Code Section Group

Streets and Highways Code - SHC

DIVISION 1. STATE HIGHWAYS [50 - 897]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 29. )

CHAPTER 4. Cooperation By and With the State [760 - 834]

  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 29. )

ARTICLE 2.5. Advance Mitigation Program [800 - 800.9]
  ( Article 2.5 added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 5, Sec. 35. )

800.
  

(a) The Advance Mitigation Program is hereby created in the department to enhance communications between the department and stakeholders to protect natural resources through project mitigation, to meet or exceed applicable environmental requirements, to accelerate project delivery, and to mitigate, to the maximum extent required by law, environmental impacts from transportation infrastructure projects. The department shall consult on all activities pursuant to this article with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, including activities pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1850) of Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code.

(b) Commencing with the 2017–18 fiscal year, and for a period of four years, the department shall set aside no less than thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) annually for the Advance Mitigation Program from the annual appropriations for the State Highway Operation and Protection Program and the State Transportation Improvement Program for the planning and implementation of projects in the Advance Mitigation Program. Mitigation credits or values generated or obtained with these funds may be used only for transportation improvements in the State Transportation Improvement Program or the State Highway Operation and Protection Program, and may be transferred to another agency, but only upon full reimbursement of the department pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 800.6.

(c) Upon the order of the Director of Finance, the Controller shall transfer the amount identified for the Advance Mitigation Program in subdivision (b), as determined by the department and the Department of Finance, to the Advance Mitigation Account in the State Transportation Fund.

(d) The annual Budget Act and subsequent legislation may establish additional provisions and requirements for the program.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 10. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

800.5.
  

For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:

(a) “Acquire” and “acquisition” mean, with respect to land or a waterway, acquisition of fee title or purchase of a conservation easement that protects conservation and mitigation values on the land or waterway in perpetuity.

(b) “Administrative draft natural community conservation plan” means a substantially complete draft of a natural community conservation plan that is released after January 1, 2016, to the general public, plan participants, and the department.

(c) “Advance mitigation” means mitigation implemented before, and in anticipation of, environmental effects of planned transportation improvements.

(d) “Commission” means the California Transportation Commission.

(e) “Conservation easement” means a perpetual conservation easement that complies with Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 815) of Title 2 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Civil Code.

(f) “Department” means the Department of Transportation.

(g) “Mitigation credit agreement” means a mitigation credit agreement pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1850) of Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code.

(h) “Natural Communities Conservation Plan” means a plan developed pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2800) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code.

(i) “Planned transportation improvement” means a transportation project that a transportation agency has identified in a regional transportation plan, an interregional transportation plan, a capital improvement program, or other approved transportation planning document, excluding any project that is associated with or interacting with the high-speed rail program. A planned transportation improvement may include, but is not limited to, a transportation project that has been planned, programmed, proposed for approval, or that has been approved.

(j) “Program” means the Advance Mitigation Program implemented pursuant to this article.

(k) “Regional conservation investment strategy” means a regional conservation investment strategy approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1850) of Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code.

(l) “Regulatory agency” means a state or federal natural resource protection agency with regulatory authority over planned transportation improvements. A regulatory agency includes, but is not limited to, the Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, California regional water quality control boards, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

(m) “Transportation agency” means the department, a metropolitan planning organization, a regional transportation planning agency, or another public agency that implements transportation improvements.

(n) “Transportation improvement” means a transportation capital improvement project.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 11. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

800.6.
  

(a) The funds in the Advance Mitigation Account created in Section 800.7 shall be used only to do the following:

(1) Purchase, or fund the purchase of, credits from mitigation banks, conservation banks, or in-lieu fee programs approved by one or more regulatory agencies. The department may also establish mitigation banks, conservation banks, or in-lieu fee programs, or fund the establishment of mitigation banks, conservation banks, or in-lieu fee programs, in accordance with applicable state and federal standards, if the department determines that those banks or in-lieu fee programs would provide appropriate mitigation of the anticipated potential impacts of planned transportation improvements identified pursuant to Section 800.8.

(2) Pay, or fund the payment of, mitigation fees or other costs or payments associated with coverage for the department’s or other transportation agency’s projects under natural community conservation plans approved pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2800) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code, or habitat conservation plans approved in accordance with the federal Endangered Species Act. The department shall, upon commencement of a regional conservation investment strategy pursuant to paragraph (3), provide written notification thereof to the executive administrative officer of any administrative draft natural community conservation plan, approved natural community conservation plan, or approved regional federal habitat conservation plan that overlaps the proposed area of the regional conservation investment strategy.

(3) Prepare, or fund the preparation of, regional conservation assessments and regional conservation investment strategies. Where a regional conservation investment strategy has been approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the department may do either of the following:

(A) Enter into, or fund the preparation of, mitigation credit agreements with the Department of Fish and Wildlife; purchase credits from an established mitigation credit agreement; or implement, or fund the implementation of, conservation actions and habitat enhancement actions as needed to generate mitigation credits pursuant to those mitigation credit agreements.

(B) Acquire, restore, manage, monitor, enhance, and preserve lands, waterways, aquatic resources, or fisheries, or fund the acquisition, restoration, management, monitoring, enhancement, and preservation of lands, waterways, aquatic resources, or fisheries that would measurably advance a conservation objective in the regional conservation investment strategy if the department concludes that the action or actions could conserve or create environmental values that are appropriate to mitigate the anticipated potential impacts of planned transportation improvements.

(4) Where the advance mitigation mechanisms in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, are not practicable, the department may implement advance mitigation, or fund the implementation of advance mitigation, in accordance with a programmatic mitigation plan pursuant to Section 800.9. No more than 25 percent of the funds in the Advance Mitigation Account may be allocated for this purpose over a four-year period.

(b) The department may use, or allow other transportation agencies to use, mitigation credits or values generated or obtained under the program to fulfill the mitigation requirements of planned transportation improvements if the applicable transportation agency reimburses the program for all costs of purchasing or creating the mitigation credits or values, as determined by the department. Those costs shall be calculated using total cost accounting and shall include, as applicable, land acquisition or conservation easement costs, monitoring and enforcement costs, restoration costs, transaction costs, administrative costs, contingency costs, and land management, monitoring, and protection costs.

(c) The department shall track all implemented advance mitigation projects to use as credits for environmental mitigation.

(d) Projects or plans prepared pursuant to this section that overlap with any approved natural community conservation plan or approved regional federal habitat conservation plan, shall be consistent with that plan and shall include an explanation of whether and to what extent they are consistent with any overlapping state or federal recovery plan, or other state-approved or federal-approved conservation strategy.

(e) Mitigation credits created pursuant to this section may be used for covered activities under an approved natural community conservation plan only in accordance with the requirements of the plan. Individuals and entities eligible for coverage as a participating special entity under an approved natural community conservation plan may use mitigation credits created pursuant to this section only if the plan’s implementing entity declines to extend coverage to the covered activity proposed by the eligible individual or entity.

(f) By July 1, 2019, and biennially thereafter, the department, pursuant to Section 9795 of the Government Code, and notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, shall submit to the Legislature a report that describes to what extent the Advance Mitigation Program has accelerated the delivery of transportation projects. At a minimum, the report shall include the following:

(1) An accounting of the Advance Mitigation Account funds.

(2) Identification of expected state and federal resource and regulatory agency mitigation requirements for transportation projects utilizing the Advance Mitigation Program.

(3) A discussion of the extent to which those requirements are satisfied using advance mitigation credits.

(4) The use of funds to prepare, or to fund the preparation of, regional conservation assessments and regional conservation investment strategies.

(5) Recommendations for maximizing the ability of the Advance Mitigation Program to satisfy state and federal mitigation requirements.

(g) By July 1, 2018, or one year after the initial Advance Mitigation Program investments have begun, whichever is earlier, and biennially thereafter, the Department of Fish and Wildlife shall, pursuant to Section 9795 of the Government Code, and notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, submit a report to the Legislature that describes the extent to which the Advance Mitigation Program has improved the quality and effectiveness of habitat mitigation provided by the department for transportation projects and makes related recommendations on how to maximize these attributes. The report shall also include recommendations on how to maximize the quality and effectiveness of habitat mitigation developed pursuant to the Advance Mitigation Program.

(h) Nothing in this article shall be construed to impose any restrictions or requirements on the department for activities that do not involve the utilization of Advance Mitigation Account funds. Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the department to use the Advance Mitigation Program.

(i) Prior to making any expenditure from the Advance Mitigation Account, the Director of Transportation shall make a determination and justification that the proposed expenditure is likely to accelerate project delivery of specific projects.

(j) Any state water or transportation infrastructure agency that requests approval of a regional conservation investment strategy pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1852 of the Fish and Game Code that may be used to facilitate mitigation for an infrastructure project shall not be subject to the limitation on the number of regional conservation investment strategies set in Section 1861 of the Fish and Game Code.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 12. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

800.7.
  

The Advance Mitigation Account is hereby created in the State Transportation Fund as a revolving fund. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, the account shall be continuously appropriated without regard to fiscal years for purposes of the Advance Mitigation Program. The activity of the account shall be reported to the commission. The program is intended to become self-sustaining. Expenditures from the account shall later be reimbursed from project funding available at the time a planned transportation project is constructed.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 13. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

800.8.
  

The program is intended to improve the efficiency and efficacy of mitigation only and is not intended to supplant the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resource Code) or any other environmental law. The identification of planned transportation projects and of mitigation projects or measures for planned transportation projects under this article does not imply or require approval of those projects for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resource Code) or any other environmental law.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 14. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

800.9.
  

The department, pursuant to this article and for the purpose of implementing the Advance Mitigation Program, may develop a programmatic mitigation plan pursuant to Section 169 of Title 23 of the United States Code to address the potential environmental impacts of future transportation projects for the purpose of required mitigation approved by federal, state, and local agencies. The programmatic mitigation plans shall include, to the maximum extent practicable, the information required for regional conservation investment strategies.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 95, Sec. 15. (SB 103) Effective July 21, 2017.)

SHCStreets and Highways Code - SHC2.5