BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 501


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS, AND WILDLIFE


                                 Marc Levine, Chair


          AB 501  
          (Levine) - As Introduced February 23, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Delta research: data sharing


          SUMMARY:  Requires that state-funded environmental research in  
          the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary  
          (Delta) be shareable and made available to the Delta Science  
          Program within two years of completion.  Specifically, this  
          bill:  


          1)Requires state-funded Delta research, as defined, be provided  
            the Delta Science Program with access to all primary data  
            created for conducting the research.


          2)Requires significant findings from Delta research be promptly  
            prepared and submitted for publication, either by the state  
            funded recipient or by others as permitted and encouraged by  
            the recipient. 









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          3)Specifies Delta research must be shared with other researchers  
            at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time.


          4)Encourages the sharing of primary data, samples, collections,  
            and other supporting materials created or gathered in the  
            course of conducting Delta research.


          5)Prohibits the release of privileged or confidential  
            information except in a form that protects the privacy of  
            individuals and subjects involved.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Establishes coequal goals for the Delta of providing a more  
            reliable water supply for California and protecting,  
            restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. States the  
            coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and  
            enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource,  
            and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place.


          2) Establishes a Delta Science Program with the mission of  
            providing the best possible scientific information to inform  
            water and environmental decisionmaking in the Delta.  


          3)Establishes a Delta Independent Science Board of nationally  
            and internationally prominent scientists to evaluate the broad  
            range of scientific programs that support Delta adaptive  
            management.


          4)Requires the Delta Independent Science Board to choose a lead  
            scientist with an advanced degree in a field related to water  








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            or ecosystem management, a strong record of publishing  
            peer-reviewed scientific research, and high-level management  
            experience to oversee implementation of the Delta Science  
            Program.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  This bill would help foster communication and  
          transparency among Delta researchers and provide the Delta  
          Science Program with open access to research data. 


          Our laws for managing resources require that the best available  
          scientific information is used to inform decisionmakers. Perhaps  
          nowhere is this more important or more difficult than the Delta,  
          which is home to many historic communities, farms, and  
          businesses; the crossroads of
          California's two largest surface water delivery projects, the  
          federal Central Valley Project
          and State Water Project; and, together with the Suisun Marsh, a  
          vibrant
          ecosystem that supports more than 55 fish species and more than  
          750 plant and wildlife
          species.

          The Delta Reform Act of 2009 created the Delta Stewardship  
          Council and tasked it with achieving the coequal goals for the  
          Delta of providing a more reliable water supply for California  
          and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.  
          The Act requires the coequal goals to be achieved in a manner  
          that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational,  
          natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an  
          evolving place.  The Act also created the Delta Science Program  
          with the mission of providing the best possible scientific  
          information to inform water and environmental decisionmaking in  
          the Delta.









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          February 2015 the Environmental Data Summit Organizing  
          Committee, under the leadership of the Delta Science Program,  
          released a draft white paper, Enhancing the Vision for Managing  
          California's Environmental Information, which discussed the need  
          for sharable data to help inform Delta policy.  The paper states  
          that "shared and accessible data with a clear understanding of  
          the accuracy  and content of the information is paramount to  
          minimizing lawsuits and conflicts, advancing nimble management  
          and deepening public engagement."  





          Supporting arguments.  The author states that by some estimates  
          there are over 100 different state, federal, local, and  
          non-governmental entities conducting scientific analyses in the  
          Delta.  The author intends for the sharing and transparency  
          requirements of this bill to increase collaborative and  
          integrated approaches to Delta science and to help ensure that  
          the best decisions are made to balance the Delta's needs.  Other  
          supporters state that too often data sets are either not  
          accessible or are accessible only in limited formats.  Those  
          supporters state that AB 501 takes a positive step forward to  
          make publicly-funded data accessible to the public and would  
          like to see the bill go farther and help ensure data  
          comparability, accessibility and usability.





          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:










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          Support


          Metropolitan Water District of California (if amended)




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Tina Cannon Leahy / W., P., & W. / (916)  
          319-2096