BILL NUMBER: AB 1961	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Huffman
   (Coauthor: Assembly Member Chesbro)

                        FEBRUARY 23, 2012

   An act to add and repeal Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 6950)
of Part 1 of Division 6 of the Fish and Game Code, relating to fish.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 1961, as introduced, Huffman. Coho salmon: habitat.
   Existing law requires the Department of Fish and Game to develop
and implement a recovery strategy pilot program for the coho salmon
and repeals that authority on January 1, 2014, but requires any
recovery strategy that has been approved or implemented prior to that
date to remain in effect.
   Existing law also establishes the Salmon, Steelhead Trout, and
Anadromous Fisheries Program Act to protect and increase the
naturally spawning salmon, steelhead trout, and anadromous, as
defined, fishery resources of the state.
   This bill would establish the Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement
Leading to Preservation Act (Coho Act) and require the department to
approve a coho salmon habitat enhancement project, as defined, if
specified conditions are met as determined by the director of the
department, as prescribed. This bill would create the Coho Salmon
Recovery Account within the Fish and Game Preservation Fund and
permit the department to enter into an agreement to accept funds to
achieve the purposes of the Coho Act and deposit those funds into
that account. This bill would authorize the department to adopt
emergency regulations for the implementation of the Coho Act. This
bill would repeal the provisions of the Coho Act on January 1, 2018.

   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 6950) is added to
Part 1 of Division 6 of the Fish and Game Code, to read:
      CHAPTER 9.  COHO SALMON HABITAT ENHANCEMENT LEADING TO
PRESERVATION


