BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1716 (McCarty) - Lower American River Conservancy Program
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          |Version: August 2, 2016         |Policy Vote: N.R. & W. 6 - 2    |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: August 8, 2016    |Consultant: Narisha Bonakdar    |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  AB 1716 establishes the American River Conservancy Program  
          (Program) within the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). 

           Approximately $300,000 (special fund) to the Wildlife  
            Conservation Board (WCB).
           Significant costs pressures (various special funds) to fund  
            programs and projects in the program area within existing  

          California has 10 conservancies which provide various services  
          within their regions, including public recreation, habitat  
          protection, open space acquisition, and projects to restore and  
          enhance natural areas and public facilities. They range in size  


          AB 1716 (McCarty)                                      Page 1 of  
          from the largest conservancies (Coastal and Sierra Nevada) to  
          the smallest (Baldwin Hills, San Diego River, and San Joaquin  
          River), and often are funded through specific allocations in  
          state bond acts. 
          Some are urban (four in the Los Angeles area), some very rural  
          (Tahoe and Sierra Nevada), and most work within a specified  
          geographic area, and one, the Coastal Conservancy, has a  
          jurisdiction that includes the entire coast and the inland  
          watersheds that drain into the ocean. 

          The ten conservancies include Baldwin Hills, Tahoe, Coachella  
          Valley Mountains, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, San Diego River,  
          San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains, San  
          Joaquin River, Santa Monica Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and  

          At one point, successive administrations insisted that the  
          boards of the conservancies contain a majority of appointees who  
          were either directly appointed by the Governor or who served on  
          a conservancy board because of their appointment to another  
          position, such as the Director of Finance or the Secretary for  
          Natural Resources, both of whom serve on many conservancy  
          boards. That remains the status for most conservancies although  
          both the Sierra Nevada and Delta conservancies have a narrow  
          majority of local government representatives. 

          Although not a conservancy, the WCB fulfills a statewide land  
          acquisition function that has proven useful in areas not served  
          by a conservancy. In areas served by a conservancy, the WCB may  
          partner in funding various projects and leveraging other  

          Also, both the San Francisco Bay region and the Santa Ana River  
          are distinct statutory programs within the State Coastal  
          Conservancy. Through that structure, those regions are covered  
          by the WCB, are eligible for specific line-item appropriations  
          in the budget or bond measures, and have achieved some  
          cost-savings with smaller administrative or additional personnel  
          costs than would normally occur with an entirely new  


          AB 1716 (McCarty)                                      Page 2 of  

          Proposed Law:  
            This bill: 
          1)Establishes the Program within the WCB. 

          2)Creates an advisory board and requires the following:

               a.     The board must consists of three supervisors from  
                 the County of Sacramento, two representatives of the City  
                 of Sacramento, the mayor or a councilmember from the City  
                 of Rancho Cordova, the Secretary of the Natural Resources  
                 Agency, the Director of Finance, the Director of Parks  
                 and Recreation, the Executive Officer of the State Lands  
                 Commission, and three public members.
               b.     The advisory committee must meet at least twice a  
                 year, and its meetings are subject to the Bagley-Keen  
                 Open Meeting Act. 

          3)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. 

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

          5)Requires the WCB, prior to providing funding for any  
            acquisition project, to ensure that the title will be held by  
            Sacramento County.

          6)Specifies that 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, interpretative and  
            educational facilities related to the Parkway, and the control  
            of invasive species, and the propagation of native species,  
            stormwater capture and treatment grants. 

          7)Prohibits the WCB from:


          AB 1716 (McCarty)                                      Page 3 of  
               a.     Funding projects on land without 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.
               b.     Levying of any tax or special assessment, or provide  
                 any grants or take other actions inconsistent with the  
                 above-referenced statutes. 
               c.     Owning or acquiring land. 

          8)Requires the WCB, to the extent feasible, to use the  
            California Conservation Corps or a community conservation  
            corps for projects. 

          9)Establishes the Lower American River Conservancy Program Fund.  


          SB 1396 (Wolk, 2016) establishes the Inner Coast Range Program  
          with specified goal areas and authorization related to the Inner  
          Coast Range Region, as defined. This bill was set for hearing in  
          Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and was held by  
          the author.

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

          SB 1048 (Sher) Chapter 896, Statutes of 1997 created the San  
          Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program within the Coastal  

          Purpose of the bill. 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 City of  
          Sacramento points out that as a program of the WCB, the American  
          River would be eligible for additional funding. It states that  


          AB 1716 (McCarty)                                      Page 4 of  
          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  

          Staff notes that by creating an additional program within the  
          WCB, this bill puts costs pressures on the WCB's existing and  
          future funds, which are largely from bonds. However, this cost  
          pressure is somewhat mitigated because some priority projects of  
          this program are likely to be priorities of the WCB under their  
          existing mission even if this program was not created. 

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