The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988

[16 U.S.C. 4301 - 4309]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED,

SEC. 1 SHORT TITLE. This Act may be referred to as the "Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988."

SEC. 2. FINDINGS, PURPOSES, AND POLICY.

a) FINDINGS.--The Congress finds and declares that--

(b) PURPOSES.--The purposes of this Act are--

(c) POLICY.--It is the policy of the United States that Federal lands be managed in a manner which protects and maintains, to the extent practical, significant caves.

  • (1) significant caves on Federal lands are an invaluable and irreplaceable part of the Nation's natural heritage; and

    (2) in some instances, these significant caves are threatened due to improper use, increased recreational demand, urban spread, and a lack of specific statutory protection.

    (1) to secure, protect, and preserve significant caves on Federal lands for the perpetual use, enjoyment, and benefit of all people; and

    (2) to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities and those who utilize caves located on Federal lands for scientific, education, or recreational purposes.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

For purposes of this Act:

(1) CAVE

The term "cave" means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, or system of interconnected passages which occurs beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge (including any cave resource therein, but not including any vug, mine, tunnel, aqueduct, or other manmade excavation) and which is large enough to permit an individual to enter, whether or not the entrance is naturally formed or manmade. Such term shall include any natural pit, sinkhole, or other feature which is an extension of the entrance.

(2) FEDERAL LANDS.

The term "Federal lands" means lands the fee title to which is owned by the United States and administered by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior.

(3) INDIAN LANDS.

The term "Indian lands" means lands of Indian tribes or Indian individuals which are either held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian tribe or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States.

(4) INDIAN TRIBE.

The term "Indian tribe" means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).

(5) CAVE RESOURCE.

The term "cave resource" includes any material or substance occurring naturally in caves on Federal lands, such as animal life, plant life, paleontological deposits, sediments, minerals, speleogens, and speleothems.

(6) SECRETARY.

The term "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior, as appropriate.

(7) SPELEOTHEM.

The term "speleothem" means any natural mineral formation or deposit occurring in a cave or lava tube, including but not limited to any stalactite, stalagmite, helictite, cave flower, flowstone, concretion, drapery, rimstone, or formation of clay or mud.

(8) SPELEOGEN.

The term "speleogen" means relief features on the walls, ceiling, and floor of any cave or lava tube which are part of the surrounding bedrock, including but not limited to anastomoses, scallops, meander niches, petromorphs and rock pendants in solution caves and similar features unique to volcanic caves .

Sec. 4. MANAGEMENT ACTIONS.

(a) REGULATIONS.-Not later than nine months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue such regulations as he deems necessary to achieve the purposes of the Act. Regulations shall include, but not be limited to, criteria for the identification of significant caves The Secretaries shall cooperate and consult with one another in preparation of the regulations. To the extent practical regulations promulgated by the respective Secretaries should be similar.

(b) IN GENERAL.-The secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to further the purposes of this Act. These actions shall include (but not be limited to)-

(c) PLANNING AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.

The Secretary shall-

  • (1) identification of significant caves on federal lands;

    (2) regulation or restriction of use of significant caves, as appropriate;

    (3) entering into volunteer management agreements with persons of the scientific and recreational caving community; and

    (4) appointment of appropriate advisory committees.

    • (A) The Secretary shall prepare an initial list of significant caves for lands under his jurisdiction not later than one year after the publication of final regulations using the significance criteria defined in such regulations. Such a list shall be developed after consultation with appropriate private sector interests, including cavers.

      (B) The initial list of significant caves shall be updated periodically, after consultation with appropriate private sector interests, including cavers. The Secretary shall prescribe by policy or regulation the requirements and process by which the initial list will be updated, including management measures to assure that caves under consideration for the list are protected during the period of consideration. Each cave recommended to the Secretary by interested groups for possible inclusion on the list of significant caves shall be considered by the Secretary according to the requirements prescribed pursuant to this paragraph and shall be added to the list if the Secretary determines that the cave meets the criteria for significance as defined by the regulations.

    (1) ensure that significant caves are considered in the preparation or implementation of any land management plan if the preparation or revision of the plan began after the enactment of this Act;

    (2) foster communication, cooperation, and exchange of information between land managers, those who utilize caves, and the public.

