Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 4. FORESTS, FORESTRY AND RANGE AND FORAGE LANDS [4001 - 4958]

  ( Division 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

PART 2.5. FOREST RESOURCES [4790 - 4810]

  ( Part 2.5 added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181. )

CHAPTER 1. Forest Resources Improvement [4790 - 4799.05]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181. )

4790.
  

The Legislature finds and declares that:

(a) Forest lands, while often managed to produce wood fiber for building materials and paper manufacture, also provide public benefits, including employment opportunities in both rural and urban areas, renewable energy, protection and enhancement of air, water, and soil resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and opportunities for aesthetic and recreational enjoyment.

(b) Historically, substantial areas of forest land were not reforested or otherwise managed for optimum production of forest resources following harvest operations, wildfires, unsuccessful attempts to clear the land for other uses, or damage by insects, disease, or other natural catastrophes. As a result, an estimated five million acres of public and private forest land in the state are producing substantially less forest resources than their potential. These areas are inadequately stocked with trees or are occupied by damaged or diseased trees or species of less value for sawtimber and other forest products. Some lands also have suffered from or are threatened with depletion by soil erosion. Water quality and quantity has suffered and fish habitats have also been adversely affected. In areas where forest regeneration has occurred, the present forest stand would often produce significantly greater timber supplies if thinning or other forest improvement investments were made.

(c) Future demand for timber supplies and other demands for forest resources are likely to rise substantially. Future supplies of these renewable resources are presently estimated to decline for a period and then to recover, but at a rate significantly slower than the rate of increase in demand.

(d) Wood waste products and tree or shrub species not normally utilized to produce building materials can provide opportunities for an alternative means to generate electrical energy or could be converted to solid, gaseous, or liquid fuels for transport or industrial use. Future supplies of wood products not usable for building materials, and, therefore potentially available for energy production, will be increased if forest resource improvements are made.

(e) The forest efficiently captures and stores solar energy. Wood products can be produced with a significantly lower energy cost than most competing substitutes. This disparity is likely to increase in the future.

(f) A relatively small amount of forest land is currently being reforested, other than pursuant to the stocking requirements of the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973 (Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2) applicable following timber harvesting. Obstacles to private investments in reforesting or improving forest lands include: the extraordinarily long time required for such investments to produce income; the risk of loss due to fire, insect, or disease; lack of necessary forestry expertise or knowledge of the potential benefits of improved forest resource management; the difficulty of transferring capital invested in forest resource improvements to other investment opportunities or otherwise using the funds for other needs once the initial investment has been made; and the fact that some forest resource investments, including erosion control measures, may not produce any income recognizable to the landowner.

(g) Over one-half of the privately owned, commercial forest land in the state is owned by nonindustrial landowners. Forest resources that can be provided by these lands will be increasingly important in the future. Yet the owners of these lands often lack forestry expertise, economic incentive, or capital needed to make investments to increase present and future availability of forest resource benefits from their lands.

(h) Investments in public and private forest land are essential if adequate future timber supplies are to be available and if the forest resource system of soil, air, water, and vegetative and animal life is to be maintained in a productive condition for the future. These investments will also lessen fire hazards and improve watershed protection following catastrophic destruction of forests and other vegetative cover by fire, wind, flood, insects, disease, and other causes.

(i) Failure to make the necessary investments will lead to higher prices for increasingly scarce forest products, lower rural and urban employment in the forest products and related industries and businesses, and the loss or diminished value of soils and other forest resources.

(j) Forest resource improvements made pursuant to this chapter serve a public purpose and will promote the health, welfare, and economic security of the citizens of the state.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 409, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2001.)

4790.5.
  

The Legislature further declares that, except as specifically provided in this chapter the state shall not claim any right, title, or interest in the land, trees, or other vegetation which are the subject of a forest resource improvement project undertaken pursuant to this chapter. When carrying out this chapter, the director shall encourage the use of goods and services available through private forest nurseries, reforestation contractors, private forest consultants, or others in the business of undertaking forest resource improvement work.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4791.
  

