BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1716


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          Date of Hearing:  April 18, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 1716  
          (McCarty) - As Introduced January 27, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Lower American River Conservancy


          SUMMARY:  Establishes the Lower American River Conservancy in  
          the Natural Resources Agency (NRA), which is created for the  
          purpose of receiving and expending proceeds from bonds or other  
          appropriations for the benefit of the American River Parkway  
          (Parkway).


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Establishes 10 conservancies in NRA to acquire, manage, direct  
            the management of, and conserve public lands in the state.


          2)Defines "American River Parkway Plan" (Plan) to mean the  
            management plans for the Lower American River adopted by the  
            County of Sacramento on September 10, 2008, by Resolution No.  
            2008-0946, and by the City of Sacramento on November 6, 2008,  
            by Resolution No. 2008-731, and endorsed by the City of Rancho  
            Cordova on September 15, 2008, by Resolution No. 110-2008.


          3)Defines "Lower American River" to mean the portion of the  








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            American River between Nimbus Dam and the confluence of the  
            American River with the Sacramento River and the adjacent  
            lands as described in the Plan.


          4)Declares that the Legislature has adopted the Plan in order to  
            provide coordination with local agencies in the protection and  
            management of the Parkway.


          5)Requires land use decisions of state and local agencies to be  
            consistent with the Plan.


          6)Prohibits the codification of the Plan from doing any of the  
            following:


             a)   Impair the authority and responsibility of the state or  
               local public agencies to maintain and operate the flood  
               channel, levees, and pump stations;


             b)   Affect the existing authority of the City of Sacramento  
               to litigate the validity or application of the Plan;


             c)   Prohibit reasonable expansion of the water treatment  
               facility operated by the City of Sacramento;


             d)   Impair the authorities and responsibilities of state  
               agencies in managing the California Exposition flood plain  
               or Bushy Lake Area; and,


             e)   Affect existing water rights.










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          7)Permits the Plan to be amended through a local amendment  
            process.  Specifies that area plans can only be amended if  
            they are consistent with the plan.  Specifies amendments to  
            area plans will conducted by the Sacramento County Board of  
            Supervisors through a process outlined in the Plan.


          8)Declares it is the intent of the Legislature that the duties  
            and responsibilities required by adoption of the Plan be  
            accomplished by utilizing existing staff resources and that no  
            additional funding be provided other than that which is  
            appropriated by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.


          THIS BILL:


          1)Makes various findings about the Parkway and Plan.


          2)Declares that the Lower American River Conservancy can provide  
            a state partner to work cooperatively with local agencies,  
            particularly the County of Sacramento, and nonprofit  
            organizations to help fund projects and provide grants to  
            restore, enhance, interpret, protect, and increase public  
            access to the Parkway's natural, recreational, educational,  
            and cultural resources. 


          3)Establishes the Lower American River Conservancy for the  
            purpose of receiving and expending proceeds from bonds or  
            other appropriations for the benefit of the Parkway.


          4)Requires the Conservancy to prioritize funding development and  
            implementation of a natural resources management plan and  
            improving access to and protection of the Parkway. 










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          5)Requires the Conservancy to have a 15 voting member governing  
            board (Board) that consists of:


             a)   Three members of the Sacramento County Board of  
               Supervisors;


             b)   Two representatives of the City of Sacramento;


             c)   One representative of the City of Rancho Cordova;


             d)   The Secretary of NRA, or his or her designee; 


             e)   The Director of Finance, or his or her designee;


             f)   The Director of Parks and Recreation, or his or her  
               designee;


             g)   The Director of Fish and Wildlife, or his or her  
               designee;


             h)   The Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation  
               Board, or his or her designee;


             i)   The Executive Officer of the State Lands Commission, or  
               his or her designee; and,


             j)   Three members of the public at large, one appointed by  
               the Governor, one appointed by the Senate Committee on  
               Rules, and one appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. 








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          6)Allows at-large Board members who are not full-time public  
            employees to be compensated for attendance at the rate of $100  
            per meeting.


          7)Requires the Conservancy to do the following:


             a)   Coordinate its activities with the County of Sacramento,  
               each city that includes a portion of the Parkway,  
               appropriate local and regional flood control districts, and  
               relevant state agencies;


             b)   Administer any funds appropriated to the Conservancy or  
               any revenues generated by the Conservancy; and,


             c)   Provide grants to the County of Sacramento for the  
               development, update, adoption, and implementation of a  
               natural resources management plan for the Parkway, and to  
               other local agencies and nonprofit organizations whose  
               projects are approved by the parkway manager for  
               implementation of a natural resources management plan.


