Amended in Assembly May 28, 2015

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

(begin deleteCoauthor: end deletebegin insertCoauthors: end insertAssemblybegin delete Memberend deletebegin insert Members Dodd andend insert Mark Stone)

(Coauthor: Senator Monning)

February 12, 2015


An act to add Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 31420) to Division 21 ofbegin insert, and to repeal Section 31422 and 31423 of,end insert 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 the State Water Resources Control Board to establish and coordinate the Algal Bloom Task Force, comprised of specified representatives of state agencies, including the conservancy, in consultation with the Secretary for Environmental Protection, 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 the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature, the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, and the secretarybegin delete byend deletebegin insert on or beforeend insert 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 providebegin delete grantsend deletebegin insert grants, upon appropriation, from the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account,end insert from specified bond funds available under the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act ofbegin delete 2014end deletebegin insert 2014, or from other appropriate fundsend insert 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 potentbegin delete hepatoxinsend deletebegin insert hepatotoxinsend insert and
18neurotoxins, collectively referred to as cyanotoxins. Microcystins
19are the most commonly found cyanotoxin in the state’s impacted
20waters. Other cyanotoxins, such as the neurotoxins anatoxin-a and
21saxitoxin, are also present in California’s waters, but, at present,
22little is known about them.

P3    1(f) Cyanotoxins are poisonous to humans, pets, livestock, birds,
2and other wildlife via ingestion, inhalation, or skin exposure. A
3single dose of microcystin can cause prolonged toxicity by cycling
4repeatedly between the liver and intestines.

5(g) Blooms of microcystins and other toxic cyanobacteria are
6occurring in waters throughout California, and are threatening our
7water supply and health. Areas with recurrent and worsening
8cyanotoxin pollution include the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers,
9the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers (from the Sacramento
10Delta to San Francisco Bay), and Clear Lake. Pinto Lake, Copco
11Lake, Iron Gate Reservoir, and three segments of the Klamath
12River have been listed as impaired due to cyanobacteria. Bird
13deaths attributed to microcystins have also been reported from the
14Salton Sea.

15(h) The Pinto Lake watershed is being evaluated for total
16maximum daily load (TMDL) regulation for microcystin, and was
17considered for remediation as an Environmental Protection Agency
18“superfund” site.

19(i) California’s southern sea otters, a state and federally listed
20threatened species, have died from microcystin poisoning. The
21source of sea otter exposure appears to be
22microcystin-contaminated freshwater runoff and possibly
23contaminated prey species.

24(j) Sea otters and humans eat some of the same marine foods
25that can concentrate microcystin in body tissues; hence, food safety
26is a public health concern. Freshwater and marine fish and shellfish
27have not been routinely tested for cyanotoxins in California and
28limited diagnostic testing is available.

29(k) The state needs a coordinated multiagency effort to develop
30actions and projects that will prevent or mitigate toxic blooms and
31associated cyanotoxin pollution.

32

SEC. 2.  

Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 31420) is added
33to Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

34 

35Chapter  10. Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act
36of 2015
37

 

38

31420.  

This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the
39Safe Water and Wildlife Protection Act of 2015.

P4    1

31421.  

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have
2the following meanings:

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

4 (b)  “Task Force” means the Algal Bloom Task Force created
5pursuant to Section 31422.

6(c) “Waters of the state” means any surface waters in the state,
7 including, but not limited to, coastal lakes, lagoons and estuaries,
8rivers, streams, inland lakes and reservoirs, and wetlands.

9

31422.  

begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insert The board shall establish and coordinate the Algal
10Bloom Task Force, comprised of a representative of each of the
11State Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish and
12Wildlife, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the conservancy,
13and other relevant agency representatives, to be determined by the
14chairperson of the board, in consultation with the Secretary for
15Environmental Protection. The board may augment an existing
16begin delete taskforceend deletebegin insert task forceend insert or network to accomplish the requirements of
17this chapter.

begin insert

18(b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019,
19and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
20is enacted before January 1, 2019, deletes or extends that date.

end insert
21

31423.  

The functions and duties of the task force include all
22of the following:

23(a) Assess and prioritize the actions and research necessary to
24develop measures that prevent or sustainably mitigate toxic algal
25blooms in the waters of the state. The assessment shall consider
26the linked impacts of toxic algal blooms and cyanotoxins on human
27and animal health, as well as in the context of ecosystem health
28and water quality.

29(b) Solicit and review proposals from universities, local
30governments, California Native American tribes, and nonprofit
31organizations for applied research, projects, and programs that
32accomplish both of the following:

33(1) Contribute to development of strategies or implementation
34of activities that prevent or sustainably mitigate toxic blooms of
35cyanotoxins and microcystin pollution in the waters of the state.

36(2) Establish cyanotoxin monitoring programs or develop
37laboratory capacity for analyzing water samples for cyanotoxin
38pollution.

39(c) Provide funding recommendations to the chairperson of the
40board and to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Wildlife
P5    1Conservation Board, the conservancy, other members of the task
2force, and other relevant agency representatives for those proposals
3for applied research, projects, and programs, described in
4subdivision (b), that the task force determines will contribute to
5the development of prevention strategies and sustainable mitigation
6actions to address toxic blooms of cyanotoxins and microcystin
7pollution in waters of the state.

8(d) Review the risks and negative impacts of toxic algal blooms
9and microcystin pollution on humans, wildlife, fisheries, livestock,
10pets, and aquatic ecosystems, and develop recommendations for
11prevention and long-term mitigation. The task force shall submit
12a summary of its findings based on the review, including its
13recommendations to the appropriate policy and fiscal committees
14of the Legislature, the Secretary for Environmental Protection, and
15the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency on or before January
161, 2017. The recommendations shall provide guidance on what
17type of programs or state resources will be required to prevent
18damaging toxic algal blooms and microcystin pollution in the
19waters of the state over time.

20(e) Organize meetings and workshops of experts and
21stakeholders as needed to implement this section.

begin insert

22(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019,
23and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
24is enacted before January 1, 2019, deletes or extends that date.

end insert
25

31424.  

The conservancy, the Department of Fish and Wildlife,
26the Wildlife Conservation Board, and the board, or any of them,
27may enter into contracts and providebegin delete grantsend deletebegin insert grants, upon
28appropriation, fromend insert
begin insert the State Water Pollution Cleanup and
29Abatement Account,end insert
from funds available pursuant to Section
3079730 of the Waterbegin delete Codeend deletebegin insert Code, or end insertbegin insertfrom other appropriate funds
31accessible by any of these departments and agencies,end insert
for applied
32research, projects, and programs recommended by the task force
33pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 31423.



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