The purpose of this chapter is to encourage private and public investments in, and an improved management of, forest lands and resources within the state to ensure adequate future high quality timber supplies, related employment and other economic benefits, and the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of a productive and stable forest resource system for the benefit of present and future generations.

The primary emphasis of the program established by this chapter shall be upon improving the timber productivity of forest lands in the state; provided, that consistent with this primary goal, the program shall also be managed to improve all forest resources, such as fish and wildlife habitat and soil resources, so that the overall effect of the program is to improve the total forest resource system.

(Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 676, Sec. 266.)

4792.
  

In furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, the department is authorized to enter into agreements and make loans and otherwise carry out the purposes of this chapter. The forestry assistance program conducted by the department shall encourage forest resource improvements and otherwise facilitate good forest land management through a program of financial, technical, and educational assistance, as well as through applied research. The purpose of this program shall be to work cooperatively with private landowners, particularly smaller nonindustrial landowners, to upgrade the management of their lands, and, therefore, improve both the productivity of the land and the degree of protection and enhancement of the forest resource system as a whole. The department is further authorized to encourage and cooperate with efforts by the forestry industry and federal government to improve the management of forest lands within the state, particularly lands owned by nonindustrial owners, through advisory services or other actions. The director shall work cooperatively with other private and public entities and persons, including tree nursery operators, when carrying out this part.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 409, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2001.)

4793.
  

As used in this chapter:

(a) “A county with high unemployment” means a county with an annual unemployment rate, as reported by the Employment Development Department, higher than the mean annual unemployment rate of “rate adjustment counties” as defined pursuant to the Timber Yield Tax Law (Part 18.5 (commencing with Section 38101) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code).

(b) “Eligible landowner” means any person who meets the conditions set forth in Sections 4797 and 4799. Where ownership of forest land and timber is not held by the same person, “landowner” means either the person or persons owning the land or the person or persons owning the timber.

(c) “Fish and wildlife habitat improvements” means measures designed to protect, maintain, or enhance fish and wildlife habitat including, but not limited to, stream clearance, reestablishment of desirable vegetation along stream channels and elsewhere, measures to encourage habitat diversity, restoration of anadromous fisheries, and forest road repair and upgrading that protect, maintain, or enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

(d) “Followup work” means forest resource improvement work necessary to promote the survival of seed or seedlings planted, or protection or enhancement of other work undertaken, as part of a prior forest resource improvement project pursuant to this chapter.

(e) “Forest land” means land at least 10 percent occupied by trees of any size that are native to California, including native oaks, or formerly having had that tree cover and not currently zoned for uses incompatible with forest resource management.

(f) “Forest land conservation measures” means measures designed to protect, maintain, or enhance the forest resource system, including soil and watershed values, diversity of forest species, and protection of a forest stand from fire. These measures include thinning, shaded fuel breaks, and other land treatments or forest resource improvement projects consistent with Section 4794.

(g) “Forest land with demonstrated potential for improved forest resource management” means forest land that could produce significantly greater forest resource benefits if forest resource improvement work was carried out and that is not managed for uses incompatible with forest resource management.

(h) “Forest resources” means those uses and values associated with forest land, including fish, forage, recreation and aesthetics, soils, timber, watershed, wilderness, and wildlife.

(i) “Forest resource system” means the interdependent system of air, water, solar energy, and forest resources, as defined by subdivision (h).

(j) “Forest resource improvement work” means the forest resource improvement measures enumerated in Section 4794 for which assistance is authorized pursuant to this chapter.

(k) “Forest resource improvement project” means a project undertaken pursuant to Section 4795 or a loan made pursuant to Section 4796.

(l) “Management plan” means a long-term forest and land management plan submitted to the director pursuant to Section 4799.

(m) “Person” includes:

(1) Any private individual, organization, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation.

(2) Except for the purposes of Section 4795 and subdivision (a) of Section 4796, any city, county, or district.

(n) “Prevailing rate” means the average annual rate earned by the state on moneys deposited in the Pooled Money Investment Account in the General Fund.

(o) “Reforestation” means planting of tree seedlings, cuttings, or seed.