   6950.  This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Coho
Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act.
   6951.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
   (a) The coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) is a fish native to
many northern California coastal streams and consists of two distinct
Evolutionary Significant Units (ESU), the Southern Oregon/Northern
California Coast (SONCC) and the Central California Coast (CCC) ESUs.
The historical range of the SONCC ESU includes coastal rivers and
tributaries in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, and
Lake Counties. The historical range for the CCC ESU includes coastal
rivers and tributaries in parts of Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma,
Napa, Marin, Solano, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo,
Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties.
   (b) All coho salmon runs in California have declined dramatically
over the past 40 to 50 years. Population numbers, including hatchery
stocks, were estimated at 6 to 15 percent of 1940 levels in 2004.
Since 2004, populations in all monitored streams have continued to
decline with an estimated 1 percent remaining of the original
population. While a few coastal rivers such as the Russian River did
show an increase in population for 2011, it is not yet known whether
the increase is sustainable, and the species remains at critical risk
of extinction.
   (c) Both the SONCC and the CCC ESUs are listed pursuant to the
federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.)
and the California Endangered Species Act (Chapter 1.5 (commencing
with Section 2050) of Division 3). The populations south of the San
Francisco Bay are listed as endangered and considered to be virtually
extinct. The populations between San Francisco Bay and Punta Gorda
to the north are listed as endangered, and the populations from Punta
Gorda to the Oregon Border are listed as threatened.
   (d) California's salmon populations need freshwater habitat that
includes cold and clean water, appropriate water depth, quantity, and
flow velocities, upland and riparian vegetation to stabilize soil
and shade, clean gravel for spawning and egg-rearing, large woody
debris to provide resting and hiding places, adequate food, and
varied channel forms.
   (e) An urgency exists due to the extraordinarily small numbers of
coho salmon remaining in California. In order to prevent their
extinction from northern California waters, it is imperative that
habitat restoration efforts be expedited and increased as soon as
possible.
   (f) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting
this policy that the department seek agreements and partnerships with
state and federal agencies to efficiently and effectively permit
habitat enhancement projects necessary to prevent the extinction of
coho salmon populations in California coastal watersheds and that the
department expedite and streamline the permitting and approval of
coho salmon habitat enhancement projects, including, in particular,
large woody debris restoration projects, in northern California
streams.
   6952.  For the purposes of this chapter:
   (a) "Coho salmon habitat enhancement project" means a project
within a region described in an adopted state or federal coho salmon
recovery plan with the primary purpose of accomplishing one or more
of the following:
   (1) Modification of existing water crossings for the purposes of
eliminating a barrier to fish passage. Modification includes the
removal of road crossings, replacement of culverts, or both.
   (2) Restoration of eroded or denuded streambanks by utilizing
nonrock bioengineering practices and revegetating stream corridors
with native riparian species. Restoration shall be focused on
promoting tree establishment along the active channel and on
streambanks for the purposes of bank stabilization, bank development,
and live wood complexity.
   (3) Wood placement that benefits naturally reproducing fish stocks
by creating or enhancing fish habitat, increasing stream complexity,
or both.
   (b) "Coho salmon recovery plans" means the department's Recovery
Strategy for California Coho Salmon, the National Marine Fisheries
Service's Recovery Plan for the Evolutionary Significant Unit of
Central Coast Coho Salmon, the National Marine Fisheries Service's
Recovery Plan for the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast
Evolutionary Significant Unit of Coho Salmon, or subsequently adopted
Coho salmon recovery plans.
   (c) "Fish passage guidelines" means the department's Coho Salmon
Stream Restoration Manual, the National Marine Fisheries Service's
Guidelines for Salmonid Stream Passage at Stream Crossings, either of
those documents as they may be subsequently amended or updated, or
salmonid fish passage project guidelines subsequently adopted by the
department, the National Marine Fisheries Service, or both.
   (d) "Project proponent" means a person, public agency, or
nonprofit organization seeking to implement a coho salmon habitat
enhancement project.
   6953.  (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
department shall approve a coho salmon habitat enhancement project if
it will maintain existing levels of human health and safety
protection and is consistent with both of the following:
   (1) Fish passage guidelines.
   (2) Coho salmon recovery plans.
   (b) Within 30 days after the department receives a written request
to approve a coho salmon habitat enhancement project containing the
information required pursuant to subdivision (c), the director shall
determine whether the coho salmon habitat enhancement project is
consistent with subdivision (a). If the director determines within
that 30-day period, based upon substantial evidence, that the coho
salmon enhancement project is consistent with subdivision (a), no
further departmental approval shall be necessary.
   (c) A written request to approve a coho salmon habitat enhancement
project shall contain all of the following:
   (1) The name, address, title, organization, telephone number, and
electronic mail address of the natural person or persons who will be
the main point of contact for the project proponent.
   (2) A full description of the coho salmon habitat enhancement
project that includes the design criteria used for the project, best
management practices incorporated in the project design, and a map
clearly identifying the project location.
   (3) Substantial evidence to support a conclusion that the project
meets the criteria set forth in this section. Substantial evidence
shall cite to relevant design criteria and best management practices
that are set forth in the fish passage guidelines.
   (d) (1) If the director determines at any time that the project is
no longer consistent with subdivision (a), the director shall notify
the project proponent in writing and project implementation shall be
suspended or approval pursuant to this chapter revoked. Written
notice from the director shall be delivered in person or by certified
mail to the project proponent and shall specify the reasons why
ministerial approval of the project was suspended or revoked. The
approval for a project shall not be revoked pursuant to this
subdivision unless it has first been suspended pursuant to this
subdivision.
   (2) Within 30 days of receipt of a notice of suspension, the
project proponent may file an objection with the director. Any
objection shall be in writing and state the reasons why the project
proponent objects to the suspension.
   (3) The director shall make a decision whether to revoke approval
or to lift the suspension of project implementation within 30 days
after the end of the objection period in paragraph (2).
   6954.  The department may enter into an agreement to accept funds
from any person, business entity, or organization to achieve the
purposes of this chapter. Any funds so received shall be deposited in
the Coho Salmon Recovery Account which is hereby created in the Fish
and Game Preservation Fund. The funds received shall supplement
existing resources for projects and programs that enhance the
recovery of Coho salmon.
   6955.  The department may adopt emergency regulations for the
implementation of this chapter. Emergency regulations adopted
pursuant to this section, any amendment thereto, or subsequent
adjustments to the regulations, shall be adopted by the department in
accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part
1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. The adoption of
any such regulations is an emergency and shall be considered by the
Office of Administrative Law as necessary for the immediate
preservation of the public peace, health, safety, and general
welfare. Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340)
of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, any
emergency regulations adopted by the department shall remain in
effect until revised by the department.
   6956.  This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2018, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2018, deletes or extends
that date.