Sec. 5. CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION CONCERNING NATURE AND LOCATION OF SIGNIFICANT CAVES.

(a) IN GENERAL.-Information concerning the specific location of any significant cave may not be made available to the public under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, unless the Secretary determines that disclosure of such information would further the purposes of this Act and would not create a substantial risk of harm, theft, or destruction of such cave.

(b) EXCEPTIONS.-Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Secretary may make available information regarding significant caves upon the written request by Federal and state governmental agencies or bona fide educational and research institutions. Any such written request shall, at a minimum:

  • (1) describe the specific site or area for which information is sought;

    (2) explain the purpose for which such information is sought; and

    (3) include assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that adequate measures are being taken to protect the confidentiality of such information and to ensure the protection of the significant cave from destruction by vandalism and unauthorized use.

Sec. 6. COLLECTION AND REMOVAL FROM FEDERAL CAVES.

(a) PERMIT.-The Secretary is authorized to issue permits for the collection and removal of cave resources under such terms and conditions as the Secretary may impose, including the posting of bonds to insure compliance with the provisions of any permit.

(b) REVOCATION OF PERMIT.-Any permit issued under this section shall be revoked by the Secretary upon a determination by the Secretary that the permittee has violated any provision of this Act, or has failed to comply with any other condition upon which the permit was issued. Any such permit shall be revoked by the Secretary upon assessment of a civil penalty against the permittee pursuant to section 8 or upon the permittee's conviction under section 7 of this Act. The Secretary may refuse to issue a permit under this section to any person who has violated any provision of this Act or who has failed to comply with any condition of a prior permit.

(c) TRANSFERABILITY OF PERMITS. Permits issued under this act are not transferable.

(d) CAVE RESOURCES LOCATED ON INDIAN LANDS.-

(e) EFFECT OF PERMIT.-No action specifically authorized by a permit under this section shall be treated as a violation of section7.

  • 1) Any permit issued pursuant to this section shall include information concerning the time, scope, location, and specific purpose of the proposed collection, removal or associated activity, and the manner in which such collection, removal, or associated activity is to be performed must be provided.

    (2) The Secretary may issue a permit pursuant this subsection only it he determines that the proposed collection or removal activities are consistent with the purposes of this Act and with other applicable provisions of law.

    (1)

    (2) If the Secretary determines that issuance of a permit pursuant to this section may result in harm to, or destruction of, any religious or cultural site, the Secretary, prior to issuing such permit, shall notify any Indian tribe which may consider the site as having significant religious or cultural importance. Such notice shall not be deemed a disclosure to the public for purposes of section 5.

    (3) A permit shall not be required under this section for the collection or removal of any cave resource located on Indian lands or activities associated with such collection, by the Indian or Indian tribe owning or having jurisdiction over such lands.

    • (A) Upon application by an Indian tribe, the Secretary is authorized to delegate to the tribe all authority of the Secretary under this section with respect to issuing and enforcing permits for the collection or removal of any cave resource located on the affected Indian lands.

      (B) In the case of any permit issued by the Secretary for the collection or removal of any cave resource, or to carry out activities associated with such collection or removal, from any cave resource located on Indian lands (other than permits issued pursuant to subparagraph (A)), the permit may be issued only after obtaining the consent of the Indian or Indian tribe owning or having jurisdiction over such lands. The permit shall include such reasonable terms and conditions as may be requested by such Indian or Indian tribe.

Sec. 7. PROHIBITED ACTS AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.

(a) PROHIBITED ACTS.-

(b) PUNISHMENT.-The punishment for violating any provision of subsection (a) shall be imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine in accordance with the applicable provisions of title18 of the United States Code, or both. In the case of a second or subsequent violation, the punishment shall be imprisonment of not more than 3 years or a fine in accordance with the applicable provisions of title 18 of the United States Code, or both.

  • (1) Any person who, without prior authorization from the Secretary, knowingly destroys, disturbs, defaces, mars, alters, removes or harms any significant cave or alters the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any significant cave located on Federal lands, or enters a significant cave with the intention of committing any act described in this paragraph shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

    (2) Any person who possesses, consumes, sells, barters or exchanges, or offers for sale, barter or exchange, any cave resource from a significant cave with knowledge or reason to know that such resource was removed from a significant cave located on Federal lands shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

    (3) Any person who counsels, procures, solicits, or employs any other person to violate any provisions of this subsection shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

    (4) Nothing in this section shall be deemed applicable to any person who was in lawful possession of a cave resource from a significant cave prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 8. CIVIL PENALTIES.