(p) “Restocked” means stocking to the degree required by the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973, Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2.

(q) “Small business entity” means a business enterprise, including a landowner, with five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or less annual gross revenue.

(r) “Smaller nonindustrial landowners” means owners of 5,000 acres or less of forest land.

(s) “Uses incompatible with forest resource management” means uses not listed in subdivision (h) of Section 51104 or Section 51111 of the Government Code by the city or county in which the parcel subject to a forest resource improvement project lies.

(t) “Young growth stand improvement” means precommercial thinning or weeding of young growth stands to provide more growing space and release of young trees from competing vegetation.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 409, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2001.)

4794.
  

(a) Agreements may be entered into and loans may be made by the director pursuant to this chapter for all of the following purposes:

(1) Preparation of management plans for forest land.

(2) Site preparation.

(3) Planting and costs of seeds and seedlings.

(4) Young growth stand improvement.

(5) Forest land conservation measures.

(6) Fish and wildlife habitat improvement.

(7) Followup work.

Consistent with this section, the director shall prepare, and submit to the board for its review and approval, guidelines further specifying the scope of forest resource improvement work for which agreements may be entered into or loans made pursuant to this chapter.

(b) Proposed forest resource improvement projects may combine work described in paragraphs (1) to (7), inclusive, of subdivision (a). Projects shall include work described in paragraphs (1) to (7), inclusive, of subdivision (a) to be eligible for a cost-sharing agreement signed pursuant to Section 4795 or a loan made pursuant to Section 4796.

(c) Projects for forest resource improvement subsequent to harvesting subject to the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973, Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2, shall not be eligible for agreements executed pursuant to Section 4795 or loans made pursuant to Section 4796 of this chapter unless either of the following occur:

(1) The land has been restocked and the established forest growth has subsequently been adversely affected by fire, wind, flood, insects, disease, or other natural causes.

(2) The work to be undertaken is not otherwise required to be carried out pursuant to the Z’berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act of 1973, Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4511) of Part 2.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 409, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2001.)

4795.
  

(a) The director may enter into agreements with eligible landowners pursuant to which the landowner will undertake forest resource improvement work in return for an agreement by the director to share the cost of carrying out the work. The director is authorized to share up to 90 percent of the lesser of either:

(1) The landowner’s actual cost per acre to accomplish the work.

(2) The prevailing per acre cost as determined by the director pursuant to Section 4799.02.

(b) (1) The director may provide the funds for the director’s share of the costs, as described in subdivision (a), in advance of any work performed if the eligible landowner agrees in writing to undertake the forest resource improvement work and agrees to the condition that funds provided for any uncompleted work shall constitute grounds for a claim and lien upon the real property owned by the landowner that is subject to this section. Any such lien shall attach to the property regardless of whether the responsible party is insolvent. A lien established pursuant to this subdivision shall be subject to notice and hearing procedures required by due process of the law.

(2) A lien authorized under this subdivision shall continue in effect until the liability for repayment of funds, or a judgment against the responsible party, is satisfied. However, if it is determined by the court that the judgment against the responsible party will not be satisfied, the department may exercise its rights under the lien.

(3) A lien imposed pursuant to this subdivision shall have the force and effect of, and the same priority as, a judgment lien upon its recordation in the county in which the property subject to the lien is located. The lien shall contain the legal description of the real property, the assessor’s parcel number, and the name of the owner of record, as shown on the latest assessor’s property tax assessment roll.

(4) All funds recovered pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited in the Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Fund established pursuant to Section 4629.3.

(c) The director shall prepare a schedule of cost share percentages applicable to agreements undertaken pursuant to this section. Required landowner cost share contributions may be made in the form of materials, services, or equipment as well as funds. The cost share percentage schedule shall set forth the percentage of required landowner’s project cost share for various categories of forest resource improvement projects. The percentage of cost sharing required of the landowner may be decreased if the ownership contains less than 500 acres.

(d) The percentage of cost sharing required of the landowner may also be decreased to the extent that any of the following applies:

(1) The project or other actions of the landowner would increase recreational opportunities for the public.

