Code Section

Water Code - WAT

DIVISION 4. WELLS, PUMPING PLANTS, CONDUITS AND STREAMS [7000 - 7075]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 368. )
  

CHAPTER 4.5. Stream Courses [7047 - 7049]
  ( Chapter 4.5 added by Stats. 1951, Ch. 722. )

  
7048.  

(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the protection, restoration, and enhancement of urban creek channels provide potential benefits to the state by combining an effective and efficient means of flood damage reduction with the preservation and enhancement of natural environmental values. The Legislature further finds that urban creek protection, restoration, and enhancement are best undertaken by local agencies and organizations with assistance from the state. It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this section, to restore the ecological viability of creek environments located in predominantly urban areas, thereby enhancing aesthetic, recreational, and fish and wildlife values.

(b) (1) The director may establish a program of flood damage reduction and urban creek restoration known as the Urban Streams Restoration Program. The program shall consist of both of the following components:

(A) The development of the capability by the department to respond to requests from local agencies and organizations for planning and design assistance for efficient and effective urban creek protection, restoration, and enhancement.

(B) To the extent that funds are provided, a process for awarding competitive grants.

(2) For purposes of this section, urban creek protection, restoration, and enhancement include, but are not limited to, the maintenance of channel capacity, channel stabilization, vegetation management, the reduction of water quality impairments and nonpoint source water pollution, the establishment of parkways for public use that benefit flood control and water quality, and adaptive management to meet program objectives. Where appropriate, the protection, restoration, and enhancement shall utilize efficient, nonstructural low-maintenance flood protection techniques. The department shall utilize in this program its expertise in a variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, soil bioengineering, hydrology, and plant ecology.

(3) (A) The department shall maintain a balance in allocating the money annually available for grants to small urban creek restoration projects and large urban stream restoration projects, allocating not less than 35 percent to both small and large projects. For purposes of this section, “small urban creek restoration projects” are projects for which total costs, including acquisition and restoration costs, are below one million dollars ($1,000,000) and “large urban stream restoration projects” are projects for which total costs, including acquisition and restoration costs, are one million dollars ($1,000,000) or more.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), if an insufficient number of qualified projects are available to fully meet the allocation requirement, the department may grant funds to any project that is otherwise qualified, in order to ensure that all available funds are used efficiently.

(c) In responding to requests for assistance, the department shall give priority to those projects that are being planned in conjunction with, or in lieu of, local flood control projects. The department may award grants and contracts to local agencies and organizations as provided for in the budget of the department. Participating local agencies and organizations shall follow procedures, plans, and practices that are acceptable to the department, and shall conform to guidelines established by the department that define the level of contribution and participation required by local agencies and organizations.

The department shall coordinate the program with the Department of Fish and Wildlife during the formulation of guidelines and project planning for urban creek protection, restoration, and enhancement. The department shall also consult with the Department of Fish and Wildlife on project criteria which may include economic, environmental, and social benefits to be achieved.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that the duties and responsibilities of the department be identified as the Urban Streams Restoration Program and be carried out by an office or staff designated for this purpose. Information on how to obtain planning, design, and financial assistance should be readily accessible to the public.

(e) As used in this section, “urban creek” means a creek, stream, or river that crosses built-up residential, commercial, or industrial property, or that crosses land where, in the near future, the land use will be residential, commercial, or industrial.

(f) For the purposes of this section, eligible activities include, but are not limited to, the maintenance of channel capacity and stabilization of the morphological equilibrium of a natural channel for purposes of flood damage reduction, erosion control, and bank stabilization which may include nonstructural as well as structural projects.

(g) The department may adopt regulations that define “adaptive management” for the purposes of the Urban Streams Restoration Program, and establish criteria to fund projects that include adaptive management activities.

(h) The department may amend or utilize existing regulations for approving competitive grants. The regulations may include, but are not limited to, an application process, grant approval criteria, and grantee’s reporting requirements. The department shall annually make available to the public, in a form that is readily accessible, information regarding the status of funds appropriated for these purposes and projects that received grants.

(i) In order to address the unique ecological, flood control, water quality, and hydrological conditions associated with urban creeks and watersheds on the California-Mexico border, the department shall consult with the California-Mexico Border Relations Council to establish criteria to fund projects that improve conditions for cross-border urban creeks.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 668, Sec. 9. (AB 965) Effective January 1, 2016.)