Code Section Group

Water Code - WAT

DIVISION 26. SAFE DRINKING WATER, CLEAN WATER, WATERSHED PROTECTION, AND FLOOD PROTECTION ACT [79000 - 79222]

  ( Division 26 added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. )

CHAPTER 6. Watershed Protection Program [79070 - 79104.206]

  ( Chapter 6 added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 2. Watershed Protection Program [79075 - 79088]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. )

79075.
  

(a) There is hereby created in the account the Watershed Protection Subaccount.

(b) For the purposes of this article, “subaccount” means the Watershed Protection Subaccount created by subdivision (a).

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79076.
  

The sum of ninety million dollars ($90,000,000) is hereby transferred from the account to the subaccount for the purposes of implementing this article.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79077.
  

The purposes of this article are to provide funds to assist in implementing watershed plans to reduce flooding, control erosion, improve water quality, and improve aquatic and terrestrial species habitats, to restore natural systems of groundwater recharge, native vegetation, water flows, and riparian zones, to restore the beneficial uses of waters of the state in watersheds, and to provide matching funds for federal grant programs.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79078.
  

Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this article:

(a) “Local agency” means any city, county, city and county, district, or other political subdivision of the state.

(b) “Local watershed group” means a group consisting of owners and managers of land within the watershed of interest, local, state, and federal government representatives, and interested persons, other than landowners, who reside or work within the watershed of interest, and may include other persons, organizations, nonprofit corporations, and businesses.

(c) “Local watershed management plan” means a document prepared by a local watershed group that sets forth a strategy to achieve an ecologically stable watershed, and that does all of the following:

(1) Defines the geographical boundaries of the watershed.

(2) Describes the natural resource conditions within the watershed.

(3) Describes measurable characteristics for water quality improvements.

(4) Describes methods for achieving and sustaining water quality improvements.

(5) Identifies any person, organization, or public agency that is responsible for implementing the methods described in paragraph (4).

(6) Provides milestones for implementing the methods described in paragraph (4).

(7) Describes a monitoring program designed to measure the effectiveness of the methods described in paragraph (4).

(d) “Municipality” has the same meaning as defined in the Clean Water Act and also includes the state or any agency, department, or political subdivision thereof, and applicants eligible for technical assistance under Section 319 (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1329) or grants under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1330).

(e) “Nonprofit organization” means any California corporation organized under Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(f) “Regional board” means a regional water quality control board.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79079.
  

The money in the subaccount, upon appropriation by the Legislature to the board, may be used by the board for grants to municipalities, local agencies, or nonprofit organizations in accordance with this article. The grants shall be used to develop local watershed management plans or to implement projects that are consistent with local watershed management and regional water quality control plans. The board shall ensure that activities funded by these grants will be coordinated with activities undertaken by state and federal agencies, and with other appropriate watershed efforts.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79079.5.
  

The funds used for the purposes described in Section 79079 shall be allocated as follows:

(a) Sixty percent to projects in the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Ventura.

(b) Forty percent to projects in counties not described in subdivision (a).

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79080.
  

(a) A municipality, local agency, or nonprofit organization may only receive a grant under this article if the board determines that both of the following apply:

(1) The municipality, local agency, or nonprofit organization has adequate legal authority to manage the grant money.

(2) The municipality, local agency, or nonprofit organization is a member of a local watershed group.

(b) Grants may be awarded for projects that implement methods for attaining watershed improvements or for a monitoring program described in a local watershed management plan in an amount not to exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000) per project. At least 85 percent of the total amount in the subaccount shall be used for capital outlay projects described in this subdivision.

(c) Eligible projects under this article may do any of the following:

(1) Reduce chronic flooding problems or control water velocity and volume using vegetation management or other nonstructural methods.

(2) Protect and enhance greenbelts and riparian and wetlands habitats.

(3) Restore or improve habitat for aquatic or terrestrial species.

(4) Monitor the water quality conditions and assess the environmental health of the watershed.

(5) Use geographic information systems to display and manage the environmental data describing the watershed.

(6) Prevent watershed soil erosion and sedimentation of surface waters.

(7) Support beneficial groundwater recharge capabilities.

(8) Otherwise reduce the discharge of pollutants to state waters from storm water or nonpoint sources.

(d) (1) Grants may be awarded to municipalities, local agencies, or nonprofit organizations for the development of local watershed management plans in amounts not to exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) per local watershed management plan.

(2) Funding under this subdivision may be used to develop components of local watershed management plans that contribute to the development or implementation of species recovery plans.

(e) Grants may be awarded to meet requirements for nonfederal matching funds set forth in Section 205(j) of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1285(j)) or Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1329(h)).

(f) Projects funded under this article shall be designed to withstand substantial flooding and shall include a minimum 10-year maintenance program and shall demonstrate the potential to provide watershed benefits for 20 years.

(g) A proponent of a project funded from the subaccount, except a grant recipient pursuant to subdivision (d), shall be required to submit to the board a monitoring and reporting plan that does all of the following:

(1) Describes the baseline water quality of the waterbody impacted.

