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AB-1296 San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.(2005-2006)

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AB1296:v92#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1296
CHAPTER 331

An act to add Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 66690) to Title 7.2 of the Government Code, and to amend Sections 31161, 31162, and 31163 of the Public Resources Code, relating to resource conservation.

[ Approved by Governor  September 22, 2005. Filed with Secretary of State  September 22, 2005. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1296, Hancock. San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.
Existing law establishes the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission over the waters of San Francisco Bay and Suisun Marsh. Existing law also establishes the State Coastal Conservancy with prescribed powers and responsibilities for implementing a program of agricultural land protection, area restoration, and resource enhancement within the coastal zone.
This bill would enact the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Act. The act would establish the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail to link access to the waters of the San Francisco Bay and Suisun Marsh that are available for navigation by human-powered boats and beachable sail craft, and provide for diverse water-accessible overnight accommodations. On or before January 1, 2008, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission would be required to prepare and submit to the Legislature the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan making recommendations, as specified, on the development of the water trail. The act would require the commission, in collaboration with the State Coastal Conservancy and the Association of Bay Area Governments, to establish and coordinate a collaborative partnership with other interested parties in the development of the plan.
The bill would designate the State Coastal Conservancy as the lead agency in the funding and development of projects to implement the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan, and would authorize the conservancy to undertake projects and award grants to advance the preparation or implementation of the plan. The bill would require the conservancy to help coordinate a collaborative partnership with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and other interested parties, to advance the preparation of the plan. Upon the completion of the plan, the bill would require the conservancy to consider the plan’s adoption and inclusion of appropriate elements of the plan in the conservancy’s strategic plan.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 66690) is added to Title 7.2 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER  7. San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail

66690.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited as, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Act.

66691.
 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) The public has an interest in the San Francisco Bay and the surrounding watershed lands as one of the most valuable natural resources of the state, a resource that gives special character to the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco Bay is the central feature in an interconnected open-space system of watersheds, natural habitats, waterways, scenic areas, agricultural lands, and regional trails.
(b) Water-oriented recreational uses of the San Francisco Bay, including kayaking, canoeing, sailboarding, sculling, rowing, car-top sailing, and the like, are of great benefit to the public welfare of the San Francisco Bay Area. With loss of public open space, the public increasingly looks to the bay, the region’s largest open space, for recreational opportunities. Water-oriented recreational uses are an integral element of the recreational opportunities that span the San Francisco Bay Area and add to the community vitality and quality of life that the citizens of the region enjoy.
(c) Water trails have been designated throughout the United States and have proven to be an important vehicle for promoting water-oriented recreation for citizens of all economic means. Water trails can inform the public about natural, cultural, and historic features and foster public stewardship of these resources. Water trails aid in urban renewal of industrial waterfronts. In combination with hiking, biking, and horse trails, water trails are an important element in the development of multiuse and multiday recreational opportunities that in turn have a positive regional economic benefit.
(d) Bay Access, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, has identified a series of existing and potential access points to the San Francisco Bay that encircle the bay. The designation of a water trail linking these existing and any future access sites that is designed and implemented consistent with this chapter, would advance the regional goals and state mandate of the commission to foster public access and recreational use of the bay.
(e) San Francisco Bay is an aquatic habitat of international importance. It provides critical habitat for 70 percent of the shore birds and 50 percent of the diving ducks on the Pacific Flyway, as well as for many other waterbird species. It also provides habitat for marine mammals, other aquatic species, and colonial nesting birds, including many federal‑ and state‑listed endangered or threatened species, such as the endangered California clapper rail.
(f) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, established pursuant to this chapter, shall be implemented consistent with the goals of improving access to, within, and around the bay, coast, ridgetops, and urban open spaces while respecting the rights of private property owners, considering navigation safety and homeland security concerns in establishing the access points around the bay and the siting of overnight accommodations, minimizing the adverse impacts on agricultural operations, and protecting endangered and threatened species, and species of special concern.
(g) It is not the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this chapter, to modify any provision of this title except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter.

66692.
 (a) For the purposes of this chapter, the area referred to as the San Francisco Bay Area includes the nine Bay Area counties and navigable waters and tributaries under tidal influence that are part of or feed into San Francisco Bay.
(b) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail primary project area shall be the area within the commission’s jurisdiction as defined in Section 66610 of this code, and the area described in Section 29101 of the Public Resources Code.

66693.
 (a) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail is hereby established.
(b) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail shall be developed in a timely manner.
(c) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, to the extent feasible, shall link access to the waters of the San Francisco Bay that are available for navigation by human-powered boats and beachable sail craft, and shall provide for diverse water-accessible overnight accommodations, including camping.
(d) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail shall be developed in a manner consistent with the right to access navigable waters of the state contained in Section 4 of Article X of the California Constitution.
(e) The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail shall be developed in a manner consistent with all federal laws and regulations pertaining to navigation safety and homeland security.

