Amended in Senate August 31, 2015

Amended in Assembly June 1, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 530


Introduced by Assembly Member Rendon

(Principal coauthor: Senator Lara)

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(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gomez)

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(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cristina Garcia, Gomez, Roger Hernández, and O’Donnell)

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(Coauthor: Senator Pavley)

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February 23, 2015


An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 32622) to Division 22.8 of the Public Resources Code, relating to the Los Angeles River.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 530, as amended, Rendon. Lower Los Angeles River Working Group.

Existing law provides for the protection, enhancement, and restoration of rivers in this state. Existing law establishes the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy for the purpose of, among others, providing for the public’s enjoyment and enhancement of recreational and education experiences on public lands in the San Gabriel Watershed and Lower Los Angeles River.

This bill would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to appoint, inbegin delete coordinationend deletebegin insert consultationend insert with the Los Angeles County Board ofbegin delete Supervisors,end deletebegin insert Supervisors to the extent the board wishes to consult,end insert a local working group to develop a revitalization plan for the Lower Los Angelesbegin delete River,end deletebegin insert River watershed,end insert called the Lower Los Angeles River Working Group. The bill wouldbegin delete specify a prescribed membership for the working group, including, among others, representatives from the County of Los Angeles, and elected officials of the cities riparian to the Los Angeles River.end deletebegin insert require the secretary to consider requests from local agency representatives to participate in the working group and would authorize the working group to include specified representatives.end insert The bill would require, by March 1, 2017, the working group to develop, through watershed-based planning methods, a revitalization plan that addresses the unique and diverse needs of the Lower Los Angeles River, that is consistent with, enhances, and isbegin insert authorized to beend insert incorporated into the County of Los Angeles’s Master Plan, and that includes watershed education programs.begin delete By imposing additional duties on local officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.end delete The bill would require the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to provide any necessary staffing to assist the working group.

This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the Lower Los Angeles River.

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The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

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This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

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Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: begin deleteyes end deletebegin insertnoend insert.

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

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SECTION 1.  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(a) The Los Angeles River has a complex ecological and
4political history. The river originally ran freely along an alluvial
5flood plain, which today is the City of Los Angeles. In thebegin delete 1930send delete
6begin insert 1930s,end insert destructive flooding led the United States Army Corps of
7Engineers to design and build facilities to minimize the impacts
8of future floods, a process that included lining most of the river
9with concrete. Since then, the city, county, and federal government
P3    1have all played a role in restoring the Los Angeles River, including
2the county’s 1996 adoption of a master plan for developing and
3restoring the entire Los Angeles River. The City of Los Angeles
4developed a “revitalization plan” to restore the Upper Los Angeles
5River, which lies within the city’s boundaries. Most recently, the
6Corps of Engineers approved “Alternative 20,” a substantial
7restoration and infrastructure project along the Upper Los Angeles
8River.

9(b) The City of Los Angeles was given responsibility for
10managing the river’s resources through a charter by the King of
11Spain at the end of the 18th century. After serious floods in the
12begin delete 1930’s,end deletebegin insert 1930s,end insert the federal government, through the United States
13Army Corps of Engineers, stepped in to take responsibility for
14building and managing infrastructure projects to reduce the risk
15and damage from flooding, with the county as the local partner.
16The county also works with the city in managing the Upper Los
17Angeles River, where court decisions have held that the King of
18Spain’s charter gives the city “pueblo” water rights with authority
19to manage the Upper Los Angeles River’s resources. The courts
20have not given the city authority over the Lower Los Angeles
21River.

22(c) The State of California retains its sovereign authority to
23manage the rivers within its boundaries, including the Los Angeles
24River. Historically, however, it has not exercised that authority,
25due to the dominance of thebegin delete federalend deletebegin insert United Statesend insert Army Corps of
26Engineers in partnership with the county. The county’s master
27plan addresses the entire river but is close to two decades old, and
28would benefit from renewed attention to resources and
29development, especially on the lower river. The Lower Los Angeles
30River passes through many cities, but not one of these cities has
31the responsibility and the resources to invest in restoration of that
32part of the Los Angeles River. There is therefore opportunity and
33need for thebegin delete Stateend deletebegin insert stateend insert to aid in the development and
34implementation of the county’s Master Plan, especially for the
35Lower Los Angeles River.

36(d) In 2014, California voters approved the Water Quality,
37Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which
38included $60 million for the Los Angeles River, authorizing
39funding for both the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which
40has responsibility for the Upper Los Angeles River, and the San
P4    1Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains
2Conservancy, which has responsibility for the Lower Los Angeles
3River. The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement
4Act of 2014 allocated $30 million to each conservancy for the
5purpose of multibenefit water quality, water supply, and watershed
6protection and restoration projects for the watersheds.

7

SEC. 2.  

Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 32622) is added
8to Division 22.8 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

9 

10Chapter  6. Lower Los Angeles River Working Group
11

 

12

32622.  

(a) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency
13shall appoint, inbegin delete coordinationend deletebegin insert consultationend insert with the Los Angeles
14County Board ofbegin delete Supervisors,end deletebegin insert Supervisors to the extent that the
15board wishes to consult,end insert
a local working group to develop a
16revitalization plan for the Lower Los Angelesbegin delete River,end deletebegin insert River
17watershed,end insert
called the Lower Los Angeles River Working Group.
18begin insert The secretary shall consider requests from local agency
19representatives to participate in the working group.end insert
The working
20groupbegin delete shallend deletebegin insert mayend insert include, but need not be limited to, representatives
21from the conservancy, the County of Los Angeles, the Gateway
22Cities Council of Governments, the Los Angeles Gateway Region
23Integrated Regional Water Management Joint Powers Authority,
24elected officials of the cities riparian to the Los Angeles River,
25andbegin delete non-profitend deletebegin insert nonprofitend insert organizations serving the Los Angeles
26River region.

27(b) On or before March 1, 2017, the working group shall
28develop, through watershed-based planning methods, a
29revitalization plan that addresses the unique and diverse needs of
30the Lower Los Angeles River and the communities through which
31it passes. The plan shall be consistentbegin delete with,end deletebegin insert with andend insert enhance, and
32begin insert mayend insert be incorporated into, the County of Los Angeles’s Master
33Plan for the entire Los Angeles River. The plan shall include
34watershed education programs that help the Los Angeles River
35communities recognize the value of the river and the importance
36of protecting the river’s watershed resources and its vitality to their
37communities.

38(c) The conservancy shall provide any necessary staffing to the
39working group to assist in the development of the plan.

P5    1(d) The development and implementation of the revitalization
2plan may be eligible for funding from any public or private source,
3including, but not limited to, funding pursuant to Section 79735
4of the Water Code. Entities that are eligible to implement the
5revitalization plan include, but are not limited to, state agencies,
6local agencies, andbegin delete non-profitend deletebegin insert nonprofitend insert organizations, and may
7be eligible for state funding.

8

SEC. 3.  

The Legislature finds and declares that a special law
9is necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable
10within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California
11Constitution because of the Lower Los Angeles River’s complex
12ecological and political history and the unique obstacles the local
13governments of the Lower Los Angeles River encounter when
14managing the river and its surrounding areas.

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SEC. 4.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
16this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
17local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
18pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
194 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

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