AB 530 Assembly Bill LA River

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BILL NUMBER: AB 530 INTRODUCED	BILL TEXT

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Rendon
   (Principal coauthor: Senator Lara)

                        FEBRUARY 23, 2015

   An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 32622) to
Division 22.8 of the Public Resources Code, relating to the Los
Angeles River.

	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

   AB 530, as introduced, Rendon. Lower Los Angeles River Working
Group.
   Existing law provides for the protection, enhancement, and
restoration of rivers in this state. Existing law establishes the San
Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy for
the purpose of, among others, providing for the public's enjoyment
and enhancement of recreational and education experiences on public
lands in the San Gabriel Watershed and Lower Los Angeles River.
   This bill would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources
Agency to appoint, in coordination with the Los Angeles County Board
of Supervisors, a local working group to develop a revitalization
plan for the Lower Los Angeles River, called the Lower Los Angeles
River Working Group. The bill would specify a prescribed membership
for the working group, including, among others, representatives from
the County of Los Angeles, and elected officials of the cities
riparian to the Los Angeles River. The bill would require, by March
1, 2017, the working group to develop, through watershed-based
planning methods, a revitalization plan that addresses the unique and
diverse needs of the Lower Los Angeles River, that is consistent
with, enhances, and is incorporated into the County of Los Angeles's
Master Plan, and that includes watershed education programs. By
imposing additional duties on local officials, the bill would impose
a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the San
Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to
provide any necessary staffing to assist the working group.
   This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to
the necessity of a special statute for the Lower Los Angeles River.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
statutory provisions.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the
following:
   (a) The Los Angeles River has a complex ecological and political
history. The river originally ran freely along an alluvial flood
plain, which today is the City of Los Angeles. In the 1930's,
destructive flooding led the United States Army Corps of Engineers to
design and build facilities to minimize the impacts of future
floods, a process that included lining most of the river with
concrete. Since then, the city, county and federal government have
all played a role in restoring the Los Angeles River, including the
county's 1996 adoption of a master plan for developing and restoring
the entire Los Angeles River. The City of Los Angeles developed a
"revitalization plan" to restore the Upper Los Angeles River, which
lies within the city's boundaries. Most recently, the Corps of
Engineers approved "Alternative 20," a substantial restoration and
infrastructure project along the Upper Los Angeles River.
   (b) The City of Los Angeles was given responsibility for managing
the river's resources through a charter by the King of Spain at the
end of the 18th century. After serious floods in the 1930's, the
federal government, through the United States Army Corps of
Engineers, stepped in to take responsibility for building and
managing infrastructure projects to reduce the risk and damage from
flooding, with the county as the local partner. The county also works
with the city in managing the Upper Los Angeles River, where court
decisions have held that the King of Spain's charter gives the city
"pueblo" water rights with authority to manage the Upper Los Angeles
River's resources. The courts have not given the city authority over
the Lower Los Angeles River.
   (c) The State of California retains its sovereign authority to
manage the rivers within its boundaries, including the Los Angeles
River. Historically, however, it has not exercised that authority,
due to the dominance of the federal Army Corps of Engineers in
partnership with the county. The county's master plan addresses the
entire river but is close to two decades old, and would benefit from
renewed attention to resources and development, especially on the
lower river. The Lower Los Angeles River has many cities, but not one
city with the responsibility and the resources to invest in
restoration of that part of the Los Angeles River. There is therefore
opportunity and need for the State to aid in the development and
implementation of the county's Master Plan, especially for the Lower
Los Angeles River.
   (d) In 2014, California voters approved the Water Quality, Supply,
and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which included $60
million for the Los Angeles River, authorizing funding for both the
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which has responsibility for the
Upper Los Angeles River, and the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles
Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, which has responsibility for the
Lower Los Angeles River. The Water Quality, Supply, and
Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 allocated $30 million to each
conservancy for the purpose of multibenefit water quality, water
supply, and watershed protection and restoration projects for the
watersheds.
  SEC. 2.  Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 32622) is added to
Division 22.8 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
      CHAPTER 6.  LOWER LOS ANGELES RIVER WORKING GROUP

   32622.  (a) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall
appoint, in coordination with the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors, a local working group to develop a revitalization plan
for the Lower Los Angeles River, called the Lower Los Angeles River
Working Group. The working group shall include, but need not be
limited to, representatives from the conservancy, the County of Los
Angeles, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, the Los Angeles
Gateway Region Integrated Regional Water Management Joint Powers
Authority, elected officials of the cities riparian to the Los
Angeles River, and non-profit organizations serving the Los Angeles
River region.
   (b) On or before March 1, 2017, the working group shall develop,
through watershed-based planning methods, a revitalization plan that
addresses the unique and diverse needs of the Lower Los Angeles River
and the communities through which it passes. The plan shall be
consistent with, enhance, and be incorporated into, the County of Los
Angeles's Master Plan for the entire Los Angeles River. The plan
shall include watershed education programs that help the Los Angeles
River communities recognize the value of the river and the importance
of protecting the river's watershed resources and its vitality to
their communities.
   (c) The conservancy shall provide any necessary staffing to the
working group to assist in the development of the plan.
   (d) The development and implementation of the revitalization plan
may be eligible for funding from any public or private source,
including, but not limited to, funding pursuant to Section 79735 of
the Water Code. Entities that are eligible to implement the
revitalization plan include, but are not limited to, state agencies,
local agencies, and non-profit organizations, and may be eligible for
state funding.
  SEC. 3.  The Legislature finds and declares that a special law is
necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable within the
meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution
because of the Lower Los Angeles River's complex ecological and
political history and the unique obstacles the local governments of
the Lower Los Angeles River encounter when managing the river and its
surrounding areas.
  SEC. 4.  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this
act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local
agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant
to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of
the Government Code.