66694.
 (a) The commission shall conduct a public process to develop a San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan for the San Francisco Bay Area. The plan shall make recommendations on all of the following:
(1) Policies, criteria, and guidelines for the appropriate location, design, operation, and maintenance of access to the bay.
(2) Locations where the water trail can coordinate with landside trails and other recreational facilities to accommodate opportunities for multiday, overnight travel.
(3) Organizational structure and procedures for the management and operation of the water trail and the education of end users in ways that will advance navigational safety, protect wildlife, and foster stewardship of natural resources.
(4) Identification of sensitive wildlife areas where access should be managed or prohibited.
(5) Identification of areas where access should be limited or prohibited due to considerations related to navigation safety and homeland security.
(b) In developing the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, the commission, in collaboration with the State Coastal Conservancy and the Association of Bay Area Governments, shall establish and coordinate a collaborative partnership with other interested persons, organizations, and agencies, including, but not limited to, interested state, county, and district departments and commissions, parks and park districts, ports, regional governmental bodies, nonprofit groups, user groups, and businesses.
(c) On or before January 1, 2008, the commission shall submit the plan to the Legislature.

SEC. 2.

 Section 31161 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

31161.
 The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the nine counties that bound San Francisco Bay constitute a region with unique natural resource and outdoor recreational needs. San Francisco Bay is the central feature in an interconnected open-space system of watersheds, natural habitats, waterways, scenic areas, agricultural lands, and regional trails.

SEC. 3.

 Section 31162 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

31162.
 The conservancy may undertake projects and award grants in the nine‑county San Francisco Bay Area that will help achieve the following goals of the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program:
(a) To improve public access to, within, and around the bay, coast, ridgetops, and urban open spaces, consistent with the rights of private property owners, and without having a significant adverse impact on agricultural operations and environmentally sensitive areas and wildlife, including wetlands and other wildlife habitats through completion and operation of regional bay, coast, water, and ridge trail systems, and local trails connecting to population centers and public facilities, which are part of a regional trail system and are consistent with locally and regionally adopted master plans and general plans, and through the provision and preservation of related facilities, such as interpretive centers, picnic areas, staging areas, and campgrounds.
(b) To protect, restore, and enhance natural habitats and connecting corridors, watersheds, scenic areas, and other open-space resources of regional importance.
(c) To assist in the implementation of the policies and programs of the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000)), the San Francisco Bay Plan, and the adopted plans of local governments and special districts.
(d) To promote, assist, and enhance projects that provide open space and natural areas that are accessible to urban populations for recreational and educational purposes.

SEC. 4.

 Section 31163 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

31163.
 (a) The conservancy shall cooperate with cities, counties, and districts, the bay commission, other regional governmental bodies, nonprofit land trusts, nonprofit landowner organizations, and other interested parties in identifying and adopting long-term resource and outdoor recreational goals for the San Francisco Bay Area, which shall guide the ongoing activities of the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program. The conservancy shall utilize the list of priority areas and concerns established by the bay commission pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 31056 as guidance in the selection of those San Francisco area projects that are within the jurisdiction of the bay commission. However, the guidance provided by the bay commission is advisory and the conservancy shall have the responsibility for making program decisions. Any acquisition of real property using funds authorized pursuant to this chapter shall be from willing sellers if the land is actively farmed or ranched. Any acquisition of real property by the conservancy pursuant to this chapter shall be from willing sellers.
(b) The conservancy shall participate in and support interagency actions and public/private partnerships in the San Francisco Bay Area for the purpose of implementing subdivision (a), and providing for broad-based local involvement in, and support for, the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program.
(c) The conservancy shall utilize the criteria specified in this subdivision to develop project priorities for the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program that provide for development and acquisition projects, urban and rural projects, and open space and outdoor recreational projects. The conservancy shall give priority to projects that, to the greatest extent, meet the following criteria:
(1) Are supported by adopted local or regional plans.
(2) Are multijurisdictional or serve a regional constituency.
(3) Can be implemented in a timely way.
(4) Provide opportunities for benefits that could be lost if the project is not quickly implemented.
(5) Include matching funds from other sources of funding or assistance.
(d) (1) The conservancy shall be the lead agency in the funding and development of projects implementing the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan prepared pursuant to Section 66694 of the Government Code.
(2) During the period when the plan is being prepared and after the completion of the plan, the conservancy may undertake projects and award grants that are generally consistent with and advance the preparation of the plan or achieve the implementation of the plan.
(3) To advance the preparation of the plan, the conservancy shall help coordinate a collaborative partnership with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and other interested persons, organizations and agencies, including, but not limited to, interested state, county, and district departments and commissions, parks and park districts, ports, regional governmental bodies, nonprofit groups, user groups, and businesses.
(4) In developing the plan and undertaking projects to implement the plan, areas for which access is to be managed or prohibited shall be determined in consultation with resource protection agencies, the United States Coast Guard, the Water Transit Authority, the State Lands Commission, local law enforcement agencies, and through the environmental review process required by the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000)).
(5) Upon the completion of the plan, the conservancy shall consider the plan’s adoption and inclusion of the appropriate elements of the plan in the conservancy’s strategic plan.
(6) The conservancy shall not award a grant or undertake a project for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail that would have a significant adverse impact on a sensitive wildlife area or is in conflict with the goals of subdivision (a) of Section 31162.