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SB-226 Watershed restoration: wildfires: grant program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/03/2019 09:00 PM

Amended  IN  Assembly  July 03, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 27, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  May 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 29, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 18, 2019


Senate Bill
No. 226

Introduced by Senator Nielsen
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mathis)

February 07, 2019

An act to add Part 4.8 (commencing with Section 71380) to Division 34 of the Public Resources Code, relating to watershed restoration.


SB 226, as amended, Nielsen. Watershed restoration: wildfires: grant program.
Existing law provides that resource conservation is of fundamental importance to the prosperity and welfare of the people of this state. Existing law provides that the Legislature believes that the state must assume leadership in formulating and putting into effect a statewide program of soil and water conservation and related natural resource conservation. Existing law authorizes the Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency to jointly develop and submit to the Legislature a plan for forest and water restoration investments for the drainages that supply specified reservoirs.
This bill would, upon appropriation by the Legislature, require the National Resources Agency to develop and implement a watershed restoration grant program, as provided, for purposes of awarding grants to eligible counties, as defined, to assist them with watershed restoration on watersheds that have been affected by wildfire, as specified. The bill would require the agency to develop guidelines for the grant program, as provided. The bill would require an eligible county receiving funds pursuant to the grant program to submit annually to the agency a report regarding projects funded by the grant program, as provided.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


 Part 4.8 (commencing with Section 71380) is added to Division 34 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

PART 4.8. Watershed Restoration Grant Program

CHAPTER  1. Definitions

 For purposes of this part, the following terms apply:
(a) “Agency” means the Natural Resources Agency.
(b) “Eligible county” means a county in which a wildfire had occurred on or after January 1, 2017, and for which a state of emergency was declared by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on the wildfire.
(c) “Program” means the Watershed Restoration Grant Program developed pursuant to Section 71385.
(d) “Watershed” shall mean any river, watershed, or river system tributary that has been affected by a wildfire.

CHAPTER  2. Grant Program

 (a) The agency, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall develop and implement the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to provide grants to eligible counties for the restoration of watersheds that are within 10 miles of the boundaries of a wildfire that occurred in the county.
(b) An eligible county shall provide a 50 percent match for grants received pursuant to this part for the restoration of watersheds.
(c) (1) Grant funds awarded pursuant to the program to an eligible county shall be disbursed over a period of five years and an eligible county shall not receive more than one million dollars ($1,000,000) per year.
(2) Moneys disbursed each calendar year shall be expended by the eligible county by the end of each calendar year.
(d) An eligible county may expend up to 5 percent of the amount disbursed each year for the county’s administrative costs.
(e) The agency may expend 5 percent of the amount appropriated for the program for the agency’s administrative costs in implementing the program.

 (a) The agency shall develop guidelines for the program that shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) Criteria for determining eligibility, including demonstration that the watershed has been damaged by the wildfire.
(2) Standards for the evaluation of working watershed management plans.
(3) Provisions to ensure that grants complement other forest health and fire prevention efforts.
(4) Prioritization of applications that will provide the greatest improvements to watershed health.
(b) An eligible county applying for a grant pursuant to the program shall submit an application to the agency by a date determined by the agency.
(c) (1) As a part of the application, an eligible county shall include a working watershed management plan that provides a description of projects that will be funded by the program and the milestones and timelines for the projects.
(2) The An eligible county may use a watershed coordinator to develop a portion or all of the working watershed management plan.
(d) (1) Two or more eligible counties may apply jointly for a grant to restore a watershed that is within those counties.
(2) The agency shall require coordination between two or more eligible counties that implement restoration projects in the same watershed funded by the program.

 (a) An eligible county receiving a grant pursuant to the program shall, by January 1 of each year following a calendar year for which moneys are disbursed pursuant to the grant, submit to the agency a report with all of the following:
(1) A description of the properties on which activities funded by the grant have been undertaken in the previous calendar year. The description shall include photographic images of the properties before and after the completion of the activities and a description of water quality, including test results, of the properties before and after the completion of the activities.
(2) A description of activities funded by the program undertaken in the previous calendar year.
(3) A breakdown of the costs of the projects funded by the program in the previous calendar year.
(4) A third-party inspection report on the results of the activities undertaken in the previous calendar year.
(b) Grant funds awarded pursuant to this part shall be used only for activities to restore or ameliorate damages to watersheds caused by wildfires that will improve water quality or supply.
(c) Grant funds shall not be used for any otherwise required mitigation for any other project.
(d) The agency may authorize advance payments from a grant awarded pursuant to this chapter. The advance payment shall not exceed 25 percent of the total grant award.