BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER
                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            AB 1716         Hearing Date:    June 28,  
          2016
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          |Author:    |McCarty                |           |                 |
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          |Version:   |June 22, 2016    Amended                             |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|William Craven                                       |
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                 Subject:  Lower American River Conservancy Program


          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          
             1)   Sacramento County established the American River Parkway  
               in 1959 with support from the state and other entities to  
               provide recreational, flood control, water supply, water  
               quality, and wildlife habitat to the greater Sacramento  
               region. 

             2)   The American River Parkway is recognized in the Urban  
               American River Parkway Preservation Act and the Bushy Lake  
               Preservation Act. 

             3)   The Lower American River Parkway was designated as part  
               of the California Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the  
               National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. 

             4)   The American River Parkway Plan serves as the management  
               plan for the Lower American River under the California Wild  
               and Scenic Rivers Act. 

             5)   The above-referenced statutes define the "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  







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               September 15, 2008, by Resolution No. 110-2008.

             6)   The "Lower American River" is defined to mean the  
               portion of the 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.

             7)   The Plan may be amended through a local amendment  
               process, provided such amendments are consistent with the  
               Plan.  


          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would establish the American River Conservancy Program  
          as a program within the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). 

          The Program would have an advisory board consisting of 3  
          supervisors from the County of Sacramento, two representatives  
          of the City of Sacramento, the mayor or a councilmemember from  
          the City of Rancho Cordova, and up to 4 representatives of state  
          agencies. The officials of the state agencies that may  
          participate include the Secretary of theNatural Resources  
          Agency, the Director of Finance, the Director of Parks and  
          Recreation, the Executive Officer of the State Lands Commission,  
          or their designees. 

          Three public members would also be on the advisory committee. 

          The advisory committee would be required to meet at least twice  
          a year, and its meetings are subject to the Bagley-Keen Open  
          Meeting Act. 

          The WCB is directed to coordinate its activities with the County  
          of Sacramento, each city that includes a portion of the American  
          River Parkway, and appropriate local and regional flood control  
          districts, and relevant state agencies. 

          Prior to approving any funding, the WCB must consult with the  
          county as to whether the proposed actions are consistent with  
          the Plan. 

          For projects that involve fee acquisition of lands, the WCB must  
          give preference to projects in which the county would either be  
          the fee owner or the long-term manager of the property. 








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          The WCB may provide grants to local public agencies and  
          nonprofit organizations for various acquisition and restoration  
          projects along the American River including those that expand  
          public access that does not have significant adverse impacts on  
          wildlife or wildlife habitat. It may also fund interpretative  
          and educational facilities related to the Parkway, and the  
          control of invasive species, and the propagation of native  
          species. 
          It may also provide stormwater capture and treatment grants. 

          The WCB is prohibited from funding projects on land with the  
          written consent of the landowner, and managing, regulating, or  
          controlling the use of any land owned or leased by another  
          public agency or private party except as provided pursuant to a  
          written agreement with such agency or party. It may also not  
          levy any tax or special assessment, or provide any grants or  
          take other actions inconsistent with the above-referenced  
          statutes. It may also not own or acquire land. 

          The board, to the extent feasible, shall use the California  
          Conservation Corps or a community conservation corps for  
          projects. 

          The Lower American River Conservancy Program Fund is  
          established. 

          Land management remains the responsibility of the County of  
          Sacramento or another responsible entity, and not that of the  
          WCB. 

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, the American River and the American  
          River Parkway are vitally important to the people, economy, and  
          culture of Sacramento and West Sacramento, and other communities  
          in Sacramento County. 

          The Parkway encompasses 5,000 acres of riverfront accessible by  
          cyclists and pedestrians. Nearly 8 million people visit the  
          Parkway each year generating $364 million for the local economy.  


          It is particularly important in the Sacramento region to  
          recognize the importance of urban rivers to promote the health  








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          and welfare of a modern city. The Parkway not only provides  
          physical exercise such as hiking, fishing, and bicycling, but  
          much of the Parkway provides an opportunity to be in a natural  
          setting only minutes from urban congestion. 

          The City of Sacramento points out that as a program of the WCB,  
          the American River would be eligible for additional funding. It  
          states that of the $740 million of state bond and general funds  
          allocated to rivers since 1996, $660 million has gone to rivers  
          with state conservancies, but the American River has received  
          only $3 million. 

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION
          None received. 

          COMMENTS
             1.   In discussions with the author, the bill was changed  
               from a new conservancy to a program within the WCB both to  
               reduce costs, to avoid creating a new state agency, and to  
               rely on the expertise of the WCB to help local  
               jurisdictions with a locally and regionally important piece  
               of public infrastructure that provides multiple benefits to  
               the region.

             2.   The provision in the bill that makes it optional whether  
               to designate specified state officials as members of the  
               advisory board should be changed. Instead, the bill should  
               require those officials to be invited to participate,  
               leaving the final decision up to those officials.  
               (Amendment 1.)

             3.   Amendments 2-3 correct inadvertent drafting errors that  
               were caught by the author and the bill's supporters and  
               underscore that the land management functions remain with  
               the county. Amendment 4 is a technical correction. 

             4.   Staff would note that the support letters were received  
               prior to the recent amendments changing the bill from a  
               conservancy to a program within the WCB. 

          SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS 
          
          AMENDMENT 1
               Make change pursuant to Comment 2.








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          AMENDMENT 2
               In section 1482(e) delete amendment and restore original  
          language which reads:                                  "(e)  
          Prior to providing funding for any acquisition project within  
          the American                                           River  
          Parkway, require and ensure that title to the lands to be  
          acquired shall be                                      held by  
          the County of Sacramento."

          AMENDMENT 3
               In Sec. 1483(a) (1) remove amendment to restore prior  
          language:  "(1) The                           acquisition  ,  
          restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish and wildlife  
          habitat and other natural resources, including resources  
          impacted by wildfire,                        within and adjacent  
          to the American River Parkway.  Any land acquisition funded  
          pursuant to this paragraph shall be subject to subdivision (e)  
          of Section 32285."
           
          AMENDMENT 4
          
          In Sec. 1483 (a) (2) remove amendment to restore prior language:  
           "(2) The improvement and expansion of public  access facilities   
           access, recreational areas, and recreational facilities  ,  
          including trails.
          
               
          SUPPORT
          American River Parkway Foundation
          Audubon California
          California Association of Local Conservation Corps
          California Trout
          City of Sacramento 
          County of Sacramento
          Friends of the River
          Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
          Planning and Conservation League
          Regional Water Authority
          Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
          Sacramento Environmental Commission
          Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps
          Save the American River Association
          Sierra Club California








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          The River District Business Association
          Two individuals 

          OPPOSITION
          None Received


          
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