1962 (Public law 87–714; 76 Stat. 653) [16 U.S.C. 460k et seq.].
The Secretary is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with local, State, and Federal agencies and with educational institutions and nonprofit entities to coordinate research designed to ensure full protection of the natural and cultural resources of the seashore, consistent with the purposes for which the seashore was established, and other applicable law. The Secretary is also authorized to provide technical assistance to local, State, and Federal agencies and to educational institutions and non-profit entities in order to further such purposes. The Secretary shall submit a report every two years to the Congress on the results of the coordinated research program authorized by this section and plans to implement the recommendations arising from such research.