(a) ASSESSMENT.-

(b) JUDICIAL REVIEW.- Any person aggrieved by an assessment of a civil penalty under this section may file a petition for judicial review of such assessment with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or for the district in which the violation occurred. Such a petition shall be filed within the 30-day period beginning on the date the order assessing the civil penalty was issued.

(c) COLLECTION.-If any person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty

(d) SUBPOENAS.-The Secretary may issue subpoenas in connection with proceedings under this subsection compelling the attendance and testimony of witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum, and may request the Attorney General to bring an action to enforce any subpoena under this section. The district courts shall have jurisdiction to enforce such subpoena and impose sanctions.

  • (1) The Secretary may issue an order assessing a civil penalty against any person who violates any prohibition contained in this Act, any regulation promulgated pursuant to this Act, or any permit issued under this Act. Before issuing such an order, the Secretary shall provide such person written notice and the opportunity to request a hearing on the record within 30 days. Each violation shall be a separate offense, even if such violations occurred at the same time.

    (2) The amount of such civil penalty shall be determined by the Secretary taking into account appropriate factors, including (A) the seriousness of the violation; (B) the economic benefit (if any) resulting from the violation; (C) any history of such violations; and (D) such other matters as the Secretary deems appropriate. The maximum fine permissible under this section is $10,000.

    (1) within 30 days after the order was issued under subsection(a), or

    (2) if the order is appealed within such 30-day period, within10 days after the court has entered a final judgment in favor of the Secretary under subsection (b), the Secretary shall notify the Attorney General and the Attorney General shall bring a civil action in an appropriate United States district court to recover the amount of penalty assessed (plus costs, attorneys' fees, and interest at currently prevailing rates from the date the order was issued or the date of such final judgment, as the case maybe). In such an action, the validity, amount, and appropriateness of such penalty shall not be subject to review.

Sec. 9. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

(a) AUTHORIZATION.-There are authorized to be appropriated $100,000 to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(b) EFFECT ON LAND MANAGEMENT PLANS.-Nothing in this act shall require the amendment or revision of any land management plan, the preparation of which began prior to the enactment of this Act.

(c) FUND.-Any money collected by the United States as permit fees for collection and removal of cave resources; received by the United States as a result of the forfeiture of a bond or other security by a permittee who does not comply with the requirements of such permit issued under section 7; or collected by the United States by way of civil penalties or criminal fines for violations of this Act shall be placed in a special fund in the Treasury. Such moneys shall be available for obligation or expenditure (to the extent provided for in advance in appropriation Acts) as determined by the Secretary for the improved management, benefit, repair, or restoration of significant caves located on Federal lands.

(d) Nothing in this act shall be deemed to affect the full operation of the mining and mineral leasing laws of the United States, or otherwise affect valid existing rights.

Sec. 10. SAVINGS PROVISIONS.

(a) WATER.-Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the appropriation of water by any Federal, State, or local agency, Indian tribe, or any other entity or individual. Nor shall any provision of this Act-

(b) FISH AND WILDLIFE.-Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the States with respect to fish and wildlife.

  • (1) affect the rights or jurisdiction of the United States, the States, Indian tribes, or other entities over water of any river or stream or over any groundwater resource;

    (2) alter, amend, repeal, interpret, modify, or be in conflict with any interstate compact made by the States; or

    (3) alter or establish the respective rights of States, the United States, Indian tribes, or any person with respect to any water or water-related right.

 
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 36, Volume 2]
[Revised as of July 1, 2001]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 36CFR290]

[Page 359-361]
 
              TITLE 36--PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY
 
          CHAPTER II--FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
 
PART 290--CAVE RESOURCES MANAGEMENT--Table of Contents


Sec.
290.1  Purpose and scope.
290.2  Definitions.
290.3  Nomination, evaluation, and designation of significant caves.
290.4  Confidentiality of cave location information.
290.5  Collection of information.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 4301-4309; 102 Stat. 4546.

    Source: 59 FR 31152, June 17, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

Sec. 290.1  Purpose and scope.