(2) The project would provide relatively more employment opportunities than other proposed projects.

(3) Forest land conservation measures or fish or wildlife habitat improvements are included in the project.

(e) Consistent with the criteria set forth in subdivisions (c) and (d), the director shall submit a schedule further specifying cost share percentages to the board for its review. The schedule shall apply to all agreements made pursuant to this section unless the board acts to change the schedule within 75 days of its submission by the director.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 497, Sec. 220. (AB 991) Effective January 1, 2020.)

4795.5.
  

A forest landowner who has entered into an undue hardship agreement with the Controller for the payment of inheritance taxes pursuant to Section 14143.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code may apply annually to the director for a grant in the amount of 50 percent of the interest due on the annual installment paid in the current calendar year. To be eligible for such a grant the forest landowner must show that his or her forest land is subject to either:

(a) The provisions of a timberland production zone, pursuant to Chapter 6.7 (commencing with Section 51100) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code; provided, that no petition is under consideration while the grant is being administered for rezoning pursuant to Section 51120 of the Government Code or immediate rezoning pursuant to Section 51130 of the Government Code.

(b) A contract pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 4797.

The annual installment must be paid on or before the anniversary date of the first installment payment, or the eligible landowner shall be disqualified from receiving a grant pursuant to this section. The eligible landowner shall apply to the director subsequent to the current calendar year, in such form as the director may prescribe, and shall include proof of agreement with the Controller pursuant to Section 14143.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, proof of payment of the current calendar year’s annual installment of inheritance taxes, and the amount of the installment payment which constituted interest. An eligible landowner who meets the requirements of this subdivision shall be deemed as having submitted an approved application. Within 60 days after receipt of an approved application, the director shall send to the eligible landowner by certified mail a check in the appropriate amount.

(Amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1489, Sec. 34.)

4796.
  

(a) The director may make the following types of loans relating to forest resource improvement projects:

(1) The director may make loans for forest resource improvement work to cover all or part of a smaller nonindustrial landowner’s cost share payment required pursuant to Section 4795. The director shall establish reasonable terms relating to the length of, and the interest rate for, a loan made pursuant to this subdivision. In order to secure repayment of the loan, the forest resource improvement loans shall be secured by a mortgage or deed of trust upon the parcel of land to which the forest improvement project applies. The director shall record the mortgage or deed of trust in the office of the county recorder in the county in which the real property subject to the resource improvement loan is located.

(2) (A) The director may make loans for forest resource improvement work to landowners eligible pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (d) of Section 4797 for up to 100 percent of the lesser of either:

(i) The landowner’s actual cost per acre to accomplish the work.

(ii) The prevailing cost per acre as determined by the director pursuant to Section 4799.02.

(B) A loan made pursuant to this subdivision may be made for a term not exceeding 20 years and shall bear interest at the prevailing rate. In order to secure repayment of the loan, the forest resource improvement loans shall be secured by a mortgage or deed of trust upon the parcel of land to which the forest improvement project applies. The director shall record the mortgage or deed of trust in the office of the county recorder in the county in which the real property subject to the resource improvement loan is located.

(b) Any loan made pursuant to this section may be paid prior to the maturity date set forth in the loan agreement without an interest penalty being charged to the landowner.

(c) Payment of all or part of the principal and interest due under loans made pursuant to this chapter shall not be required upon a finding by the board that the parcel to which a forest resource improvement project applies, and that is subject to a loan, satisfies both of the following conditions:

(1) The parcel has been substantially damaged by fire, flood, insects, disease, or other natural causes.

(2) The damage was not caused by the negligence or willful act of the landowner.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 497, Sec. 221. (AB 991) Effective January 1, 2020.)

4797.
  

To be eligible for participation in an agreement pursuant to Section 4795 or loan pursuant to Section 4796, the following conditions must be met:

(a) The application requirements of Section 4799 are satisfied.

(b) The landowner is a person owning forest land. Where the land is owned jointly by more than one individual, group, association, or corporation, as joint tenants, tenants in common, tenants by the entirety, or otherwise, the joint owners shall be considered, for the purposes of this chapter, as one eligible landowner.

