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AB-1255 Fire prevention: Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: grant programs.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/19/2021 09:00 PM
AB1255:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1255


Introduced by Assembly Member Bloom

February 19, 2021


An act to add Section 4123.9 to the Public Resources Code, relating to fire prevention.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1255, as introduced, Bloom. Fire prevention: Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: grant programs.
Existing law requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to establish a local assistance grant program for fire prevention activities. Existing law defines “fire prevention activities” for these purposes to mean those lawful activities that reduce the risk of wildfire in California, as provided.
This bill would require the department, in coordination with the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, to facilitate regional, habitat-specific, and area-specific approaches to fire risk reduction, prevention, and restoration of projects that improve community safety, protect sites and structures, restore burned habitat, reduce catastrophic wildfires, and protect natural resources. The bill would require the department to develop policies, funding programs for which the funding shall be contingent upon subsequent appropriation in the annual Budget Act or a similar statute for this purpose, and relevant program guidelines that promote specified objectives. The bill would require various state entities, as specified, to establish grant programs, for which funding shall be contingent upon subsequent appropriation, to fulfill the specified objectives.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 4123.9 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4123.9.
 (a) The department, in coordination with the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, shall facilitate regional, habitat-specific, and area-specific approaches to fire risk reduction, prevention, and restoration projects that improve community safety, protect sites and structures, restore burned habitat, reduce catastrophic wildfires, and protect natural resources.
(b) The department shall develop policies, funding programs for which the funding shall be contingent upon subsequent appropriation in the annual Budget Act or a similar statute for this purpose, and relevant program guidelines that promote all of the following:
(1) The application of regional, habitat-specific, and area-specific approaches to fire prevention, restoration, and planning.
(2) Relevant planning, research, and capacity-building.
(3) Improved community safety, protection of sites and structures, restoration of burned habitat, reduction of catastrophic wildfires, and protection of natural resources.
(4) Equitable distribution of funds throughout the state and different habitat types.
(5) Legislative, stakeholder, and community engagement and oversight in program development. This engagement and oversight may take the form of an appointed advisory council to provide advice on funding priorities and facilitate more effective coordination with regional, local, and tribal governments and stakeholders.
(c) The following state entities shall establish grant programs, for which funding shall be contingent upon subsequent appropriation in the annual Budget Act or a similar statute for this purpose, to fulfill the objectives identified in subdivision (b):
(1) The department for fire prevention, forest health, and fire suppression activities in forest lands. Priority shall be given to counties with an average housing unit density of 200 or greater per square mile of nonfederal land area.
(2) The department for fire prevention, fire suppression, greening, and forestry activities in urban communities.
(3) The Department of Conservation for the implementation of the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program.
(4) Each state conservancy for fire risk reduction, prevention, and restoration, including research and planning, vegetation management, development of defensible space, community monitoring and response programs, safety patrols, and technologies, including dedicated funding for the protection of each of the following:
(A) Predominantly coastal sage and chaparral habitat that has experienced wildfires, for activities that restore habitat through recolonization with native vegetation or through removal of exotics, or create defensible space around structures.
(B) Conifer, mixed conifer, and oak woodland habitat that have and continue to experience repetitive, catastrophic wildfires in natural landscapes and the wildland urban interface.
(5) (A) Each state conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Board for the protection, restoration, and improvement of forests and watersheds, including conifers, oak woodlands, forests, shrublands, and watersheds vulnerable to repetitive, catastrophic wildfires in the wildland urban interface, to ensure the long-term ecological health of these natural systems.
(B) Dedicated funding shall be made available for the acquisition or transfer of forest and watershed land to facilitate long-term land management and protection of that land to reduce fire risk or restore postfire.
(6) (A) The State Coastal Conservancy for the protection and restoration of watersheds vulnerable to or impacted by wildfires to support water supply and water quality for fish, wildlife, and people.
(B) Dedicated funding shall be made available for aquatic restoration to directly benefit riparian habitat for imperiled salmonids.
(7) (A) The Department of Parks and Recreation for projects pursuant to this section. Priority shall be given to projects in areas damaged by the 2020–21 wildfires.
(B) Dedicated funding shall be made available for public engagement activities to solicit and incorporate feedback into the rebuilding process for park facilities damaged by wildfires.
(8) The department for grants to open-space districts to apply ecologically sensitive vegetation management practices, including ecologically sensitive grazing, that can improve long-term fire risk reduction and improve native wildlife, biodiversity, and health.
(9) The Office of Emergency Services for grants to the California Conservation Corps and certified local community conservation corps, as defined in Section 14507.5, for projects to mitigate unemployment through education and workforce training, and assist the state with the implementation of projects pursuant to this section.
(10) The Department of Fish and Wildlife for local assistance grants for reserve managers to implement adopted fire management plans for Natural Community Conservation Plans and Habitat Conservation Plans.
(11) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the state conservancies for grants to support fire prevention and restoration projects that maximize workforce training opportunities for communities with barriers to employment, including individuals from populations specified in Section 14034 of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
(12) The department for the implementation of the California Wildfire Mitigation Financial Assistance Program pursuant to Article 16.5 (commencing with Section 8654.2) of Chapter 7 of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
(13) The Department of Conservation for grants to resource conservation districts for projects pursuant to this section.
(14) The University of California Reserve System for projects pursuant to this section.