    The rules of this part implement the requirements of the Federal 
Cave Resources Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 4301-4309), hereafter referred 
to as the "Act". The rules apply to cave management on National Forest 
System lands. These rules, in conjunction with rules in part 261 of this 
chapter, provide the basis for identifying and managing significant 
caves on National Forest System lands in accordance with the Act. 
National Forest System lands will be managed in a manner which, to the 
extent practical, protects and maintains significant cave resources in 
accordance with the policies outlined in the Forest Service Directive 
System and the management direction contained in the individual forest 
plans.

Sec. 290.2  Definitions.

    For the purposes of this part, the terms listed in this section have 
the following meaning:
    Authorized officer means the Forest Service employee delegated the 
authority to perform the duties described in this part.
    Cave means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, or system 
of interconnected passages beneath the surface of the earth or within a 
cliff or ledge and which is large enough to permit a person to enter, 
whether the entrance is excavated or naturally formed. Such term shall 
include any natural pit, sinkhole, or other opening which is an 
extension of a cave entrance or which is an integral part of the cave.
    Cave resources mean any materials or substances occurring in caves 
including, but not limited to, biotic, cultural, mineralogic, 
paleontologic, geologic, and hydrologic resources.
    National Forest System lands means all national forest lands 
reserved or withdrawn from the public domain, acquired through purchase, 
exchange, or donation, national grasslands and land utilization 
projects, and other lands, waters, or interests administered by the 
Forest Service.
    Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.
    Significant cave means a cave located on National Forest System 
lands that has been determined to meet the criteria in Sec. 290.3 (c) or 
(d) and has been designated in accordance with Sec. 290.3(e).

Sec. 290.3  Nomination, evaluation, and designation of significant 
          caves.

    (a) Nominations for initial and subsequent listings. The authorized 
officer will give governmental agencies and the public, including those 
who utilize caves for scientific, educational, or recreational purposes, 
the opportunity to nominate caves. The authorized officer shall give 
public notice, including a notice published in the Federal Register, 
calling for nominations for the initial listing and setting forth the 
procedures for preparing and submitting the nominations. Nominations for 
subsequent listings will be accepted from governmental agencies and the 
public by the Forest Supervisor where the cave is located as new cave 
discoveries are made. Caves nominated but not approved for designation 
may be renominated as additional documentation or new information 
becomes available.
    (b) Evaluation for initial and subsequent listings. The evaluation 
of the nominations for significant caves will be carried out in 
consultation with individuals and organizations interested in the 
management and use of caves and cave resources, within the limits 
imposed by the confidentiality provisions of Sec. 290.4. Nominations 
shall be evaluated using the criteria in Sec. 290.3 (c) and (d).
    (c) Criteria for significant caves. A significant cave on National 
Forest System lands shall possess one or more of the following features, 
characteristics, or values.

[[Page 360]]

    (1) Biota. The cave provides seasonal or yearlong habitat for 
organisms or animals, or contains species or subspecies of flora or 
fauna native to caves, or are sensitive to disturbance, or are found on 
State or Federal sensitive, threatened, or endangered species lists.
    (2) Cultural. The cave contains historic properties or archeological 
resources (as defined in Parts 800.2 and 296.3 of this chapter 
respectively, or in 16 U.S.C. 470, et seq.), or other features included 
in or eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places 
because of their research importance for history or prehistory, 
historical associations, or other historical or traditional 
significance.
    (3) Geologic/Mineralogic/Paleontologic. The cave possesses one or 
more of the following features:
    (i) Geologic or mineralogic features that are fragile, represent 
formation processes that are of scientific interest, or that are 
otherwise useful for study.
    (ii) Deposits of sediments or features useful for evaluating past 
events.
    (iii) Paleontologic resources with potential to contribute useful 
educational or scientific information.
    (4) Hydrologic. The cave is a part of a hydrologic system or 
contains water which is important to humans, biota, or development of 
cave resources.
    (5) Recreational. The cave provides or could provide recreational 
opportunities or scenic values.
    (6) Educational or scientific. The cave offers opportunities for 
educational or scientific use; or, the cave is virtually in a pristine 
state, lacking evidence of contemporary human disturbance or impact; or, 
the length, volume, total depth, pit depth, height, or similar 
measurements are notable.
    (d) Specially designated areas. All caves located within special 
management areas, such as Special Geologic Areas, Research Natural 
Areas, or National Monuments, that are designated wholly or in part due 
to the cave resources found therein are determined to be significant.
    (e) Designation and documentation. If the authorized officer 
determines that a cave nominated and evaluated under paragraphs (a) and 
(b) of this section meets one or more of the criteria in paragraph (c) 
of this section, the authorized officer shall designate the cave as 
significant. The authorized officer will notify the nominating party of 
the results of the evaluation and designation. Each forest will retain 
appropriate documentation for all significant caves located within its 
administrative boundaries. At a minimum, this documentation shall 
include a statement of finding signed and dated by the authorized 
officer and the information used to make the determination. This 
documentation will be retained as a permanent record in accordance with 
the confidentiality provision in Sec. 290.4.
    (f) Undiscovered passages. If a cave is determined to be 
significant, its entire extent on federal land, including passages not 
mapped or discovered at the time of the determination, is deemed 
significant. This includes caves that extend from lands managed by any 

