BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1097
                                                                  Page  1

          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 1097 (Nestande)
          As Amended  September 6, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |75-0 |(May 9, 2013)   |SENATE: |39-0 |(September 11, |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
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          Original Committee Reference:    W., P. & W.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires the Mirage Trail within the Magnesia Spring  
          Ecological Reserve to be open for recreational hiking for nine  
          months of the year during the months of May to January, and  
          closed for three months during the months of February to April,  
          if the Fish and Game Commission (FGC) determines certain  
          specified conditions are met.

           The Senate amendments  :
           
           1)Provide that the Mirage Trail shall be required to remain open  
            for recreational hiking for the nine months of the year from  
            May through January, and closed for the months of February to  
            March, only if the entity designated to assume financial  
            responsibility for fencing, signage and public education, has  
            also committed to expend at least $100,000 by January 1, 2018,  
            to monitor the Peninsular bighorn sheep, consistent with the  
            Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

          2)Clarify that the single entity designated to assume financial  
            responsibility for fencing, signage, public education and  
            monitoring may be a local entity or other nonstate entity.

          3)Delete language in existing law requiring the FGC to determine  
            seasonal openings and closures of the trail that will not  
            conflict with the use of the area by the Peninsular bighorn  
            sheep.     

           EXISTING LAW  : 

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








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            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 FGC, 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  
            FGC 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 FGC regulations.

          3)Designates the Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve as an  
            ecological reserve established for the primary purpose of  
            protecting threatened or endangered species, including  
            Peninsular bighorn sheep.  Prohibits any person from entering  
            the Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve from January 1 to  
            September 30, with exceptions for the Mirage Trail and other  
            designated trails as permitted by DFW.

          4)Requires that the Mirage Trail within the Magnesia Spring  
            Ecological Reserve be kept open nine months of the year to  
            recreational hiking, if the FGC determine the following:

             a)   Local public agencies or other entities will assume  
               complete financial responsibility for fencing to dissuade  
               hikers from traversing beyond the trail and into sensitive  
               Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat, and for signage and  
               educational materials to educate hikers about Peninsular  
               bighorn sheep; and

             b)   A single entity has been designated to fulfill the  
               financial arrangements and other terms and conditions  
               determined necessary by the FGC.

          5)Authorizes the FGC to determine seasonal openings and closures  
            of the trail that will not conflict with use of the area by  
            Peninsular bighorn sheep, consistent with above provisions. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, annual costs of $100,000 to $500,000 from non-state  








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          funds from 2014 to 2019 for an assessment of the impact of the  
          open period on the Peninsular bighorn sheep.

           COMMENTS  :  The Mirage Trail is a popular hiking trail located  
          partially within the Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve, which  
          was established for the purpose of protecting Peninsular bighorn  
          sheep, a threatened and endangered species.  The trail was  
          closed by the DFW in order to protect sensitive bighorn sheep  
          lambing grounds within the Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve.   
          Legislation enacted in 2012 required the trail to be kept open  
          for nine months out of the year if the FGC made certain findings  
          regarding the commitment of a local entity to cover the costs of  
          fencing, signage and education of the public, and required the  
          FGC to determine the precise times and seasons of the year the  
          trail would be open or closed that would not conflict with the  
          use of the area by the bighorn sheep. 

          This bill as passed by the Assembly required that the trail be  
          kept open for the months of May through January, inclusive, for  
          hiking, and closed from February to April, rather than leaving  
          that decision to the FGC.  The Senate amendments added a  
          condition that the entity assuming financial responsibility  
          commit to expend at least $100,000 by January 1, 2018, to  
          monitor the Peninsular bighorn sheep consistent with the  
          Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Diane Colborn / W., P. & W. /  
          (916)319-2096 


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