BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 749
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   August 14, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                    SB 749 (Wolk) - As Amended:   August 12, 2013

          Policy Committee:                             Water, Parks and  
          Wildlife     Vote:                            15-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:   
          No     Reimbursable:              

           SUMMARY  

          This bill modifies the California Endangered Species Act (CESA)  
          listing procedures and 
          extends the sunset date on the authority for accidental take of  
          listed species during agricultural activities.  This bill also  
          enacts other provisions related to agricultural leasing of state  
          lands.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Extends the sunset from 2014 to 2020 on the provision allowing  
            accidental take of a candidate, threatened or endangered  
            species resulting from an act that occurs from routine and  
            ongoing agricultural activities.  Defines accidental to mean  
            unintended or unforeseen.

          2)Authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to lease  
            department-managed lands for agricultural activities, as  
            specified.  Authorizes moneys collected from agricultural  
            leases to be used to support maintenance and operations of the  
            DFW managed lands.

          3)Requires DFW to identify lands to be maintained for upland  
            nesting cover and waterfowl brood habitat. Requires the DFW to  
            annually provide an opportunity for licensed hunters to  
            comment and make recommendations on the management of those  
            lands.

          4)Establishes an alternative process for the Fish and Game  
            Commission to review a petition by an interested party to add  
            or remove a species from the CESA lists until January 1, 2017.

          5)Prohibits any state agency from prohibiting, conditioning,  








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            penalizing or otherwise restricting the establishment of  
            upland nest cover or associated waterfowl brood habitat for  
            propagating waterfowl, upland game birds, or other protected  
            birds.

          6)Provides a statement to encourage landowners of agricultural  
            lands idled to provide water for transfers to cultivate or  
            retain non-irrigated cover crops or natural vegetation if all  
            other water transfer requirements are met.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Increased costs of $130,000 annually to the Upland Game Bird  
            Account within the Fish and Game preservation Fund for DFW to  
            identify for game bird and waterfowl habitat.

          2)Cost pressure of up to $1.7 million for lost revenues to the  
            Wildlife Restoration Fund.
          3) Minor, absorbable costs to review petitions to add or remove  
            a species from the lists of threatened or endangered species  
            and make recommendations on the regarding the establishment of  
            a bird habitat.
           
          COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose.   According to the author, this bill is intended to  
            ensure good stewardship of private property and DFW-managed  
            lands, provide funding for maintenance and operations, and  
            encourage the creation of waterfowl and upland game bird  
            habitat.

           2)DFW-Managed Lands.   DFW is permitted to lease  
            department-managed lands for certain activities. Lease  
            revenues are deposited in the Wildlife Restoration Fund,  
            managed by the Wildlife Conservation Board.  Funds may be used  
            to acquire lands and construct facilities suitable for  
            recreation and adaptable for conservation, propagation, and  
            utilization of fish and game resources. The Wildlife  
            Restoration Fund cannot be used for land management.

           3)Upland game birds.   Hunters are required to obtain an upland  
            game bird stamp to hunt upland game birds, such as doves, sage  
            grouse, wild turkeys, and quail. Stamp revenues are deposited  
            into the Upland Game Bird Account and are available for  
            expenditure, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the  








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            acquisition of land and projects that will benefit upland game  
            bird species and expand public hunting opportunities.  For the  
            past three years, stamp revenues have been approximately $1.4  
            million.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081