other Federal agency into National Forest System lands, as well as caves 
initially believed to be separate for which interconnecting passages are 
discovered after significance is determined.
    (g) Decision final. The decision to designate or not designate a 
cave as significant is made at the sole discretion of the authorized 
officer based upon the criteria in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this 
section and is not subject to further administrative review of appeal 
under Parts 217 or 251.82 of this chapter.

Sec. 290.4  Confidentiality of cave location information.

    (a) Information disclosure. No Forest Service employee shall 
disclose any information that could be used to determine the location of 
a significant cave or a cave nominated for designation, unless the 
authorized officer determines that disclosure will further the purposes 
of the Act and will not create a substantial risk of harm, theft, or 
destruction to cave resources.
    (b) Requesting confidential information. Notwithstanding paragraph 
(a) of this section, the authorized officer may make confidential cave 
information available to Federal or State governmental agencies, bona 
fide educational or research institutes, or individuals or

[[Page 361]]

organizations assisting the land management agencies with cave 
management activities. To request confidential cave information, such 
entities shall make a written request to the authorized officer which 
includes the following:
    (1) Name, address, and telephone number of the individual 
responsible for the security of the information received;
    (2) A legal description of the area for which the information is 
sought;
    (3) A statement of the purpose for which the information is sought; 
and,
    (4) Written assurances that the requesting party will maintain the 
confidentiality of the information and protect the cave and its 
resources.
    (c) Decision final. The decision to permit or deny access to 
confidential cave information is made at the sole discretion of the 
authorized officer and is not subject to further administrative review 
or appeal under 5 U.S.C. 552 or parts 217 or 251.82 of this chapter.

Sec. 290.5  Collection of information.

    The collection of information contained in this rule represents new 
information requirements as defined in 5 CFR part 1320, Controlling 
Paperwork Burdens on the Public. In accordance with those rules and the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 as amended (44 U.S.C. 3507), the Forest 
Service has received approval by the Office of Management and Budget to 
collect cave nomination information under clearance number 0596-0123 and 
confidential information under 0596-0122. The information provided for 
the cave nominations will be used to determine which caves will be 
listed as "significant" and the information in the requests to obtain 
confidential cave information will be used to decide whether to grant 
access to this information. Response to the call for cave nominations is 
voluntary. No action may be taken against a person for refusing to 
supply the information requested. Response to the information 
requirements for obtaining confidential cave information is required to 
obtain a benefit in accordance with section 5 of the Federal Cave 
Resources Protection Act of 1988 (16 U.S.C. 4304).
 
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 43, Volume 1, Parts 1 to 199]
[Revised as of October 1, 2000]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 43CFR37]

[Page 519-522]
 
                    TITLE 43--PUBLIC LANDS: INTERIOR
 
PART 37--CAVE MANAGEMENT

                   Subpart A--Cave Management--General

Sec.
37.1  Purpose.
37.2  Policy.
37.3  Authority.
37.4  Definitions.
37.5  Collection of information.

                       Subpart B--Cave Designation

37.11  Nomination, evaluation, and designation of significant caves.
37.12  Confidentiality of cave location information.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 4301-4309; 43 U.S.C. 1740.

[[Page 520]]


    Source: 58 FR 51554, Oct. 1, 1993, unless otherwise noted.

                   Subpart A--Cave Management--General

Sec. 37.1  Purpose.