(c) With respect to cost-sharing agreements made pursuant to Section 4795 or loans made pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 4796, the amount of forest land in the state within the ownership of the landowner is 5,000 acres or less.

(d) With respect to loans made pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 4796, the acreage of the parcel to which the proposed forest resource improvement project applies, together with the acreage included in any other such project subject to an agreement or loan executed or made pursuant to this chapter during the same fiscal year, does not exceed 500 acres; provided, that this limit shall not apply to forest resource improvement projects on lands that have been substantially damaged by fire, flood, insects, disease, or other natural causes within 36 months of submission of an application pursuant to this chapter.

(e) The parcel of forest land to which the forest resource improvement project applies is either:

(1) Within a timber preserve zone established pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 6.7 (commencing with Section 51100) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code; provided, that the parcel of forest land is not the subject of an application for rezoning or immediate rezoning pursuant to Section 51120 or 51130 of the Government Code.

(2) Subject to a contract signed by the landowner providing that the owner agrees not to develop the land for uses incompatible with forest resource management within 10 years following execution of an agreement pursuant to Section 4795 or the making of a loan pursuant to Section 4796. The director shall record the contract in the office of the county recorder in the county in which such parcel of land is located and, upon recordation, the contract shall be binding upon any person to whom such parcel of land is sold, assigned, devised, or otherwise transferred by agreement or operation of law.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4797.5.
  

(a) Any cost share payments advanced pursuant to Section 4795 shall be refunded to the director in the event of either:

(1) The filing of an application for rezoning or immediate rezoning pursuant to Section 51120 or 51130 of the Government Code within 10 years of the date an agreement was signed pursuant to Section 4795.

(2) A violation of the contract entered into pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 4797.

The refund shall bear interest at the prevailing rate from the time of the violation as specified in clause (1) or (2) of this subdivision.

(b) Any loan made pursuant to Section 4796 shall immediately become due and payable in the event of either:

(1) The filing of an application for rezoning or immediate rezoning pursuant to Section 51120 or 51130 of the Government Code within 10 years of the making of a loan pursuant to Section 4796.

(2) A violation of the contract entered into pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 4797.

The refund shall bear interest at the prevailing rate from the time of the violation as specified in clause (1) or (2) of this subdivision.

(c) Upon failure by the landowner to refund such payments or loans, the director may place a lien upon the parcel of property to which a forest resource improvement project applied. The director shall record such lien at the appropriate county office.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4798.
  

Cost share payments or loans pursuant to this chapter may be made for forest resource improvement work which is also the subject of payments or other assistance provided pursuant to federal law; provided, that payments or loans may not be made pursuant to this chapter to satisfy landowner cost share requirements of, or repay loans received pursuant to federal law; and provided, further, that the combined state and federal payments, and any required landowner cost share payments, do not together exceed the amount of the actual cost to the landowner or the prevailing cost per acre as determined by the director pursuant to Section 4801, whichever is less.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4799.
  

In addition to the requirements of Section 4797, to be eligible to participate in agreements pursuant to Section 4795, or receive loans pursuant to Section 4796, the landowner shall do all of the following:

(a) Submit a long-term forest and land management plan for approval by the director. In the event that the proposed project includes preparation of the management plan, the plan need not be completed at the time of application; provided, that no other forest resource improvement project on forest lands within the same ownership not covered by a management plan may be approved by the director until the management plan has been approved pursuant to this subdivision. The plan shall cover all forest lands within the same ownership which include or are contiguous to the parcel to which a proposed forest resource improvement project applies. The plan shall set forth an analysis of forest land conditions and capabilities, including its original forest type if determinable. The plan shall describe the landowner’s management objectives and shall provide for the eventual harvest of sawtimber within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the preparer of the plan. The plan shall also describe the forest resource improvement work and other measures necessary to do all of the following:

(1) Protect, maintain, and enhance the forest resource system.

(2) Prevent or mitigate erosion, deterioration of soil resources, and pollution by natural and manmade causes.

