BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


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                                 UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 749
          Author:   Wolk (D), et al.
          Amended:  9/6/13
          Vote:     21

          AYES:  Pavley, Cannella, Evans, Fuller, Hueso, Jackson, Lara,  
            Monning, Wolk

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 5/23/13
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Gaines, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg

           SENATE FLOOR :  39-0, 5/28/13
          AYES:  Anderson, Beall, Berryhill, Block, Calderon, Cannella,  
            Corbett, Correa, De León, DeSaulnier, Emmerson, Evans, Fuller,  
            Gaines, Galgiani, Hancock, Hernandez, Hill, Hueso, Huff,  
            Jackson, Knight, Lara, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Monning, Nielsen,  
            Padilla, Pavley, Price, Roth, Steinberg, Torres, Walters,  
            Wolk, Wright, Wyland, Yee
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Vacancy

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available

           SUBJECT  :    Habitat protection:  endangered species

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill makes several procedural changes to the  
          California Endangered Species Act (CESA); extends the sunset  
          date on the authority for accidental take of listed species in  


                                                                     SB 749

          the course of otherwise lawful and routine agricultural  
          activities; and enacts other provisions related to agricultural  
          leasing of state lands and protection of habitat for upland game  
          birds and nesting waterfowl.

           Assembly Amendments  (1) extend the sunset date on the Department  
          of Fish and Wildlife's (DFW) recovery strategy pilot program for  
          coho salmon from 2014 to 2017; (2) make technical and clarifying  
          amendments to CESA clarifying the DFW's responsibilities for  
          independent peer review of species status reports, and requiring  
          the Fish and Game Commission (FGC), if it reopens the  
          administrative record on petitions for listing under the CESA,  
          to provide opportunity for public comment on submitted  
          information prior to issuing its decision; and (3) delete  
          provision relating to water transfer and water rights.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Requires that lease revenues generated by DFW from lands that  
             it manages are deposited in the Wildlife Restoration Fund  
             (WRF) managed by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB).   
             These and related sections in the Fish and Game Code  
             authorize the WCB only to acquire, not manage, lands for DFW.  

          2. Establishes numerous procedural provisions in the CESA that  
             pertain to the scientific review, the contents of the  
             administrative record, ground rules for public participation,  
             and the conduct of public hearings that may be involved in a  
             decision by the FGC and DFW. 

          3. Establishes that the "accidental take" of a candidate,  
             threatened, or endangered species that occurs in the course  
             of routine and ongoing agricultural activities is not  
             prohibited.  This provision is scheduled to sunset on January  
             1, 2014. 

          This bill:

           1. Authorizes DFW to lease department-managed lands for  
             agricultural activities, including but not limited to  
             grazing, where consistent with the purpose for which the  



                                                                     SB 749

             lands were acquired and compatible with the DFW's management  
             plan for the area.  Requires moneys collected from  
             agricultural leases of DFW managed lands to be deposited into  
             the WRF and authorizes those moneys, upon appropriation by  
             the Legislature, to be used to support the management,  
             maintenance, restoration and operations of DFW managed lands.  

           2. Requires DFW to annually provide an opportunity for licensed  
             hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting  
             programs, and authorizes DFW to hold regional meetings on  
             hunting programs for different wildlife areas. 

           3. Makes several changes to the processes and procedures  
             required under CESA as follows: 

              A.    Clarifies when a public hearing is closed for purposes  
                of finalizing the administrative record in CESA  
                proceedings, and clarifies the circumstances under which  
                the administrative record can be reopened, which include  
                material changes in the law and a determination by the FGC  
                that additional information is needed to reach a decision  
                on the petition.  Requires the FGC if it reopens the  
                record to provide an opportunity for public comment on the  
                submitted information prior to the issuance of its  

              B.    Requires the species status report prepared by the DFW  
                for purposes of determining whether a petitioned action is  
                warranted to be independently peer reviewed and made  
                available on the DFW's Internet Web site.  Requires the  
                DFW to amend the draft status report as appropriate to  
                incorporate scientific information from the independent  
                peer review, and to make the revised status report  
                available for a minimum of 30 days for public review prior  
                to the hearing on the listing decision.  Authorizes the  
                FGC to grant an extension of up to six months if necessary  
                to complete independent peer review and provide the  
                required time for public notice and review. 

              C.    Provides that these changes to the CESA processes  
                shall sunset on
              January 1, 2017, unless a later enacted statute deletes or  
                extends that date. 



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              D.    Extends the sunset from 2014 to 2020 on the provision  
                of existing law allowing accidental take of a candidate,  
                threatened or endangered species resulting from an act  
                that occurs on a farm or ranch in the course of otherwise  
                lawful routine and ongoing agricultural activities.   
                Defines accidental to mean unintended or unforeseen. 

              E.    Clarifies the DFW's responsibilities for independent  
                peer review of species status reports. 

           1. Requires, when agricultural lands are being idled in order  
             to provide water for transfer, and an amount of water is  
             determined to be made available by that idling, that  
             landowners shall be encouraged to cultivate or retain  
             non-irrigated cover crops or natural vegetation to provide  
             waterfowl, upland game bird, and other wildlife habitat,  
             provided that all water transfer requirements are met.  
             Additionally requires the Department of Water Resources to  
             include information and resources regarding this issue in its  
             water transfer guide. 

           2. Extends the sunset date on the DFW's coho salmon recovery  
             strategy pilot program from 2014 to 2017.

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

          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee:

             Cost pressure of up to $1.7 million for lost revenues to the  

             Minor, absorbable costs to review petitions to add or remove  
             a species from the lists of threatened or endangered species  
             and make recommendations regarding the establishment of bird  

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  9/11/13)

          California Association of Winegrape Growers
          California Cattlemens Association
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Outdoor Heritage Alliance



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          California Waterfowl Association
          Pheasants Forever

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The California Farm Bureau Federation  
          (CFBF) is in support of the sunset extension of the accidental  
          take provisions in this bill as well as the administrative  
          record changes for listings of species pursuant to the CESA.  On  
          the first point, CFBF contends that the accidental take  
          provision is an assurance that the pure accidental take of  
          listed species will not be used to impose liability on farmers  
          and ranchers.  On the second point, CFBF states that the  
          clarification of when the administrative record is open will  
          improve the procedures used by DFW and to have the DFW status  
          report subject to peer review will ensure that scientific data  
          is better incorporated into the listing process.

          The California Cattlemen's Association supports both the  
          accidental take provision in this bill as well as the provision  
          that returns lease revenues to the DFW lands that generated  
          those lease revenues. 

          The California Waterfowl Association supports those provisions  
          in this bill that will benefit increased duck and upland game  
          bird habitat and the provision pertaining to the return of lease  
          revenues to the parcels that generated those revenues.

          RM:k  9/11/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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