BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 821
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          AB 821 (Nava)
          As Amended April 19, 2007
          Majority vote 

           WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE    8-5  APPROPRIATIONS      10-5        
          |Ayes:|Wolk, Caballero, Charles  |Ayes:|Leno, Caballero, Davis,   |
          |     |Calderon, Huffman, Lieu,  |     |DeSaulnier, Huffman,      |
          |     |Mullin, Nava, Salas       |     |Karnette, Krekorian,      |
          |     |                          |     |Lieu, Nava, Solorio       |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |Nays:|Maze, Anderson,           |Nays:|Walters, Emmerson, La     |
          |     |Berryhill, La Malfa,      |     |Malfa, Nakanishi, Sharon  |
          |     |Parra                     |     |Runner                    |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :  Enacts the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act  
          requiring the use of non-lead centerfire rifle and pistol  
          ammunition when taking big game or coyotes within specified  
          areas.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires the use of non-lead centerfire rifle and pistol  
            ammunition when taking big game or coyotes within parts of the  
            Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) deer hunting zone A South,  
            and within zones D7, D8, D9, D10, D11 and D13.

          2)Requires the Fish and Game Commission (FGC), by January 1,  
            2008, to establish by regulation a public process to certify  
            centerfire rifle and pistol non-lead ammunition, and to define  
            non-lead ammunition as including only centerfire rifle and  
            pistol ammunition in which there is no lead content.  Requires  
            FGC to annually update the list of certified non-lead  

          3)Requires FGC, to the extent federal, public or other nonstate  
            funding is available, to provide coupons for free or  
            reduced-charge non-lead ammunition to big game permit holders  
            with permits to hunt in the certain zones.

          4)Requires FGC to issue reports on lead levels in California  
            condors and on the usage and redemption rates for the non-lead  


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            ammunition coupon program, if implemented.

          5)Makes a violation of this section an infraction punishable by  
            a fine of $500 for a first offense, and not less than $1,000  
            or more than $5,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

          6)States legislative intent to protect vulnerable wildlife  
            species, including the condor, an endangered and fully  
            protected species, from the ongoing threat of lead poisoning.

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Requires FGC to establish lists of endangered and threatened  
            species.  Prohibits the taking of any species FGC has  
            determined to be an endangered or threatened species with  
            limited exceptions.

          2)Designates the California condor as a fully protected species  
            under California state law.  The condor is also listed as  
            endangered under both federal and state law.

          3)Prohibits, by United States Fish and Wildlife Service  
            regulation, the use of lead ammunition to hunt waterfowl.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee analysis, minor costs, probably less than $25,000 per  
          year, to DFG for regulations and reporting, and moderate  
          potential costs, up to $1.2 million in 2008-09, to redeem  
          coupons.  However, this bill specifies that the coupon  
          redemption program shall be implemented only to the extent  
          local, federal, public or other nonstate sources of funding are  

           COMMENTS  :  The author has introduced this bill to address  
          threats to the California condor from lead poisoning.  Recent  
          studies indicate that lead ammunition is adversely impacting the  
          condor and efforts to recover this species.  Despite ongoing  
          efforts to test free-flying condors' blood lead levels and  
          administer chelation treatments to reduce lead toxicity, wild  
          condors continue to experience lead poisoning.  Condors  
          routinely scavenge on prey species that have been killed by lead  
          ammunition, and accidentally ingest bullet fragments.  The  
          author notes that although lead is strictly limited elsewhere,  
          and has been prohibited from use in waterfowl hunting, this  


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          highly toxic substance is still routinely encountered by  
          wildlife in the form of lead ammunition.  

          The California condor is North America's largest terrestrial  
          bird, with a wingspan of nine and a half feet.  The condor dates  
          back to before the Pleistocene era and has inhabited this  
          continent for at least 50,000 years.  The condor reached near  
          extinction in the early 1980s, with less than 30 individual  
          birds left alive in the wild.  Scientists determined that the  
          only hope for the condor's survival was to institute a captive  
          breeding program.  The last wild birds were captured in 1987,  
          and an intensive captive breeding program was instituted.   
          Biologists began reintroducing condors back into the wild in  

          Although condors once ranged over much of North America, by the  
          1940s their range had been reduced to the coastal mountains of  
          southern California.  Today they are being reintroduced into the  
          mountains of southern California north of the Los Angeles basin,  
          in the Big Sur vicinity of the central California coast, and  
          near the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  The reintroduction program  
          has met with tenuous success.  Out of 67 condors released into  
          the wild between 1992 and 2002, 32 died or were presumed dead.   
          The total population of condors in California as of March 31,  
          2005 was 244 birds, 114 of which were in the wild.

          In 2006, three new studies were released on condors and lead.   
          The most recent study of note is an isotope study conducted by a  
          team of scientists from the University of California at Santa  
          Cruz, Stanford University and others, which was published in the  
          journal  Environmental Science and Technology  .  The study linked  
          the lead isotope compositions in condors to the lead isotopes in  
          ammunition samples.  The study concluded that incidental  
          ingestion of ammunition in carcasses of animals killed by  
          hunters is the principal source of elevated lead exposures  
          threatening the recovery of condors in the wild.

          Opponents of this bill dispute evidence that hunters' bullets  
          are the source of lead poisoning in condors, and argue instead  
          for a voluntary educational program that encourages hunters to  
          bury gut piles.  They also argue that banning lead ammunition  
          will increase costs to hunters and reduce the revenue received  
          from hunting license sales, ammunition taxes and other economic  
          benefits associated with hunting.  Supporters note that  


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          substantial evidence in the form of numerous studies shows that  
          condors experience highly elevated blood levels as a result of  
          ingesting lead fragments, and that the toxicity of lead is  
          undisputed.  They emphasize the significant resources that have  
          been invested in the condor recovery effort, and the existence  
          of alternative forms of ammunition.  They also assert that  
          voluntary efforts alone have proven ineffective in addressing  
          this threat and that without this bill condors will continue to  
          die from lead poisoning.   

           Analysis Prepared by  :  Diane Colborn / W., P. & W. / (916)  

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