(3) Optimize the timber growth potential of the land consistent with maintaining the productivity of related forest resources now and in the future.

The plan shall be prepared or approved as to content by a registered professional forester. Such a plan, when approved by the director, shall fulfill the requirements of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 51113 of the Government Code. Consistent with this section, the director shall prepare, and submit to the board for its review and approval, guidelines specifying the factors to be considered and information which should be included in management plans submitted pursuant to this section.

(b) Submit a project application in the form prescribed by the director containing such information as the director deems necessary to evaluate the proposed forest resource improvement project.

(c) Agree to comply with state or federal laws applicable to the work carried out pursuant to the proposed forest resource improvement project.

(d) Agree to comply with such forest land conservation measures and fish and wildlife habitat protection guidelines as may be set forth as part of the cost-sharing agreement or loan agreement executed pursuant to Section 4795 or 4796. Such measures shall be designed to insure that work carried out pursuant to such agreements is conducted in a manner to protect, enhance, and maintain the forest resource system to the greatest degree feasible. In the event that required land conservation measures or fish and wildlife habitat protection guidelines are not followed and significant damage to the forest resources occurs as a result, the director may take corrective action in accordance with the procedures of Sections 4607, 4608, 4609, 4610, and 4611.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4799.01.
  

(a) When allocating available funds among projects proposed pursuant to this chapter, the director shall select those projects that, in the judgment of the director, produce the greatest public benefit, giving consideration to both of the following factors:

(1) The need for and potential benefits of forest resource establishment or improvement were the project to be undertaken.

(2) The need for and potential benefits to long-term production, maintenance, and enhancement of the forest resource system resulting from forest land conservation measures, fish and wildlife habitat improvements, or other work.

(b) The director shall give increased preference to projects to the extent that the project applies to forest land that has been substantially damaged by fire, flood, insects, disease, or other natural causes within 36 months of submission of an application pursuant to this chapter.

(c) The director shall also give preference to projects to the extent that each of the following factors are present:

(1) The project involves a substantial amount of followup work.

(2) The project or other actions of the landowner would increase recreational opportunities for the public.

(3) The forest land to which the project applies is equivalent to site quality III or better.

(4) The project would provide relatively more employment opportunities than other proposed projects.

(5) The project is located in a county with high unemployment.

(6) A small business entity will carry out the proposed project.

(d) Consistent with the criteria set forth in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c), the director shall prepare and submit to the board proposed guidelines further specifying the criteria for evaluation and approval of forest resource improvement projects. The board shall review, approve, or amend the guidelines that the director shall follow when carrying out this chapter.

(e) The director shall establish, in consultation with interested persons or agencies and with the review and approval of the board, procedures for the review of proposed forest resource improvement projects. Those procedures shall insure that department specialists and other specialists in the areas of water quality, erosion control, and fish and wildlife protection are integrated into the review of proposed forest resource improvement projects.

(f) No allocation of funds pursuant to this chapter shall, in any fiscal year, exceed the total amount expended during the 1999–2000 fiscal year until the completion, review, and final approval by the board of an updated management plan for the Jackson Demonstration State Forest that complies with applicable state and federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 409, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2001.)

4799.02.
  

To carry out the provisions of this chapter and to facilitate participation in the program authorized by this chapter, the director may promulgate such regulations, guidelines, or publications as the director deems appropriate. Such regulations, guidelines, or publications shall be submitted to the board for review or approval when required by this chapter and, even if not required, when deemed appropriate by the director for his or her guidance. Regulations, guidelines, or publications shall specify:

(a) The scope of forest resource improvement work, as described by Section 4794, for which agreements may be entered into or loans made pursuant to Section 4795 or 4796.

(b) The prevailing cost of performing various types and methods of forest resource improvement work under various site conditions throughout the forest land of the state, as required by Sections 4795 and 4796.

(c) Cost share percentage schedules as required by Section 4795.

(d) Procedures to be followed in the event of a violation of a cost-sharing or loan agreement pursuant to Section 4795 or 4796 or default of payment of loan principal or interest pursuant to Section 4796.

