Amended in Assembly April 7, 2015

Amended in Assembly March 5, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 300


Introduced by Assembly Member Alejo

(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mark Stone)

(Coauthor: Senator Monning)

February 12, 2015


An act to add Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 31420) to Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, relating to coastal wildlife protection.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 300, as amended, Alejo. Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act of 2015.

Existing law establishes the State Coastal Conservancy and prescribes the membership and functions and duties of the conservancy with respect to preservation of coastal resources in the state.

This bill would enact the Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act of 2015, which would require thebegin delete conservancyend deletebegin insert State Water Resources Control Boardend insert to establish and coordinate the Algal Bloom Task Force,begin insert comprised of specified representatives of state agencies, including the conservancy,end insert in consultation with the Secretarybegin delete of the Natural Resources Agency,end deletebegin insert for Environmental Protectionend insertbegin insert,end insert and would prescribe the composition and functions and duties of the task force. The bill would require the task force to review the risks and negative impacts of toxic algal blooms and microcystin pollution and to submit a summary of its findings and recommendations to thebegin insert appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature, the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, and theend insert secretary by January 1, 2017. The act would authorize the conservancy, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board to enter into contracts and provide grants from specified bond funds available under the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 for applied research, projects, and programs, recommended by the task force, aimed at preventing or sustainably mitigating toxic blooms of cyanotoxins and microcystin pollution in the waters of the state.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(a) Toxic blooms of cyanobacteria in the waters of the state,
4including, but not limited to, coastal lakes, estuaries, rivers and
5streams, wetlands, and inland lakes and reservoirs, represent a
6threat to water supplies, human health, endangered wildlife, and
7recreational activities.

8(b) Cyanobacteria are widespread bacteria that are capable of
9forming toxic blooms and super-blooms in the waters of the state.

10(c) Degradation of watersheds, nutrient loading, increased water
11diversions, and climate change have been linked to the global
12expansion of cyanobacterial blooms, with high toxin production
13noted regularly in lakes, rivers, and other waters of the state.

14(d) The state’s waters are especially prone to toxic
15cyanobacterial blooms due to our warm climate, numerous water
16diversions, and stressed waterways.

17(e) Cyanobacteria produce potent hepatoxins and neurotoxins,
18collectively referred to as cyanotoxins. Microcystins are the most
19commonly found cyanotoxin in the state’s impacted waters. Other
20cyanotoxins, such as the neurotoxins anatoxin-a and saxitoxin, are
21also present in California’s waters, but, at present, little is known
22about them.

23(f) Cyanotoxins are poisonous to humans, pets, livestock, birds,
24and other wildlife via ingestion, inhalation, or skin exposure. A
P3    1single dose of microcystin can cause prolonged toxicity by cycling
2repeatedly between the liver and intestines.

3(g) Blooms of microcystins and other toxic cyanobacteria are
4occurring in waters throughout California, and are threatening our
5water supply and health. Areas with recurrent and worsening
6cyanotoxin pollution include the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers,
7the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers (from the Sacramento
8Delta to San Francisco Bay), and Clear Lake. Pinto Lake, Copco
9Lake, Iron Gate Reservoir, and three segments of the Klamath
10River have been listed as impaired due to cyanobacteria. Bird
11deaths attributed to microcystins have also been reported from the
12Salton Sea.

13(h) The Pinto Lake watershed is being evaluated for total
14maximum daily load (TMDL) regulation for microcystin, and was
15considered for remediation as an Environmental Protection Agency
16“superfund” site.

17(i) California’s southern sea otters, a state and federally listed
18threatened species, have died from microcystin poisoning. The
19source of sea otter exposure appears to be
20microcystin-contaminated freshwater runoff and possibly
21contaminated prey species.

22(j) Sea otters and humans eat some of the same marine foods
23that can concentrate microcystin in body tissues; hence, food safety
24is a public health concern. Freshwater and marine fish and shellfish
25have not been routinely tested for cyanotoxins in California and
26limited diagnostic testing is available.

begin delete

27(k) A multidisciplinary “one-health” approach, that considers
28human, animal, and environmental health components, is
29appropriate to evaluate impacts and develop comprehensive
30strategies to prevent cyanotoxin pollution in the waters of the state.

end delete
begin delete

31(l)

end delete

32begin insert(end insertbegin insertk)end insert The state needs a coordinated multiagency effort to develop
33actions and projects that will prevent or mitigate toxic blooms and
34associated cyanotoxin pollution.

