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SB-714 State Coastal Conservancy: West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 09/12/2017 08:04 PM
SB714:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  September 12, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  September 08, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  June 19, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  May 08, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 714


Introduced by Senator Newman
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Quirk-Silva)

February 17, 2017


An act to add and repeal Chapter 4.7 (commencing with Section 31190) of Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, relating to natural resources conservancy, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 714, as amended, Newman. State Coastal Conservancy: West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program.
(1) Existing law establishes the State Coastal Conservancy and prescribes the membership and functions and duties of the conservancy with regard to the protection, preservation, restoration, and enhancement of specified coastal lands. Existing law establishes the Coastal Trust Fund to receive and disburse funds paid to the conservancy in trust for specified coastal purposes, and establishes separate accounts in the fund for the purpose of separating deposits into the fund according to their origin. Existing law also establishes the Wildlife Conservation Board and requires the board to take various actions with regard to the preservation of public lands to protect wildlife and habitat in the state.
This bill would, until January 1, 2028, establish the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program, to be administered by the conservancy and to undertake projects and award grants in the West Coyote Hills area, as described, for purposes relating to improvement of public access, and the protection, restoration, and enhancement of natural resources in the area. The bill would prescribe the duties of the conservancy with regard to the implementation and administration of the program. The bill would create the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program Account within the fund, for the purpose of depositing and disbursing funds, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for program purposes. The bill would require that the $15,000,000 appropriated in the Budget Act of 2017 for the purposes of this bill be deposited in the account to be used for the purchase of specified property and related projects. The bill would make findings and declarations regarding funding under the bill for the board to open up, operate, and maintain the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve, and would state the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to specify the particular uses of the appropriated funds.
(2) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to specify the particular uses of the funds appropriated in the Budget Act of 2017 for the purposes of this act.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) This act will help save the largest remaining open space in the highly urbanized region of the Counties of Los Angeles and Orange to be enjoyed by over one million people as a natural preserve.
(b) West Coyote Hills covers 510 acres of privately owned land located west of Euclid Street at the northern edge of Fullerton. This land was historically used by Chevron for oil drilling and extraction and is adjacent to the 72-acre Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve, which is owned by the City of Fullerton.
(c) The Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve was purchased by the City of Fullerton in 1983 and named for a previous Fullerton mayor who worked to keep a part of the 510 acres of West Coyote Hills.
(d) The Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve is home to the following species: coyote brush, southern willow scrub, coast prickly pear, California sagebrush, purple phacelia, yellow sun cups, and orange monkeyflowers, and the California gnatcatcher, coastal cactus wren, Towhees, and California quail. The hills are a stopover on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds, and a wintering ground for hawks and harriers.
(e) It has been 34 years since the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve was purchased by the City of Fullerton in 1983, yet it remains closed to the public due to lack of funds.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide $250,000 in initial funds for the Wildlife Conservation Board to open up, operate, and maintain the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve for the public, provided the Wildlife Conservation Board and the City of Fullerton enter into an agreement for these purposes.

SEC. 3.

 Chapter 4.7 (commencing with Section 31190) is added to Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  4.7. West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program

31190.
 The West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program is hereby established, to be administered by the conservancy, to address the natural resource and recreational goals of the West Coyote Hills area in a coordinated, comprehensive, and effective way.

31191.
 The Legislature hereby finds and declares both of the following:
(a) The local governments and regions that bound the West Coyote Hills in Orange County constitute a region with unique natural resource and outdoor recreational needs.
(b) The West Coyote Hills are a central feature in an interconnected open-space system of southern California watersheds, natural habitats, scenic areas, agricultural lands, and regional trails.

31192.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Program” means the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program.
(b) “West Coyote Hills area” means the area surrounding the West Coyote Hills that is bounded by the Cities of La Habra, Buena Park, La Mirada, and Fullerton in the County of Orange.

31193.
 The conservancy may undertake projects and award grants in the West Coyote Hills area for the purpose of meeting the following objectives:
(a) To improve public access to, within, and around hills, 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.
(b) To protect, restore, and enhance natural habitats and connecting corridors, watersheds, scenic areas, and other open-space resources of regional importance.
(c) To promote, assist, and enhance projects that provide open space and natural areas that are accessible to urban populations for recreational and educational purposes.

