The Congress finds the following:
The public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the State of Idaho within the Snake River Birds of Prey Area contain one of the densest known nesting populations of eagles, falcons, owls, hawks, and other birds of prey (raptors) in North America.
These public lands constitute a valuable national biological and educational resource since birds of prey are important components of the ecosystem and indicators of environmental quality, and contribute significantly to the quality of wildlife and human communities.
These public lands also contain important historic and cultural resources (including significant archaeological resources) as well as other resources and values, all of which should be protected and appropriately managed.
A military training area within the Snake River Birds of Prey Area, known as the Orchard Training Area, has been used since 1953 by reserve components of the Armed Forces. Military use of this area is currently governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Idaho Military Division, dated May 1985. Operating under this Memorandum of Understanding, the Idaho National Guard has provided valuable assistance to the Bureau of Land Management with respect to fire control and other aspects of management of the Orchard Training Area and the other lands in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area. Military use of the lands within the Orchard Training Area should continue in accordance with such Memorandum of Understanding (or extension or renewal thereof), to the extent consistent with section 460iii–3(e) of this title, because this would be in the best interest of training of the reserve components (an important aspect of national security) and of the local economy.
(5) Protection of the conservation area as a home for raptors can best and should be accomplished by the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land Management, under a management plan that—
emphasizes management, protection, and rehabilitation of habitat for these raptors and of other resources and values of the area;
allows for diverse appropriate uses of lands in the area to the extent consistent with the maintenance and enhancement of raptor populations and habitats and protection and sound management of other resources and values of the area; and
There exists near the conservation area a facility, the World Center for Birds of Prey operated by The Peregrine Fund, Inc., where research, public education, recovery, and reestablishment operations exist for endangered raptor species. There also exists at Boise State University a raptor study program which attracts national and international graduate and undergraduate students.
The Bureau of Land Management and Boise State University, together with other State, Federal, and private entities, have formed the Raptor Research and Technical Assistance Center to be housed at Boise State University, which provides a unique adjunct to the conservation area for raptor management, recovery, research, and public visitation, interpretation, and education.
Additional authority and guidance must be provided to assure that essential raptor habitat remains in public ownership, to facilitate sound and effective planning and management, to provide for effective public interpretation and education, to ensure continued study of the relationship of humans and these raptors, to preserve the unique and irreplaceable habitat of the conservation area, and to conserve and properly manage the other natural resources of the area in concert with maintenance of this habitat.
An ongoing research program funded by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Guard is intended to provide information to be used in connection with future decisionmaking concerning management of all uses, including continued military use, of public lands within the Snake River Birds of Prey Area.
Public lands in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area have been used for domestic livestock grazing for more than a century, with resultant benefits to community stability and contributions to the local and State economies. It has not been demonstrated that continuation of this use would be incompatible with appropriate protection and sound management of raptor habitat and the other resource values of these lands; therefore, subject to the determination provided for in section 460iii–3(f) of this title, it is expected that such grazing will continue in accordance with applicable regulations of the Secretary and the management plan for the conservation area.
Hydroelectric facilities for the generation and transmission of electricity exist within the Snake River Birds of Prey Area pursuant to a license(s) issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or its predecessor, the Federal Power Commission.