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AB-2693 Watershed Restoration Administration: Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/20/2020 09:00 PM
AB2693:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2693


Introduced by Assembly Member Bloom

February 20, 2020


An act to amend Section 71365 of, and to add Sections 71366, 71367, and 71368 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to watershed restoration.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2693, as introduced, Bloom. Watershed Restoration Administration: Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs.
Existing law authorizes the Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency to jointly develop and submit to the Legislature a specified plan for forest and watershed restoration investments in the drainages that supply the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs, as prescribed. Existing law authorizes those agencies to jointly develop and propose to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature a pilot project for the coordinated, multiagency permitting of specified watershed restoration activities. Existing law establishes the Headwaters Restoration Account in the General Fund and makes the moneys in the account available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for those forest and watershed restoration purposes.
This bill would establish the Watershed Restoration Administration to coordinate and facilitate the restoration and conservation of the watersheds supplying the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs and to provide grant funding from the Headwaters Restoration Account for those purposes. The bill would require the administration to consist of a 3-member decisionmaking body made up of the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection, or the director’s designee; the Director of Fish and Wildlife, or the director’s designee; and a representative appointed by the State Water Resources Control Board. The bill would create an advisory body within the administration to facilitate interagency coordination and advise on project selection, as provided.
The bill would require the administration, in selecting watershed restoration and conservation projects for grant funding from the Headwaters Restoration Account, to prioritize and plan restoration opportunities that simultaneously benefit watershed function, wildlife habitat, and climate resilience. The bill would require the administration, on or before January 1, 2023, to develop an implementation plan for the completion of the priority restoration and conservation projects within 15 years. The bill would require the administration to provide an annual report to the Legislature detailing progress toward the comprehensive restoration of the region.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) As climate change advances, those source watersheds that provide the majority of the state’s drinking and irrigated agricultural water are of particular importance to maintaining the reliability, quantity, timing, and quality of California’s environmental, drinking, and agricultural water supply.
(b) The area that drains to the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs is of statewide significance for water resources, carbon sequestration, fish and wildlife adaptation, and mitigating extreme weather and fire events.
(c) Multiple government agencies have expertise relevant to restoration and climate adaptation in this region. A new planning, prioritization, coordination, and implementation framework is necessary to maximize the speed and effectiveness of implementation.

SEC. 2.

 Section 71365 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

71365.
 (a) (1) To advance the goals of Item 0540-101-3228 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2018, the Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency may jointly develop and submit to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, a plan for forest and watershed restoration investments for the drainages that supply the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs.
(2) The spatially explicit plan authorized under paragraph (1) is intended to establish a comprehensive understanding of restoration needs and prioritize investment opportunities that will improve watershed function and resilience, water quality and supply reliability, forest carbon stores, wildlife habitat, and climate adaptation.
(b) Those agencies may jointly develop and propose to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature a pilot project for the coordinated, multiagency permitting of watershed restoration activities in the watersheds described in subdivision (a), as outlined in subdivision (c) of Section 108.5 of the Water Code.
(c) The Headwaters Restoration Account is hereby established in the General Fund. Funds may be deposited into the account and used, upon appropriation by the Legislature, by the Watershed Restoration Administration for the purposes of this section. part.

SEC. 3.

 Section 71366 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

71366.
 For purposes of this part, “administration” means the Watershed Restoration Administration established pursuant to Section 71367.

SEC. 4.

 Section 71367 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

71367.
 (a) (1) The Watershed Restoration Administration is hereby established to coordinate and facilitate the restoration and conservation of the watersheds supplying the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs as described in Section 108.5 of the Water Code.
(2) The administration shall administer the Headwaters Restoration Account established pursuant to Section 71365.
(b) The administration shall consist of a three-member decisionmaking body, which shall act by majority vote of its membership. The decisionmaking body shall include all of the following:
(1) The Director of Forestry and Fire Protection, or the director’s designee.
(2) The Director of Fish and Wildlife, or the director’s designee.
(3) A representative appointed by the State Water Resources Control Board.
(c) (1) The administration shall include an advisory body to facilitate interagency coordination and advise on project selection. The advisory body shall include a representative from all of the following:
(A) The United States Forest Service.
(B) The Bureau of Land Management in the United States Department of the Interior.
(C) A regional tribal entity.
(D) Regional local governments.
(E) The Sierra Nevada Conservancy, appointed by the board of the conservancy.
(F) The Wildlife Conservation Board, appointed by the board.
(G) The Department of Conservation, appointed by the Director of Conservation.
(H) The Department of Food and Agriculture, appointed by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
(I) Large commercial timberland owners.
(J) Ranching interests.
(K) Small family forest land owners.
(L) Farming interests.
(M) Forest, watershed, and meadow restoration industries.
(N) A nongovernmental organization with expertise in watershed restoration projects.
(O) A land trust with expertise in the conservation of working landscapes.
(2) The Governor shall appoint the representatives of the advisory body, except for the representatives of the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in the United States Department of the Interior, and as otherwise provided in paragraph (1).
(3) Participation in the advisory body shall not preclude an entity from being eligible for grant funding pursuant to Section 71368.

SEC. 5.

 Section 71368 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

71368.
 (a) The administration shall provide grant funding from the Headwaters Restoration Account to restoration and conservation projects for the watersheds of the Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity Reservoirs. In selecting watershed restoration and conservation projects, the administration shall do all of the following:
(1) (A) Use the best existing information to prioritize and plan restoration opportunities that simultaneously benefit watershed function, wildlife habitat, and climate resilience.
(B) Building on the plan described in Section 71365 and other relevant plans, on or before January 1, 2023, the administration shall develop an implementation plan for the completion of the priority restoration and conservation projects within 15 years. The implementation plan shall address all of the following:
(i) Outreach to and coordination with federal, private, and tribal landowners to establish their willingness and ability to proceed with a funded project, including permitting needs and status.
(ii) Sequencing project implementation to maximize practicality and efficiency.
(iii) Identifying workforce development needs, including potential collaborations with local institutions such as community colleges and relevant businesses.
(2) Ensure that activities pursuant to this section result in watershed improvements that will persist over time.
(3) Prioritize projects that include permanent conservation and dedication of land for watershed function, with management goals and land uses consistent with enhancing and maintaining watershed health, function, and climate resilience.
(b) (1) When allocating grant funding, the administration shall, to the extent feasible, distribute funds to existing programs, including the Forest Improvement Program established pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4790) of Part 2.5 of Division 4 and programs operated by the Wildlife Conservation Board, for projects identified by the administration, to leverage existing grant programs and staff.
(2) The administration may make grants directly to federal entities, including the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in the United States Department of the Interior, pursuant to a memorandum of understanding covering these activities.
(c) The administration shall provide an annual report to the Legislature detailing progress toward the comprehensive restoration of the region. This report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(d) The administration shall maintain an internet website detailing the key goals of the implementation plan, and provide information on the status of the implementation and completion of projects it undertakes, with watershed-specific maps identifying where actions are underway or completed. The administration shall update the internet website semiannually.