    The purpose of this part is to provide the basis for identifying and 
managing significant caves on Federal lands administered by the 
Secretary of the Interior.

Sec. 37.2  Policy.

    It is the policy of the Secretary that Federal lands be managed in a 
manner which, to the extent practical, protects and maintains 
significant caves and cave resources. The type and degree of protection 
will be determined through the agency resource management planning 
process with full public participation.

Sec. 37.3  Authority.

    Section 4 of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 (102 
Stat. 4546; 16 U.S.C. 4301) authorizes the Secretary to issue 
regulations providing for the identification of significant caves. 
Section 5 authorizes the Secretary to withhold information concerning 
the location of significant caves under certain circumstances.

Sec. 37.4  Definitions.

    (a) Authorized officer means the agency employee delegated the 
authority to perform the duties described in this part.
    (b) Cave means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, or 
system of interconnected passages beneath the surface of the earth or 
within a cliff or ledge, including any cave resource therein, and which 
is large enough to permit a person to enter, whether the entrance is 
excavated or naturally formed. Such term shall include any natural pit, 
sinkhole, or other feature that is an extension of a cave entrance or 
which is an integral part of the cave.
    (c) Cave resources means any materials or substances occurring in 
caves on Federal lands, including, but not limited to, biotic, cultural, 
mineralogic, paleontologic, geologic, and hydrologic resources.
    (d) Federal lands, as defined in the Federal Cave Resources 
Protection Act, means lands the fee title to which is owned by the 
United States and administered by the Secretary of the Interior.
    (e) Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.
    (f) Significant cave means a cave located on Federal lands that has 
been determined to meet the criteria in Sec. 37.11(c).

Sec. 37.5  Collection of information.

    (a) The collections of information contained in this part have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq. and assigned clearance numbers 1004-0165 (cave nominations) and 
1004-0166 (confidential information). The information provided for the 
cave nominations will be used to determine which caves will be listed as 
"significant" and the information in the requests to obtain 
confidential cave information will be used to decide whether to grant 
access to this information. Response to the call for cave nominations is 
voluntary. No action may be taken against a person for refusing to 
supply the information requested. Response to the information 
requirements for obtaining confidential cave information is required to 
obtain a benefit in accordance with Section 5 of the Federal Cave 
Resources Protection Act of 1988 (102 Stat. 4546; 16 U.S.C. 4301).
    (b) The public reporting burden is estimated to average 3 hours per 
response for the cave nomination and one-half hour per response for the 
confidential cave information request. The estimated response time for 
both of the information burdens includes time for reviewing 
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining 
the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of 
information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other 
aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for 
reducing the burden, to Bureau of Land Management Clearance Officer, WO-
873, Mail

[[Page 521]]

Stop 401 LS, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240; and the Office of 
Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project 1004-0165/6, 
Washington, D.C. 20503.

                       Subpart B--Cave Designation

Sec. 37.11  Nomination, evaluation, and designation of significant 
          caves.

