BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 1097|
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          Bill No:  AB 1097
          Author:   Nestande (R)
          Amended:  6/19/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

          AYES:  Pavley, Cannella, Evans, Fuller, Hueso, Jackson, Lara,  
            Monning, Wolk
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  75-0, 5/9/13 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Fish and Game Commission:  Mirage Trail

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill requires the Mirage Trail within the  
          Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve (Reserve) to be open to the  
          public during the months of May to January, inclusive, and  
          closed for three months during the months of February to April,  
          inclusive, for recreational hiking, if the Fish and Game  
          Commission (Commission) makes specified findings.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law: 

          1. Provides a list of threatened and endangered species under  
             federal and state law, and prohibits the taking of any  
             species so listed.  Requires the Department of Fish and  
             Wildlife (DFW) and other state agencies to take steps to  


                                                                    AB 1097

             conserve species listed as threatened or endangered.  The  
             Peninsular bighorn sheep has been listed as endangered under  
             the federal Endangered Species Act since 1998 and under the  
             California Endangered Species Act as a threatened species  
             since 2000. 

          2. Authorizes DFW, with approval of the Commission, to acquire,  
             maintain and manage lands for ecological reserves to protect  
             threatened or endangered species.  Makes it unlawful for any  
             person to enter upon any ecological reserve except in  
             accordance with the Commission regulations.  Authorizes DFW  
             to designate areas within ecological reserves for trails, and  
             to provide for added protection for species as necessary, and  
             allows only such public use and entry as are compatible with  
             the primary purpose of the reserve and subject to the  
             Commission regulations. 

          3. Requires that the Mirage Trail within the Reserve be kept  
             open nine months of the year for recreational hiking, as  

          This bill:

          1. Requires the Mirage Trail within the Reserve to be open to  
             the public during the nine months of May to January,  
             inclusive, and closed for three months during the months of  
             February to April, inclusive, for recreational hiking, if the  
             Commission makes specified findings.

          2. Requires the Commission to assess whether the nine-month  
             schedule has any significant environmental impacts on the  
             Peninsular bighorn sheep.

          3. Requires these provisions to remain in effect until January  
             1, 2017.

          The Mirage Trail is a very popular trail with an estimated use  
          by 100 to 200 people daily.  It is three miles long and the last  
          half mile is located within the Reserve.  This portion was  
          closed in 2006 by the DFW as mitigation for the creation of new  
          trails and because it encroaches on important lambing and  
          rearing habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep.  



                                                                    AB 1097

          According to DFW, gates and signs were constructed at the point  
          of closure.  The gates and signs were vandalized and the closure  
          ignored.  In 2011, a sturdier gate and new signs were installed  
          along with security cameras, which were also vandalized, and the  
          cameras stolen.  Vandalism has been on the rise in the area,  
          with vandals moving boulders into the road to block weekly  
          visits by DFW personnel to repair vandalized signs. 

          Local public agencies or other entities must assume complete  
          financial responsibility for the following as determined to be  
          necessary by the Commission including: 

          1. Fencing to dissuade hikers from traversing beyond the trail  
             and into sensitive Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat; and

          2. Signage and educational materials to educate hikers about  
             Peninsular bighorn sheep.

          The Commission determines seasonal openings and closures of the  
          trail at times that will not conflict with the use of the area  
          by Peninsular bighorn sheep.

          Existing law designates the Reserve as an ecological reserve  
          established for the primary purpose of protecting threatened or  
          endangered species, including Peninsular bighorn sheep.  It also  
          prohibits any person from entering the Reserve from January 1 to  
          September 30, with exceptions for the Mirage Trail and other  
          designated trails as permitted by the DFW.  The management plan  
          states that the primary intent of the Reserve is to rehabilitate  
          and maintain habitat centered around Magnesia Spring so that the  
          bighorn sheep population in the area can be maintained.

           Prior legislation  .  AB 880 (V. Manuel Perez, Chapter 527,  
          Statutes of 2012) required DFW to keep the trail open to  
          recreational hiking for nine months out of the year, if the  
          Commission found certain conditions were met, including that a  
          local entity had assumed financial responsibility for fencing,  
          signage and education of the public necessary to protect the  
          Peninsular bighorn sheep for which the ecological reserve was  
          set up.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  



                                                                    AB 1097

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  6/19/13)

          Coachella Valley Association of Governments

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  75-0, 5/9/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox,  
            Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Lowenthal, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel  
            Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone,  
            Ting, Torres, Wagner, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams,  
            Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Ammiano, Holden, Logue, Waldron, Vacancy

          RM:k  6/19/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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