(e) Consistent with subdivision (g) of Section 4793, criteria to determine forest lands which have demonstrated potential for improved forest resource management and may, therefore, be eligible for forest resource improvement projects under the provisions of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 4797.

(f) Factors to be considered and information which should be included in management plans submitted pursuant to Section 4799.

(g) A standard application form for forest resource improvement projects submitted under Section 4795 or 4796.

(h) Forest land conservation measures and fish and wildlife habitat protection guidelines to be followed in the performance of forest resource improvement projects work as provided by Section 4799.

(i) Guidelines for evaluation and approval of proposed forest resource improvement projects as required by subdivision (d) of Section 4799.01.

(j) Procedures for the review by the director and interested persons or agencies of proposed forest resource improvement projects pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 4799.01.

(k) Such other matters as the director deems necessary for the effective administration of the provisions of this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4799.03.
  

(a) The director shall work cooperatively with other public agencies of local, state, and federal government to encourage such agencies to undertake forest resource improvement work and otherwise accomplish the purposes of this chapter. The director is authorized to enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with such agencies to provide:

(1) Technical assistance.

(2) Necessary supervisorial personnel.

(3) Tree seed, tree cuttings, or seedlings.

(4) Necessary equipment.

(5) Such other assistance as may be necessary and appropriate to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.

(b) In carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the director shall cooperate with the Employment Development Department, the California Conservation Corps, the Cooperative Extension, resource conservation districts, industry, and other interested agencies or persons for the purpose of training needed workers and facilitating wherever feasible the creation of forest resources improvement work opportunities. The department or other state agencies are authorized to utilize state lands for the purposes of carrying out needed training pursuant to this subdivision.

(c) The director shall also endeavor to work cooperatively with other persons and public agencies to provide opportunities for voluntary, unpaid forest resources improvement work by persons who may be interested in volunteering for such work.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1181.)

4799.04.
  

To effectuate the purposes of this chapter, the department is authorized to:

(a) Collect or contract for adequate supplies of high-quality seed and take whatever steps are necessary to insure to the maximum degree feasible that seeds or seedlings planted as part of forest resource improvement projects undertaken pursuant to this chapter are adapted to the planting site and measures are taken to assure appropriate diversity of forest species.

(b) Contract for seedling production and, in cooperation with other state, local, and federal agencies, encourage the production of seedlings needed to accomplish reforestation in the state by small business entities in or near areas where planting will be carried out.

(c) Provide technical assistance to private seedling nurseries and conduct a program for certification of the quality and adaptability of seeds and tree seedlings supplied for forest resource improvement projects undertaken pursuant to this chapter.

(d) Increase availability of genetically improved seed and planting stock by expansion of seed orchards or other recognized tree improvement techniques.

(e) In cooperation with other public and private entities or persons:

(1) Conduct necessary research and take other appropriate measures to protect the genetic integrity and diversity of forest tree species, including, but not limited to, a seed depository.

(2) Conduct research and make grants or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with public and private entities or persons concerning measures to increase the contribution of trees to improve the natural environment and economy of the state and measures to otherwise accomplish the purposes of this chapter.

(f) Purchase necessary equipment or materials and, in accordance with the State Civil Service Act (commencing with Section 18570 of the Government Code), appoint such deputies, officers, and other employees as may be necessary.

(g) In cooperation with other public and private entities and persons, establish such training and educational programs as may be appropriate to increase the number of workers with necessary skills to carry out seed collection, seedling production, and forest resource improvement projects.

(h) To accept grants and donations of equipment, seedlings, materials, or funds from any source for the purpose of supporting or facilitating forest resource improvement work undertaken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Any funds received shall be deposited by the director in the Forest Resource Improvement Fund established pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 4799.13) of this part. No federal funds received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Public Law 111- 5) shall be deposited into the Forest Resources Improvement Fund.

(i) Waive the landowner cost sharing requirements of this chapter if the funding source for the authorized forest improvement work prohibits cost sharing requirements.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, 4th Ex. Sess., Ch. 11, Sec. 7. Effective July 28, 2009.)

