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SB-667 Department of Water Resources: riverine and riparian stewardship improvements.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/20/2017 09:00 PM
SB667:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 20, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 667


Introduced by Senator Atkins

February 17, 2017


An act to add Section 7049 to the Water Code, relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 667, as amended, Atkins. Department of Water Resources: riverine and riparian stewardship improvements.
Existing law authorizes the Director of Water Resources to establish a program of flood control and urban creek restoration, known as the Urban Streams Restoration Program, consisting of the development of the capability by the Department of Water Resources to respond to requests from local agencies and organizations for planning and design assistance for efficient and effective urban creek protection, restoration, and enhancement.
This bill, upon an appropriation of funds from the Legislature, would require the department to establish a program to implement watershed-based riverine and riparian stewardship improvements by providing technical and financial assistance in support of projects with certain benefits. The bill would require the program to support the purposes of and be coordinated with the Urban Stream Restoration Program, fish passage improvements, and other similar programs. The bill would authorize the department to provide technical assistance, including by collaborating with other state agencies, appropriate California State University or University of California programs, or other similar programs, as specified. The bill would authorize grant funds available for the purposes of the Urban Streams Restoration Program or this program to be available for use by the recipient for design, engineering, and other technical assistance for the purposes of the program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 7049 is added to the Water Code, to read:

7049.
 (a) Upon an appropriation of funds from the Legislature, the department shall establish a program to implement watershed-based riverine and riparian stewardship improvements by providing technical and financial assistance in support of projects that reduce flood risk, restore and enhance fish populations and habitat, improve water quality, achieve climate change benefits, and in general ensure resilient ecological function within areas that include, but are not limited to, urban or urbanizing areas of the state.
(b) The program shall support the purposes of and be coordinated with the Urban Stream Restoration Program established pursuant to Section 7048, fish passage improvements, and other similar programs to accomplish increased ecological, stream management, climate, and community improvement benefits from state and other funds available for riverine stewardship projects. The department may participate in and support local partnerships, including, but not limited to, in disadvantaged communities, to ensure projects incorporate the best-available science, assessment data, and ecologically relevant practices, and address state and local community needs and priorities.
(c) The program shall include all of the following elements:
(1) Support for partnerships with local agencies, nonprofit organizations, resource conservation districts, and community groups to identify multibenefit opportunities, local needs, and watershed restoration or enhancement objectives. Partnerships shall include local community nonprofit organizations and other state agencies as appropriate and to the degree those agencies and organizations are able to participate.
(2) Early engagement by the department in the conceptualization and design process and continued involvement through department. Engagement in conceptualizing and defining the project shall be prioritized over the design, construction, operation, and evaluation and operation of a completed project.
(3) Assistance in planning the natural resource restoration, landscaping, and infrastructure elements of a project consistent with appropriate local and regional land use and resource recovery plans.
(4) Design assistance to ensure a project will protect or enhance natural river and stream process and function using the best bioengineering and ecological practices while considering low-impact development, energy and water conservation, and community access and use for local recreation, trails, and other purposes.
(5) Evaluation and assessment processes to monitor success in meeting riverine stewardship goals and community needs.
(6) Assistance, as appropriate, with project administration, including, but not limited to, communication among partnership groups, enhancing the capacity of communities to effectively participate, and looking for and managing various funds obtained for the project.
(7) Plans or schedules delineating the work to be completed by the department and each partner.
(d) The department may provide technical assistance for the purposes of this section either directly or otherwise, including, but not limited to, by collaborating with other state agencies, appropriate California State University or University of California programs programs, or other similar programs, providing educational development and field experience for students. students in watershed sciences.
(e) Grant funds available for the purposes of Section 7048 or this section may be available for use by the recipient for design, engineering, and other technical assistance for the purposes of the program.