31194.
 (a) The conservancy shall utilize the criteria specified in this subdivision to develop the program to 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 extent feasible, 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) Include matching funds from other sources of funding or assistance.
(b) (1) The conservancy shall be the lead agency with respect to the funding and development of projects within the program.
(2) The conservancy shall prepare a plan for purposes of this chapter, undertake projects, and award grants that are consistent with its plan adopted covering the West Coyote Hills area.
(3) To advance the preparation of the plan, the conservancy shall collaborate with members of the public, local and regional public agencies, nonprofit land management organizations, and other interested parties.
(4) In developing and undertaking projects to implement the plan, the conservancy shall consult with the public and with relevant federal, state, and local agencies, and comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000)), where applicable.
(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 any plan adopted by the conservancy covering the West Coyote Hills area.

31195.
 (a) The West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program Account is hereby created in the Coastal Trust Fund, established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 31012, for the purpose of depositing and disbursing funds, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the administration and implementation of the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program. All funds that are appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of this chapter, and all reimbursements, proceeds of sale, or other moneys received by the conservancy for the purposes of this chapter and derived from projects funded from this account shall be deposited in this account. Interest on funds in this account shall accrue to the General Fund. The conservancy shall account for all deposits and reimbursements of funds in this account.
(b) Funds that are derived from other sources, exclusive of state or federal funds, for the purposes of this chapter, including, but not limited to, private donations, fees, penalties, and local government contributions, shall be deposited in the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program Account, which is hereby established in the Coastal Trust Fund, and shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the administration and implementation of the program.

31196.
 In order to benefit the West Coyote Hills area, the conservancy may undertake projects and award grants for activities that are compatible with the preservation, restoration, or enhancement of natural resources, or that facilitate environmental education related to these resources. These projects or activities may include, but are not limited to, exhibits or events emphasizing natural resource and wildlife education, local history, or the development of amenities and infrastructure consistent with this chapter.

31197.
 The conservancy shall, by December 31, 2026, arrange for the transition and transfer of its responsibilities for the development and implementation of projects within the program to local and regional public agencies and nonprofit land management organizations.

31198.
 The fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) appropriated in the Budget Act of 2017 for the purposes of the act that added this chapter shall be deposited in the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program Account in the Coastal Trust Fund to be used for all of the following purposes:
(a) The purchase by the conservancy of the 510-acre of acreage within the West Coyote Hills project site, area, which is located in the northwest area of the City of Fullerton adjacent to the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve that encompasses 72.3 acres west of Euclid Street, and is generally bounded on the north by the City of La Habra, on the east by Euclid Street, on the west by the City of La Mirada, and on the south by Rosecrans Avenue and residential development, and through which Gilbert Street extends in a northerly direction through the east-central portion of the project site.
(b) Projects undertaken, and grants awarded, in the West Coyote Hills area by the conservancy for the purpose of meeting the following objectives:
(1) To improve public access to, within, and around hills, 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.
(2) To protect, restore, and enhance natural habitats and connecting corridors, watersheds, scenic areas, and other open-space resources of regional importance.
(3) To promote, assist, and enhance projects that provide open space and natural areas that are accessible to urban populations for recreational and educational purposes.
(c) Ten percent of the fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) appropriated in the Budget Act of 2017 for the funding of projects established pursuant to the act that added this chapter and 10 percent of all future amounts appropriated for the same purpose shall be used by the conservancy for the creation of the West Coyote Hills Conservation Program Endowment. The endowment funds shall be invested in an appropriate investment instrument for purposes consistent with subdivision (b).
(d) Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) shall be allocated to the Wildlife Conservation Board to open up, operate, and maintain the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve, provided that the Wildlife Conservation Board and the City of Fullerton enter into an agreement for these purposes on or before April 1, 2018.

31199.
 This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2028, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2028, deletes or extends that date.

SEC. 4.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order that statutory changes necessary to authorize the State Coastal Conservancy to establish and implement the West Coyote Hills Conservancy Program are enacted at the earliest possible time, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.