    (a) Nominations for initial and subsequent listings. The authorized 
officer will give governmental agencies and the public, including those 
who utilize caves for scientific, educational, and recreational 
purposes, the opportunity to nominate potential significant caves. The 
authorized officer will give public notice, including a notice published 
in the Federal Register, calling for nominations for the initial 
listing, including procedures for preparing and submitting the 
nominations. Nominations for subsequent listings will be accepted from 
governmental agencies and the public by the agency that manages the land 
where the cave is located as new cave discoveries are made or as new 
information becomes available. Nominations not approved for designation 
during the listing process may be resubmitted if better documentation or 
new information becomes available.
    (b) Evaluation for initial and subsequent listings. The evaluation 
of the nominations for significant caves will be carried out in 
consultation with individuals and organizations interested in the 
management and use of cave resources, within the limits imposed by the 
confidentiality provisions of Sec. 37.12 of this part. Nominations will 
be evaluated using the criteria in Sec. 37.11(c).
    (c) Criteria for significant caves. A significant cave on Federal 
lands shall possess one or more of the following features, 
characteristics, or values.
    (1) Biota. The cave provides seasonal or yearlong habitat for 
organisms or animals, or contains species or subspecies of flora or 
fauna that are native to caves, or are sensitive to disturbance, or are 
found on State or Federal sensitive, threatened, or endangered species 
lists.
    (2) Cultural. The cave contains historic properties or 
archaeological resources (as described in 36 CFR 60.4 and 43 CFR 7.3) or 
other features that are included in or eligible for inclusion in the 
National Register of Historic Places because of their research 
importance for history or prehistory, historical associations, or other 
historical or traditional significance.
    (3) Geologic/Mineralogic/Paleontologic. The cave possesses one or 
more of the following features:
    (i) Geologic or mineralogic features that are fragile, or that 
exhibit interesting formation processes, or that are otherwise useful 
for study.
    (ii) Deposits of sediments or features useful for evaluating past 
events.
    (iii) Paleontologic resources with potential to contribute useful 
educational and scientific information.
    (4) Hydrologic. The cave is a part of a hydrologic system or 
contains water that is important to humans, biota, or development of 
cave resources.
    (5) Recreational. The cave provides or could provide recreational 
opportunities or scenic values.
    (6) Educational or Scientific. The cave offers opportunities for 
educational or scientific use; or, the cave is virtually in a pristine 
state, lacking evidence of contemporary human disturbance or impact; or, 
the length, volume, total depth, pit depth, height, or similar 
measurements are notable.
    (d) National Park Service policy. The policy of the National Park 
Service, pursuant to its Organic Act of 1916 (16 U.S.C. 1, et seq.) and 
Management Policies (Chapter 4:20, Dec. 1988), is that all caves are 
afforded protection and will be managed in compliance with approved 
resource management plans. Accordingly, all caves on National Park 
Service-administered lands are deemed to fall within the definition of 
"significant cave."
    (e) Special management areas. Within special management areas that 
are designated wholly or in part due to cave resources found therein, 
all caves within the so-designated special management area shall be 
determined to be significant.
    (f) Designation and documentation. If the authorized officer 
determines that a cave nominated and evaluated under paragraphs (a) and 
(b) of this section meets one or more of the criteria in paragraph (c), 
the authorized officer

[[Page 522]]

will designate the cave as significant. The authorized officer will 
designate all caves identified in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section 
to be significant. The authorized officer will notify the nominating 
party of the results of the evaluation and designation. Each agency 
Field Office will retain appropriate documentation for all significant 
caves located within its administrative boundaries. At a minimum, 
documentation shall include a statement of finding signed and dated by 
the authorized officer, and the information used to make the 
determination. This documentation will be retained as a permanent record 
in accordance with the confidentiality provision in Sec. 37.12 of this 
part.
    (g) Decision final. Decisions to designate or not designate a cave 
as significant are made at the sole discretion of the authorized officer 
and are not subject to further administrative review or appeal under 43 
CFR part 4.
    (h) If a cave is determined to be significant, its entire extent, 
including passages not mapped or discovered at the time of the 
determination, is deemed significant. This includes caves that extend 
from lands managed by any Federal agency into lands managed by one or 
more other bureaus or agencies of the Department of the Interior, as 
well as caves initially believed to be separate for which 
interconnecting passages are discovered after significance is 
determined.

Sec. 37.12  Confidentiality of cave location information.

    (a) Information disclosure. No Department of the Interior employee 
shall disclose information that could be used to determine the location 
of any significant cave or cave under consideration for determination, 
unless the authorized officer determines that disclosure will further 
the purposes of the Act and will not create a substantial risk to cave 
resources of harm, theft, or destruction.
    (b) Requesting confidential information. Notwithstanding paragraph 
(a) of this section, the authorized officer may make confidential cave 
information available to a Federal or State governmental agency, bona 
fide educational or research institute, or individual or organization 
assisting the land managing agency with cave management activities. To 
request confidential cave information, such entities shall make a 
written request to the authorized officer that includes the following:
    (1) Name, address, and telephone number of the individual 
responsible for the security of the information received.
    (2) A legal description of the area for which the information is 
sought.
    (3) A statement of the purpose for which the information is sought, 
and
    (4) Written assurances that the requesting party will maintain the 
confidentiality of the information and protect the cave and its 
resources.
    (c) Decision final. Decisions to permit or deny access to 
confidential cave information are made at the sole discretion of the 
authorized officer and are not subject to further administrative review 
or appeal under 5 U.S.C. 552 or 43 CFR parts 2 or 4.

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