4799.05.
  

(a) (1) The director may provide grants to, or enter into contracts or other cooperative agreements with, entities, including, but not limited to, private or nongovernmental entities, Native American tribes, or local, state, and federal public agencies, for the implementation and administration of projects and programs to improve forest health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(2) (A) Until January 1, 2024, the director may authorize advance payments to a nonprofit organization, a local agency, a special district, a private forest landowner, or a Native American tribe from a grant awarded pursuant to this section. No single advance payment shall exceed 25 percent of the total grant award.

(B) (i) The grantee shall expend the funds from the advance payment within six months of receipt, unless the department waives this requirement.

(ii) The grantee shall file an accountability report with the department four months from the date of receiving the funds and every four months thereafter.

(C) (i) The department shall provide a report to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2023, on the outcome of the department’s use of advance payments.

(ii) A report submitted pursuant to this subparagraph shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(iii) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under clause (i) is inoperative on January 1, 2027, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

(b) Any project or program described in this section that is funded with moneys from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, created pursuant to Section 16428.8 of the Government Code, shall comply with all statutory and program requirements applicable to the use of moneys from the fund.

(c) Moneys appropriated to the department for landscape-scale projects shall be allocated as follows:

(1) To subsidize the removal of small diameter material, especially surface fuels and ladder fuels, as well as dead trees, in order to help develop markets for beneficial uses of the material, including, but not limited to, animal bedding, biochar, cross-laminated timber, mulch, oriented strand board, pulp, post, shredding, and veneer products.

(2) For multiple benefit projects, such as tree thinning, carbon sequestration, forest resilience, and improved ecological outcome projects, including, but not limited to, restoring watershed health and function and supporting biodiversity and wildlife adaptation to climate change. The department shall give grant funding priority to landowners who practice uneven aged forest management with a resilient forest of diverse age, size, and species class within the boundaries of the project and whose activities are conducted pursuant to an approved timber harvest plan, nonindustrial timber harvest plan, or working forest management plan. An application for a grant for a project under this subparagraph shall include a description of how the proposed project will increase average stem diameter and provide other site-specific improvement to forest complexity, as demonstrated by the expansion of the variety of tree age classes and species persisting for a period of at least 50 years. The department shall also give funding priority to landowners who agree to long-term forest management goals prescribed by the department.

(3) For activities on national forest lands to increase tree stand heterogeneity, create forest openings of less than one acre, and increase average tree stand diameter of residual trees. Any grants provided under this subparagraph shall be approved by the department, in collaboration with appropriate state agencies, including the State Air Resources Board.

(d) (1) Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) does not apply to prescribed fire, thinning, or fuel reduction projects undertaken on federal lands to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire that have been reviewed under the federal National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 4321) if either of the following is satisfied:

(A) The primary role of a state or local agency is providing funding or staffing for those projects.

(B) A state or local agency is undertaking those projects pursuant to the federal Good Neighbor Authority (Public Law 113-79) or a stewardship agreement with the federal government entered into pursuant to Public Law 113-79.

(2) Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) does not apply to the issuance of a permit or other project approval by a state or local agency for projects described in paragraph (1).

(3) This section does not alter, affect, or in any way diminish the authority of a state or local agency to impose mitigation measures or conditions on projects described in paragraph (1) pursuant to other laws or regulations.

(4) Commencing December 31, 2019, and annually thereafter, the department shall report to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature the number of times the process in this subdivision was used.

(5) (A) This subdivision shall remain operative only if the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency certifies on or before January 1 of each year that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 or other federal laws that affect the management of federal forest lands in California have not been substantially amended on or after August 31, 2018.

(B) Any CEQA exemption established under this subdivision shall continue in effect for those projects conducted under a National Environmental Policy Act record of decision, finding of no significant impact, or notice of exemption or exclusion that was issued prior to the date by which the Secretary determines that the National Environmental Policy Act or federal forest management laws were substantially amended.

(6) This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2023.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 626, Sec. 24. (SB 901) Effective January 1, 2019.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC