BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 530 (Rendon) - Lower Los Angeles River Working Group.
          
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          |Version: June 1, 2015           |Policy Vote: N.R. & W. 9 - 0    |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 17, 2015   |Consultant: Marie Liu           |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 


          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 530 would establish the Lower Los Angeles River  
          Working Group which would be responsible for developing a  
          revitalization plan for the Lower Los Angeles River and the  
          communities through which it passes by March 1, 2017.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           One-time costs estimated between $40,000 and $80,0000 to the  
            General Fund or the Environmental License Plate Fund (special)  
            for the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to staff the LA River  
            Working Group.
           Cost pressures, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars  
            and possibly over a billion dollars, to the General Fund and  
            various special funds, to implement the plan.
           Possible reimbursement from the General Fund of the county's  
            costs to incorporate the plan into its Master Plan for the  
            entire LA River.








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          Background:  The Los Angeles River (river) forms from its headwaters in the  
          western San Fernando Valley and flows easterly across the Valley  
          through Griffith Park where the river turns to the south, and  
          passes through downtown Los Angeles and additional downstream  
          cities en route to its estuary in Long Beach. The river is  
          entirely with the County of Los Angeles (County). The  
          approximately 32 miles of the river upstream of the City of  
          Vernon is considered to be the upper river and is within the  
          bounds of the City of Los Angeles.  The approximately 19 miles  
          of the lower river includes the cities of Vernon, Commerce,  
          Maywood, Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, South Gate, Lynwood,  
          Compton, Paramount, Carson and Long Beach.
          The San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains  
          Conservancy (RMC) was created by the Legislature in 1999 (Public  
          Resources Code (PRC) 32600 et seq.).  The RMC's mission is,  
          among other things, to preserve open space and habitat in order  
          to provide for low-impact recreation and educational uses,  
          wildlife habitat restoration and protection, and watershed  
          improvements within its jurisdiction.  It is one of ten  
          conservancies located in the Natural Resources Agency (agency).   
          The RMC's territory includes the lower Los Angeles River.


          In 1996, county released the LA River Master Plan (master plan)  
          which has a goal to, over several decades, return the river to a  
          less-polluted, functioning riparian environment in as many  
          reaches as possible, while still controlling flooding and  
          providing recreational opportunities.


          In 2007 the City of Los Angeles released the Los Angeles River  
          Revitalization Master Plan (revitalization master plan).  
          Continuing the long-term goals of the County master plan, the  
          revitalization master plan also promoted the revitalization of  
          the river as a multi-benefit solution to addressing and  
          enhancing water quality and flood control while enabling safe  
          access to the river and restoring a functional river ecosystem.   
          The city's revitalization master plan focused on the upper  
          river.


          In 2014, California voters approved the Water Quality, Supply,  
          and infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) which  








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          includes $60 million for the river split equally between the  
          Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the RMC.  These funds are  
          for the purpose of multi-benefit water quality, water supply,  
          watershed protection and restoration projects for the  
          watersheds.  In addition, river projects are eligible for  
          certain other Proposition 1-funded purposes, such as the $100  
          million for urban rivers and streams and $20 million for  
          multi-benefit watershed and urban rivers enhancement projects,  
          of which 10% may be used for project planning.




          Proposed Law:  
            This bill would direct the Secretary of the Natural Resources  
          Agency, in coordination with the RMC, to appoint a local working  
          group to be staffed by the RMC that would be responsible for  
          developing a revitalization plan for the Lower Los Angeles River  
          by March 1, 2017. The group would be called the Lower Los  
          Angeles River Working Group and would at least include  
          representatives from the following: 
           RMC,
           Los Angeles County,
           Gateway Cities Council of Governments, 
           Los Angeles Gateway Region Integrated Water Management Joint  
            Powers Authority, 
           Elected officials of the cities adjacent to the river, and 
           Nonprofit organization serving the region.


          The plan would be required to be consistent with, and  
          incorporated into, the county's master plan for the entire  
          river.


          This bill would declare that the development and implementation  
          of the revitalization plan may be eligible for public and  
          private sources including Proposition 1 monies.




          Staff  
          Comments:  The RMC interprets its role under this bill as staff  








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          to coordinate local agencies efforts with the local agencies  
          providing a significant amount of the workload. Under this  
          assumption, the RMC estimates that its costs would likely be  
          between $40,000 and $80,000. Staff notes that the level of  
          participation from the local agencies will influence the  
          ultimate cost. 
          Once the plan is developed, there would be cost pressures to  
          implement the plan. These cost pressures will depend on the  
          details of the plan. But given that the Army Corps of Engineers  
          presented estimated a restoration alternative in its Los Angeles  
          River Ecosystem Restoration Report that would cost approximately  
          $1.08 billion, these cost pressures would easily be in the  
          hundreds of millions of dollars and potentially over a billion  
          dollars. These costs could come from various state funds,  
          including Proposition 1 dollars which are ultimately paid by the  
          General Fund.


          This bill creates a state-mandated local program by requiring  
          the county to incorporate the plan into its Master Plan for the  
          entire Los Angeles River. The costs to do so may be reimbursable  
          by the state if approved by the Commission on State Mandates.




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