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AB-9 Fire safety: wildfires: fire adapted communities.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/05/2021 01:34 PM
AB9:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 05, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 9


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

December 07, 2020


An act to add Article 11 (commencing with Section 4208) to Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, relating to fire safety.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 9, as amended, Wood. Fire safety: wildfires: fire adapted communities.
Existing law establishes in the Natural Resources Agency the Department of Conservation.
This bill would establish in the department the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program to establish support regional groups leadership to build local and regional capacity and develop, prioritize, and implement strategies and projects that create fire adapted communities by improving watershed health, forest health, community wildfire preparedness, and fire resilience. The bill would require, among other things, the department to, upon an appropriation by the Legislature, provide block grants to regional administrators, entities, as defined, to develop regional strategies that develop governance structures, identify wildfire risks, foster collaboration, and prioritize and implement projects within the region to achieve the goals of the program. The bill would authorize the department to, upon an appropriation by the Legislature, provide block grants to nongovernmental eligible organizations to support the statewide implementation of the program through coordination of and technical assistance to regional administrators, entities, as well as to support forest health and resilience efforts across regions and throughout the state. The bill would require, on or before July 1, 2022, the program director, in consultation with specified state entities, to review the regional capacity of each county that contains a very high fire hazard severity zone, as provided, to improve forest health, fire resilience, and safety, and would require the review to contain specified information. The bill would require the department to make this review publicly available on its internet website.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Article 11 (commencing with Section 4208) is added to Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
Article  11. Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program

4208.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Conservation.
(b) “Program” means the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program.
(c) “Regional administrators” entities” means state conservancies, local and tribal governments, resource conservation districts, joint powers authorities, or nongovernmental organizations with a history of implementing related projects, demonstrated capacity to work across regional partners, and ability to serve as fiscal administrators for the program.

4208.1.
 (a) There is hereby established in the department the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program to establish support regional groups leadership to build local and regional capacity and develop, prioritize, and implement strategies and projects that create fire adapted communities by improving watershed health, forest health, community wildfire preparedness, and fire resilience.
(b) (1) The department shall, upon an appropriation by the Legislature for these purposes, provide block grants to regional administrators entities to develop regional strategies that develop governance structures, identify wildfire risks, foster collaboration, and prioritize and implement projects within the region to achieve the goals of the program.
(2) Regional administrators shall oversee distribution of funding, through entities may implement program activities directly or provide subgrants or contracts, and collaborative planning efforts with local entities, including municipal and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, community organizations, fire safe councils, land trusts, resource conservation districts, residents, private and public forest landowners and managers, businesses, and others, to accomplish all of the following objectives:
(A) Develop regional priority strategies that create develop and support fire adapted communities by improving forest health, watershed health, fire risk reduction, and or fire resilience needed to achieve local, regional, and or statewide public safety, climate resiliency, and ecosystem goals included in the “Agreement for Shared Stewardship of California’s Forest and Rangelands” and “California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.”
(B) Complete project development and permitting to generate implementation-ready projects that address regional forest and community fire protection priorities for funding consideration by the various programs represented in the Forest Management Task Force established by the Governor to oversee the implementation of Executive Order No. B-52-18. consideration.
(C) Implement forest management demonstration projects that showcase scalable models for management, funding, and achieving and quantifying multiple benefits.
(D) Implement community fire preparedness demonstration projects that create durable risk reduction for structures and critical community infrastructure.
(E) Develop outreach, education, and training as needed to facilitate and build capacity to implement this section.
(c) The department may, upon an appropriation by the Legislature for these purposes, provide block grants to nongovernmental organizations eligible organizations under the program to support the statewide implementation of the program through coordination of and technical assistance to regional administrators, entities, as well as to support forest health and resilience efforts across regions and throughout the state.
(d) To maximize the benefits of the program, the department shall do all of the following:
(1) Facilitate meetings of regional administrators peer-to-peer learning within and between regions to share information, experiences, and resources to build regional capacity.
(2) Provide technical assistance to regions to enhance regional capacity and assist in the development and prioritization of projects.
(3) Assist regions in identifying potential funding sources for regional priorities.
(4) Encourage the development of local cost share opportunities.

4208.2.

(a)On or before July 1, 2022, the program director, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal and the Forest Management Task Force, shall review the regional capacity of each county that contains a very high fire hazard severity zone, as identified by the director pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code or Article 9 (commencing with Section 4201), to improve forest health, fire resilience, and safety. The review shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1)Identification of local or regional entities engaged in fire risk reduction work, such as resource conservation districts, fire safe councils, state conservancies, and other local agencies.

(2)A review of fire risk reduction organizational or capacity deficits within each county subject to the review.

(3)Recommendations to improve regional capacity and collaboration within the counties subject to review, including, but not limited to, the development of new organizations or regional districts.

(b)The department shall make the review required pursuant to subdivision (a) publicly available on its internet website.