BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 1097
          Author:   Nestande (R)
          Amended:  9/3/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER COMMITTEE  :  9-0, 6/11/13
          AYES:  Pavley, Cannella, Evans, Fuller, Hueso, Jackson, Lara,  
            Monning, Wolk
           
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 8/30/13
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Walters, Gaines
           
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  75-0, 5/9/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Fish and Game Commission:  Mirage Trail

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill specifies that the Mirage Trail within the  
          Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve must be open to recreational  
          hiking between the months of May to January if specified  
          conditions are met.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law: 

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

          This bill:

          1. Specifies that the Mirage Trail within the Magnesia Spring  
             Ecological Reserve must be open to recreational hiking  
             between the months of May to January if specified conditions  
             are met, and that the Mirage Trail will close during the  
             months of February and April.

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

          3. Requires the entity designated to fulfill financial  
             arrangements has transmitted sufficient nonstate funding to  
             the Commission to fund the assessment in an amount determined  
             by the Commission.

          4. Requires these provisions to remain in effect until January  
             1, 2018.


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           Background 
           
          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.  

          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  

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          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.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, annual costs  
          of $100,000 to $500,000 from the General Fund from 2014 to 2019  
          for an assessment of the impact of the open period on the  
          Peninsular bighorn sheep.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/30/13)

          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  9/3/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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