BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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

          AB 1201 (Salas) - Fish and wildlife: Sacramento-San Joaquin  
          Delta: predation by nonnative species.
          
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          |Version: August 17, 2015        |Policy Vote: N.R. & W. 9 - 0    |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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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 1201 would require the Department of Fish and  
          Wildlife (DFW) to develop a plan by June 30, 2016 to reduce  
          predation by nonnative fish species upon salmon, native species,  
          and threatened and endangered species.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           One-time costs of at least $750,000 to the General Fund to  
            develop the predation reduction plan.
           Unknown cost pressures, likely in the millions of dollars to  
            the General Fund to implement the plan.


          Background:  The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) aims to protect  
          all species of plants and animals, and their habitat, which are  
          threatened with extinction or are experiencing a significant  
          decline which, if not halted, would lead to a threatened or  







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          endangered designation. DFW is responsible for the  
          implementation of CESA.
          The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the largest estuarine system  
          on the west coast. It serves as important and unique habitat for  
          native wildlife, including Chinook salmon, steelhead, and  
          numerous CESA listed species such as the Delta smelt. The Delta  
          also serves as the "switching yard" for the state's water  
          distribution system. 


          The Delta is also the home of many introduced, non-native  
          species, including striped bass, which prey upon salmon and  
          other fish. Parties with interest in the Delta disagree on the  
          extent that predation is responsible for the decline of  
          CESA-listed species, such as the Delta smelt, relative to lack  
          of instream flows and loss of habitat. 




          Proposed Law:  
            This bill would require DFW to develop a science-based plan by  
          June 30, 2016 to address predation by nonnative species upon  
          CESA-listed and unlisted species that live in the Sacramento-San  
          Joaquin Delta, including a reduction of predation of all Chinook  
          salmon. The plan may include prioritization and phasing of  
          approaches that are the most practical and effective in  
          addressing predation issues. The plan would be required to  
          include DFW's existing predation research. 
          In developing the plan, DFW would be required to actively  
          solicit the input of the scientific community, including the  
          Delta Independent Science board and all interested stakeholders.


          DFW would only be able to implement the program if funding is  
          made available.




          Related  
          Legislation:  AB 1253 (Fuller, 2009) would have removed the  
          existing restrictions on the commercial possession or sale of  
          striped bass, and on the taking of striped bass with nets. AB  








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          1253 was later amended to deal with another subject.
          AB 2336 (Fuller, 2010) would have required the Delta Stewardship  
          Council, in the course of developing and implementing the Delta  
          plan, to direct the Delta Independent Science Board to conduct  
          an assessment of the other stressors on populations of native  
          species in the Delta. AB 2336 was held in the Senate Natural  
          Resources Committee. 




          Staff  
          Comments:  To develop the predation reduction plan, DFW  
          anticipates needing at least six new staff positions including  
          three environmental scientists, one senior environmental  
          scientist supervisor, one senior environmental scientist  
          specialist, and an associate governmental program analyst at an  
          annual cost of approximately $750,000. There is limited  
          information on recommended actions that can be taken to reduce  
          predation, thus these costs can be seen as a minimum because DFW  
          may find it needs additional staff to identify and prioritize  
          actions that can be taken to address predation issues as  
          required by the bill. These costs would come from the General  
          Fund.
          DFW estimates that to implement the plan, would necessitate a  
          total of 10 staff positions and approximately $5 million in  
          one-time costs for boats, vehicles, contracts and equipment.  
          Because this bill states that DFW would not be responsible for  
          implementing this plan unless funding is made available, these  
          costs would be cost pressures.




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