          8)Allows the Conservancy, if consistent with the Plan, to do any  
            of the following:


             a)   Provide grants to local public agencies and nonprofit  
               organizations whose projects are approved by the parkway  
               manager for the following purposes:


               i)     Acquisition, restoration, enhancement, and  
                 maintenance of fish and wildlife habitat and other  








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                 natural resources, including resources impacted by  
                 wildlife;


               ii)    Improvement and expansion of public access  
                 facilities, including trails; and,


               iii)   Enhancement of interpretive and educational  
                 facilities related to the Parkway.


             b)   Improve and enhance lands in or adjacent to the Parkway.


             c)   Design, implement, and provide grants to local agencies  
               and nonprofit organizations for projects that have multiple  
               benefits, including stormwater capture, water quality  
               improvements, improved recreational areas, and increased  
               water supply.


             d)   Solicit grants, donations of in-kind services, and other  
               contributions from federal, state, and private sources.


             e)   Establish necessary advisory boards or committees.


          9)Prohibits the Conservancy from doing any of the following:


             a)   Fund or implement projects on lands without the written  
               consent of the landowner;


             b)   Regulate the use of lands or waters not under the  
               jurisdiction of the conservancy;









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             c)   Levy any tax or special assessment;


             d)   Provide grants or take other actions that are  
               inconsistent with the Plan, including a project determined  
               by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sacramento as  
               inconsistent with the Plan; and,


             e)   Own or acquire land.


          10)Creates the Lower American River Conservancy Fund.


          11)Declares that nothing in this bill will supersede or diminish  
            the existing authority of the County of Sacramento or any  
            other entity with responsibilities on the Parkway.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Author's statement:


               Despite its location and opportunities for both access  
               and environmental benefits, the Lower American River  
               has missed out on opportunities for improvements.   
               Creating a state conservancy would create a framework  
               to bringing together the diverse stakeholders,  
               including the state, to make decisions on the best way  
               to improve and protect the Lower American and take  
               action to make those improvements.









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          2)Conservancies.  There are ten Conservancies in the NRA, which  
            include the Baldwin Hills, Tahoe, Coachella Valley Mountains,  
            Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta (Delta), San Diego River, San  
            Gabriel & Lower Los Angeles Rivers & Mountains, San Joaquin  
            River, Santa Monica Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and Coastal.   
            These conservancies have different missions, but common themes  
            are to enhance and restore important habitat lands, provide  
            for public recreation, educational opportunities, and  
            undertake watershed restoration activities.  Most  
            conservancies focus on strategic acquisition of land from  
            willing sellers in order to preserve the land.  The  
            Legislature created the Santa Ana Conservancy and the San  
            Francisco Bay Conservancy within the Coastal Conservancy.   
            Originally, the authors creating these programs tried to  
            create new conservancies, but both authors later pursued  
            programs within the Coastal Conservancy to reduce the cost of  
            their legislation.  None of the 10 existing conservancies  
            cover the Sacramento Valley.  The Delta Conservancy borders  
            Sacramento, but does not include the Parkway. 


          3)This bill.  This bill creates a different type of Conservancy.  
             The Conservancy is prohibited from acquiring land.  In  
            addition, the Conservancy actions, which would primarily be  
            providing grants, are subject to approval in cases by the  
            parkway manager (a county employee) and others by the  
            Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.  This is problematic  
            because a local government who has three members on the Board  
            of the Conservancy could prohibit the Conservancy as a whole  
            from funding projects or taking actions.  This defeats the  
            purpose of a Board.  The author and committee may wish to  
            amend the bill to remove the provisions giving Sacramento  
            County control over the Conservancy's actions.  This bill both  
            prioritizes expending funds to develop a natural resource  
            management plan and requires the Conservancy to provide grants  
            to Sacramento County for the development, update, adoption,  
            and implementation of a natural resource management plan.   
            Sacramento County has been asked to create a natural resource  








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            management plan to identify the Parkway's resources, habitat  
            and ecosystems, and how to manage them.  However, the  
            Conservancy has no allocated bond funding and therefore, would  
            only have staff funded by the general fund and whatever money  
            is appropriated through the budget.  The Conservancy will be  
            unable to provide grants until another resource bond is passed  
            that allocates the Conservancy funding.  The author and  
            committee may wish to amend the bill to allow the Conservancy  
            to provide assistance and funding to Sacramento County for  
            purposes of creating and completing the natural resource  
            management plan.  The bill also prohibits the Conservancy from  
            owning or acquiring land, but allows the Conservancy to  
            regulate use of land or water under its jurisdiction.  The  
            author and committee may wish to amend the bill to clarify  
            that the Conservancy cannot regulate the use of land or water.  
             


          4)Related/Prior Legislation


          SB 1396 (Wolk) creates the Inner Coast Range Conservancy that  
          would include all or portions of the Counties of Colusa, Del  
          Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou,  
          Solano, Tehama, Trinity, and Yolo.  This bill is awaiting  
          hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 


          SB 1390 (Correa), Chapter 562, Statutes of 2014, establishes the  
          Santa Ana River Conservancy Program within the State Coastal  
          Conservancy to address the resource and recreational goals of  
          the Santa Ana River corridor.     


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:












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          Support


          Sacramento County Board of Supervisors (sponsor)


          Audubon
          California Association of Local Conservation Corps
          California Trout
          City of Sacramento
          Friends of the River


          Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
          Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates


          Sacramento County Recreation and Parks Commission


          Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps
          Save the American River Association
          The River District Business Association
          One individual

          Opposition



          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092












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