BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 1166
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          Date of Hearing:   June 24, 2008

                                  Lois Wolk, Chair
                      SB 1166 (Cox) - As Amended:  May 12, 2008

           SENATE VOTE  :   40-0
          SUBJECT  :   Game Refuges

           SUMMARY  :   Requires the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to  
          undertake a process for review and public input on the proposed  
          closure of all but two of the existing state game refuges in the  
          state.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires DFG to undertake education and outreach regarding the  
            current location of existing game refuges and the potential  
            closure of all state game refuges, except the California Sea  
            Otter Game Refuge and the Farallon Islands Game Refuge.   
            Requires DFG to also provide agency contacts for purposes of  
            providing the statutory notices required of people traveling  
            through a game refuge. 

          2)Requires DFG to provide opportunity for public comment  
            regarding the proposed elimination of the game refuges, and to  
            provide information on DFG's website regarding the boundaries  
            of state game refuges, maps, and Internet website contact  
            information.  Authorizes DFG to conduct regional workshops  
            about the potential closures.

          3)Requires DFG on or before January 1, 2011 to report to the  
            Legislature, including information on the public education and  
            outreach provided, and a summary of public comments on the  
            potential closure of the state game refuges.

          4)Authorizes law enforcement officers to enter state game  
            refuges in the performance of their duties.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires all state game refuges, for the purposes of  
            protecting birds, mammals, fish or amphibia, to be under the  
            control and management of DFG, and authorizes officers and  
            employees of DFG and all game wardens to enter the refuges in  
            the performance of their duties.


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          2)Establishes some 21 to 22 state game refuges, where it is  
            unlawful to take or possess any bird or mammal without a  
            special permit or authorization, with specified exceptions.    
            Also establishes a number of fish and game refuges, fish  
            refuges, waterfowl refuges, quail refuges and marine life  
            refuges.  Requires notification to DFG if an individual will  
            be traveling through a game refuge with a firearm or with a  
            bird or mammal lawfully taken outside the boundaries of the  

          3)Authorizes the Fish and Game Commission to acquire land for  
            state game refuges.    


          FISCAL EFFECT  :   According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee analysis, less than $150,000.

           COMMENTS  :   The author's office indicates that the purpose of  
          this bill is to examine whether or not 19 of the 21 designated  
          game refuges currently in statute are effective in their purpose  
          of providing a steady supply of game animals for hunting.  The  
          California Sea Otter Game Refuge and the Farallon Islands Game  
          Refuge would not be affected by this bill.   According to the  
          author's office wildlife biologists at DFG contend that the game  
          refuge system no longer serves a purpose and should be  
          abolished.  However, there are some who believe that the refuges  
          have value.  The author's office indicates that this bill  
          provides a forum where both sides can be heard, and based upon  
          the report due at the end of 2010, the Legislature can take  
          action on which refuges to abolish and which ones to retain.

          Most of the existing state game refuges were established in  
          1957, though one was established in the 1960s and another in the  
          1980s.  Some of the boundaries of the refuges have been revised.  
           In some cases, given changes in adjacent land uses over the  
          past 50 years, the sites may no longer be suitable for a game  
          refuge, but it is unclear whether that is the case with regard  
          to all of the refuges.  The author indicates that the refuges  
          were established for the purpose of providing a steady supply of  
          game animals for hunting, however, it is unclear from the  
          legislative history that that was the only or specific purpose  
          of the refuges.  The stated statutory purpose of the refuges is  
          for propagating, feeding and protecting birds, mammals, fish and  


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          amphibia (Fish and Game Code Sections 10503 and 10514).  In  
          addition to hunting, reasons to protect wildlife through a  
          refuge system may include ensuring that wildlife species are  
          part of California's heritage, not only for hunting, but also  
          for scientific study and for passive forms of recreation, such  
          as bird watching, photography or nature study, and to preserve  
          species' biological roles within a sustainable ecosystem. 

          Statutorily designated game refuges include Fish and Game  
          District 1C (Modoc County), 1F (Lassen County), 1G (Tehama  
          County), 1H (Plumas County), 1I (Placer County), 1J (Amador  
          County), 1K (Johnsville Game Refuge in Plumas County), 1N  
          (Siskiyou County), 1P (Plumas County), 1R (Tuolumne County), 1S  
          (Lassen County), 1V (Plumas County), 2A (Mendocino, Lake and  
          Glenn Counties), 2B (Mount Tamalpais Game Refuge), 3F (Contra  
          Costa Counties), 3G (San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties), 4D  
          (Riverside County), and 4G (Strawberry Creek/San Jacinto  
          watersheds), the California Sea Otter Game Refuge, the Preston  
          School of Industry Game Refuge (Amador County), and the Farallon  
          Islands Game Refuge.  The San Francisco Fish and Game Refuge (in  
          San Mateo County) is also classified as a game refuge (which  
          brings the total number of game refuges to 22).

          In addition to the above game refuges, there are also sixteen  
          other statutorily established marine life refuges, the San  
          Leandro Waterfowl Refuge, and the Bolinas Quail Refuge.  These  
          other refuges are presumably unaffected by this bill.

          This bill, in addition to requiring that DFG provide opportunity  
          for public comment on the game refuges, requires that DFG make  
          information on game refuge boundaries and maps available on  
          DFG's website.              


          California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (to previous version)
          None on file.


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