(2) Describes the manner in which the proposed watershed restoration activities are implemented.

(3) Determines the effectiveness of the watershed restoration activities in preventing or reducing pollution.

(4) Determines, to the extent feasible, the changes in the pattern of flow in affected streams, including reduction of flood flows and increases in spring, summer, and fall flows that result from the implementation of the project.

(5) Determines, to the extent feasible, the economic benefits resulting from changes determined pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4).

(h) (1) A grant applicant shall inform the board with regard to necessary public agency approvals, entitlements, and permits that may be necessary to implement the project. The municipality, local agency, or nonprofit organization shall certify to the board, at the appropriate time, that those approvals, entitlements, and permits have been granted.

(2) A grant applicant shall notify, in writing, adjoining landowners of its request for funding under this article and the scope of the project for which the funding is requested. If this paragraph requires notification of more than 200 landowners, notification may be made by letter to the owners of record of the 200 largest parcels and by publication for at least 20 days in a local newspaper of general circulation. Upon completion of the notification required under this paragraph, the municipality, local agency, or nonprofit organization shall inform the board that the notification has occurred.

(i) The board may adopt regulations to carry out this article.

(j) In awarding grants under this article, the board shall consider the extent to which projects do the following:

(1) Consider the entire ecosystem to be protected or restored.

(2) Include definable targets and desired future conditions.

(3) Support local community institutional capacity to restore the watershed.

(4) Include community decisionmaking by affected stakeholders in project design and fund allocation.

(5) Help protect intact or nearly intact ecosystems and watersheds.

(6) Consider the economic benefits of the restoration project or program.

(7) Address the root causes of degradation, rather than the symptoms.

(8) Maximize the use of other restoration funds.

(9) Include an educational component, if appropriate.

(10) Improve the quality of drinking water and support other beneficial uses of waters of the state, including coastal waters.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79081.
  

A grant recipient shall obtain written permission from the landowners of the parcel of land upon which the project is proposed to be carried out. The written permission shall expressly consent to the actions described in the grant application.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79082.
  

Not more than 25 percent of a grant may be awarded in advance of actual expenditures.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79083.
  

A grant recipient shall submit to the board a report upon the completion of the project or activity funded under this article. The report shall summarize the completed project and identify additional steps necessary to achieve the purposes of the local watershed management plan. The board shall make the report available to interested federal, state, and local agencies and other interested parties.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 728, Sec. 185. (SB 71) Effective January 1, 2013. Note: This section was added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, and approved in Prop. 13 on March 7, 2000.)

79084.
  

(a) Of the funds transferred pursuant to Section 79076, at least thirty-five million dollars ($35,000,000) shall be for grants to small communities.

(b) For the purposes of this article, “small community” means a municipality with a population of 10,000 persons or less, a rural county, or a reasonably isolated and divisible segment of a larger municipality where the population of the segment is 10,000 persons or less, with a financial hardship as determined by the board.

(c) If the board determines that any of the funds made available for grants under this section will not be encumbered for that purpose on or before January 1, 2007, the board may use these funds for other purposes of this article.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79085.
  

The board shall give added consideration to projects that utilize the services of the California Conservation Corps, community conservation corps, or other local nonprofit entities employing underprivileged youths.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79085.5.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, the following amounts from the subaccount, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be allocated as follows:

(a) The sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) to the board for allocation to the Pajaro River Watershed Flood Prevention Authority for a hydrologic study with regard to the Pajaro River Watershed.

(b) The sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) to the board for allocation to the County of Sonoma to develop and implement community-based watershed management activities that will protect, restore, and enhance the environmental and economic value of the Russian River Watershed in the County of Sonoma.

(c) The sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) to the board for the Clover Creek Flood Protection and Environmental Enhancement Project to provide for the acquisition, restoration, and conservation of low-flow stream channel, open water, seasonal wetlands, riparian habitat, oak woodland regeneration, and grassland meadow preservation.

(d) The sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) to the board to rehabilitate and improve the Clear Lake Watershed by funding one or more of the following projects or activities: Clear Lake Basin 2000 Project, aeration, wetlands restoration, fishery enhancement, and wastewater treatment, or for grants awarded by the board to local public agencies for any of these purposes. The first priority for funding under this subdivision is for a grant award to fund eligible expenses of the Basin 2000 Project.

(e) To the maximum extent feasible, the watershed restoration and flood control projects described in this subdivision shall do one or more of the following:

(1) Preserve agricultural land.

(2) Protect and enhance wildlife habitat.

(3) Protect and enhance recreational and environmental education resources.

(4) Protect lake water quality.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79086.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board shall terminate any grant where it is determined that the project is not providing the proposed watershed benefits.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79087.
  

Not more than 5 percent of the total amount deposited in the subaccount may be used to pay costs incurred in connection with the administration of this article.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

79088.
  

Where recovery plans for coho salmon, steelhead trout, or other threatened or endangered aquatic species exist, projects funded under this article shall be consistent with those plans, and to the extent feasible, shall seek to implement actions specified in those plans.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 725, Sec. 1. Approved in Proposition 13 at the March 7, 2000, election.)

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