Today's Law As Amended

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SB-287 Habitat restoration: invasive species: Phytophthora pathogens.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Phytophthora species, or “plant destroyers,” in Greek, are microscopic plant pathogens that can severely damage or kill a wide variety of agricultural, ornamental, and forest plants, including native vegetation.
(2) Phytophthora infestans caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, and Phytophthora ramorum causes sudden oak death, which has killed millions of oaks and tanoaks in coastal California and southwest Oregon.
(3) The presence of root-rotting Phytophthora species in commercial horticultural plant nurseries has been well documented over many years, but recently well over 50 Phytophthora species have been found in habitat restoration plantings and native plant nurseries in California. These include Phytophthora species detected for the first time in the United States and new hybrid species.
(4) Restoration plantings can inadvertently introduce Phytophthora species into the soil, contaminating pristine areas, or the limited habitats of threatened, rare, or sensitive plants. Planting pathogen-infected nursery stock in native habitats is the most direct means of introducing invasive exotic diseases into wildlands.
(5) Many native plants have little or no natural resistance to these introduced pathogens. Introduction of Phytophthora pathogens can cause the destruction of native habitat and the mortality of endangered species, and is counter to the goals of restoration.
(6) Once these pathogens are introduced into the wildlands, parks, open space areas, or wetlands, they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate.
(7) Use of Phytophthora-infested nursery stock in habitat restoration projects increases long-term costs of restoring these habitats due to high rates of plant failure, reduced growth, and future costs to remediate contaminated sites. Adjacent native vegetation is put at risk to infection.
(8) The best defense against Phytophthora pathogens becoming established in wildlands is to prevent their inadvertent introduction via infested nursery stock.
(9) State agencies promote the use of nursery stock in wildlands through their vegetative cover standards for habitat restoration projects.
(10) No existing state regulations prevent or discourage the use of Phytophthora-infected nursery stock in habitat restoration projects.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that all of the following occur:
(1) The spread of harmful plant pathogens in our wildlands be avoided in state actions that authorize, fund, or require habitat restoration in California.
(2) The availability of safe plant materials be increased by requiring the use of best management practices and clean phytosanitary standards by the suppliers of nursery stock for habitat restoration projects.
(3) The success of habitat restoration projects be improved, and their long-term costs and potential for adverse environmental impacts reduced, by providing guidance to project sponsors on the procurement and installation of clean plant materials that are disease free to the maximum extent possible for their projects.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1017.5 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

 (a) On or before December 31, 2019, the department shall adopt regulations to minimize the risk of Phytophthora pathogens in plant materials used for habitat restoration projects authorized, funded, or required by the state.
(b) In developing the regulations, the department shall consult with regional water quality control boards, other state departments and agencies with responsibilities related to habitat restoration projects, and plant pathologists with expertise in Phytophthora diseases.
(c) The department shall conduct at least three public meetings to consider public comment before adopting the regulations.
(d) On or before December 31, 2018, the department shall submit a report on its progress toward adopting the regulations to the Legislature, including to the appropriate policy committees. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.