35

SEC. 2.  

Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 31420) is added
36to Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

 

P4    1Chapter  10. Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act
2of 2015
3

 

4

31420.  

This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the
5Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act of 2015.

6

31421.  

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have
7the following meanings:

begin delete

8(a) “One-health approach” means a method of assessment that
9considers the linked impacts of toxic algal blooms on humans,
10animals, the ecosystem, and water quality.

end delete
begin insert

11(a)  “Board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.

end insert

12 (b)  “Task Force” means the Algal Bloom Task Force created
13pursuant to Section 31422.

14(c) “Waters of the state” means any surface waters in the statebegin insert,end insert
15 including, but not limited to, coastal lakes, lagoons and estuaries,
16rivers, streams, inland lakes and reservoirs, and wetlands.

17

31422.  

Thebegin delete conservancyend deletebegin insert boardend insert shall establish and coordinate
18the Algal Bloom Task Force, comprised of a representative of each
19of the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish
20and Wildlife,begin insert the Department of Food and Agriculture,end insert thebegin delete State
21Water Resources Control Board,end delete
begin insert conservancy,end insert and other relevant
22agency representatives, to be determined by thebegin delete executive officer
23of the conservancyend delete
begin insert end insertbegin insertchairperson of the end insertbegin insertboard,end insert in consultation with
24the Secretarybegin delete of the Natural Resources Agency.end deletebegin insert for Environmental
25Protection. The board may augment an existing taskforce or
26network to accomplish the requirements of this chapter.end insert

27

31423.  

The functions and duties of the task force include all
28of the following:

29(a) Assess and prioritize the actions and research necessary to
30develop measures that prevent or sustainably mitigate toxic algal
31blooms in the waters of the state. The assessment shallbegin delete apply a
32one-health approach that considersend delete
begin insert considerend insert the linked impacts of
33toxic algal blooms and cyanotoxins on human and animal health,
34as well as in the context of ecosystem health and water quality.

35(b) Solicit and review proposals from universities, local
36governments, California Native American tribes, and nonprofit
37organizations for applied research, projects, and programs that
38accomplish both of the following:

P5    1(1) Contribute to development of strategies or implementation
2of activities that prevent or sustainably mitigate toxic blooms of
3cyanotoxins and microcystin pollution in the waters of the state.

4(2) Establish cyanotoxin monitoring programs or develop
5laboratory capacity for analyzing water samples for cyanotoxin
6pollution.

7(c) Provide funding recommendations to thebegin delete executive officerof
8the conservancyend delete
begin insert chairperson of the boardend insert and to the Department
9of Fish and Wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Board,begin delete and the
10State Water Resources Control Boardend delete
begin insert the conservancy, other
11members of the task force, and other relevant agency
12representativesend insert
for those proposals for applied research, projects,
13and programs, described in subdivision (b), that the task force
14determines will contribute to the development of prevention
15strategies and sustainable mitigation actions to address toxic
16blooms of cyanotoxins and microcystin pollution in waters of the
17state.

18(d) Review the risks and negative impacts of toxic algal blooms
19and microcystin pollution on humans, wildlife, fisheries, livestock,
20pets, and aquatic ecosystems, and develop recommendations for
21prevention and long-term mitigation. The task force shall submit
22a summary of its findings based on the review, including its
23recommendations to thebegin insert appropriate policy and fiscal committees
24of the Legislature, the Secretary for Environmental Protection,
25and theend insert
Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency on or before
26January 1, 2017. The recommendations shall provide guidance on
27what type of programs or state resources will be required to prevent
28damaging toxic algal blooms and microcystin pollution in the
29waters of the state over time.

30(e) Organize meetings and workshops of experts and
31stakeholders as needed to implement this section.

32

31424.  

The conservancy, the Department of Fish and Wildlife,
33the Wildlife Conservation Board, and thebegin delete State Water Resources
34Control Board,end delete
begin insert board,end insert or any of them, may enter into contracts
35and provide grants from funds available pursuant to Section 79730
36of the Water Code for applied research, projects, and programs
37recommended by the task force pursuant to subdivision (c) of
38Section 31423.



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