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AB-1514 Natural community conservation planning agreements.(2013-2014)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1514


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez

January 15, 2014


An act to amend Section 2810 of the Fish and Game Code, relating to natural community conservation planning.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1514, as introduced, Gonzalez. Natural community conservation planning agreements.
The Natural Community Conservation Planning Act authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enter into a specified agreement with any person or public entity for the purpose of preparing a natural community conservation plan, in cooperation with a local agency that has land use permit authority over the activities proposed to be addressed in the plan, to provide comprehensive management and conservation of multiple wildlife species, including, but not limited to, those species listed as endangered or threatened. The act authorizes any person, or any local, state, or federal agency, independently, or in cooperation with other persons, to undertake natural community conservation planning.
The bill would also require an agreement to implement a natural community conservation plan to identify all lands within the planning area that are classified by the State Geologist as containing mineral deposits of regional or statewide significance. The bill would require the agreement, if classified mineral resources are found to exist on lands within the planning area, to include participation by the State Geologist, as specified. The bill would require the State Geologist to evaluate, among other plan principles, and, if feasible, to recommend, exclusion from the planning area of lands containing identified mineral resources or, when reclamation practices are proposed that would render the reclaimed lands suitable for future inclusion within the planning area, temporary exclusion until the mineral resources are developed.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 2810 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2810.
 (a) The department may enter into an agreement with any person or public entity for the purpose of preparing a natural community conservation plan, in cooperation with a local agency that has land use permit authority over the activities proposed to be addressed in the plan, to provide comprehensive management and conservation of multiple wildlife species, including, but not limited to, those species listed pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 2070) of Chapter 1.5. The agreement shall include a provision specifying the amount of compensation, if any, payable to the department pursuant to Section 2829.
(b) The agreement shall meet all of the following conditions:
(1) The agreement shall be binding upon the department, other participating federal, state, and local agencies, and participating private landowners.
(2) The agreement shall define the geographic scope of the conservation planning area.
(3) The agreement shall identify a preliminary list of those natural communities, and the endangered, threatened, candidate, or other species known, or reasonably expected to be found, in those communities, that are intended to be the initial focus of the plan.
(4) The agreement shall identify preliminary conservation objectives for the planning area.
(5) The agreement shall establish a process for the inclusion of independent scientific input to assist the department and plan participants, and to do all of the following:
(A) Recommend scientifically sound conservation strategies for species and natural communities proposed to be covered by the plan.
(B) Recommend a set of reserve design principles that addresses the needs of species, landscapes, ecosystems, and ecological processes in the planning area proposed to be addressed by the plan.
(C) Recommend management principles and conservation goals that can be used in developing a framework for the monitoring and adaptive management component of the plan.
(D) Identify data gaps and uncertainties so that risk factors can be evaluated.
(6) The agreement shall require coordination with federal wildlife agencies with respect to the federal Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.).
(7) The agreement shall encourage concurrent planning for wetlands and waters of the United States.
(8) The agreement shall establish an interim process during plan development for project review wherein discretionary projects within the plan area subject to Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code that potentially conflict with the preliminary conservation objectives in the planning agreement are reviewed by the department prior to, or as soon as possible after the project application is deemed complete pursuant to Section 65943 of the Government Code and the department recommends mitigation measures or project alternatives that would help achieve the preliminary conservation objectives. As part of this process, information developed pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 2810 shall be taken into consideration by the department and plan participants. Any take of candidate, threatened, or endangered species that occurs during this interim period shall be included in the analysis of take to be authorized under an approved plan. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to authorize take of candidate, protected, or endangered species.
(9) The agreement shall establish a process for public participation throughout the plan development and review pursuant to Section 2815.
(10) (A) The agreement shall, pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 2801, identify all lands within the planning area that are classified by the State Geologist as containing mineral deposits of regional or statewide significance within the meaning of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 2761 of the Public Resources Code.
(B) (i) If classified mineral resources exist on lands within the planning area, the agreement shall include participation by the State Geologist, who shall be responsible for recommending plan principles that promote the conservation and development of the identified mineral resources for the benefit of the region or the state while minimizing impacts to wildlife.
(ii) The State Geologist shall evaluate, among other plan principles, and, if feasible, recommend, exclusion from the planning area of lands containing identified mineral resources or, when reclamation practices are proposed that would render the reclaimed lands suitable for future inclusion within the planning area, temporary exclusion until the mineral resources are developed.
(c) The approval of the planning agreement is not a project pursuant to Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code.
(d) Prior to department approval of the planning agreement, the public shall have 21 calendar days to review and comment on the proposed planning agreement.