THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – JUNE 2018 NEWSLETTER
Recent Legislation Supported by ASCE Region 9
ASCE is supporting AB 1792 (Frazier D – Discovery Bay) that would authorize an affordable housing authority to provide for infrastructure, to support the development of affordable housing.
ASCE is also supporting AB 1905 (Grayson D – Concord) that is designed to reduce CEQA challenges by generally, prohibiting a court, in granting relief in an action or proceeding challenging a transportation project that would reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), is included in an approved sustainable communities strategy (SCS), and for which an environmental impact report (EIR) has been certified under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), from staying or enjoining the construction or operation of the project.
Two bills will permit advance grant payments for water projects serving disadvantaged communities are on ASCE’s support list. AB 2060 (Eduardo Garcia D – Coachella) and AB 2064 (Gloria D – San Diego) have slightly different approaches that will be ironed out later this year.
Brian Maienschein (R – San Diego) is author of ASCE supported AB 2062 that would require planting projects undertaken or approved by Caltrans to include, when appropriate, California native wildflowers and native and climate-appropriate vegetation as an integral and permanent part of the planting design, with priority given to those species of wildflower and native and climate-appropriate vegetation that will help rebuild pollinator populations.
If signed by Governor Brown, ASCE supported AB 2596 by Assembly member Ken Cooley (D Rancho Cordova) would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, also known as GO-Biz, to lead the preparation of a California Economic Development Strategic Action Plan.
Assembly member Chad Mayes (R – Yucca Valley) is author of ASCE supported ACA 21 that would create the California Infrastructure Investment Fund. The measure from the General Fund to the California Infrastructure Investment Fund in each fiscal year, an amount equal to up to 2.5% of the estimated General Fund revenues for that fiscal year. The measure would require, for the 2019–20 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, the amounts in the fund to be allocated, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for specified infrastructure investments, including the funding of deferred maintenance projects.
ASCE is supporting SB 961 (Allen D – Redondo Beach) that would enact the Second Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act, which would authorize a city, county, or city and county to adopt a resolution, at any time before or after the adoption of the infrastructure financing plan for an enhanced infrastructure financing district, to allocate tax revenues of that entity to the district, including revenues derived from local sales and use taxes imposed pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law or transactions and use taxes imposed in accordance with the Transactions and Use Tax Law, if the area to be financed is within one-half mile of a rail transit station or within 300 feet of a transit rich boulevard served by bus rapid transit or high-frequency bus service, as specified, and among other things, certain conditions relating to housing and the infrastructure financing plan are or will be met.
New Reports of Interest
The California Department of Water Resources released Water Available for Replenishment: Final Report that offers “An updated analysis of California’s water resources shows that investment, innovation, and infrastructure will be necessary to achieve the state’s goal of sustainable groundwater management. [T]he report provides an estimate of the amount of water available to replenish groundwater basins to help inform development of local water sustainability plans for critically overdrafted basins by 2020…. DWR estimates that 1.5 million acre-feet (MAF) of water may be available to replenish groundwater basins in an average year. This report analyzes water supply, demand, and runoff in 10 regions of the state to estimate how much surface water could be available to replenish groundwater basins. It provides a visual depiction of supply and demand in each region, as well as a range of potential water available for replenishment estimates.” (Press Release, Apr. 12, 2018).
The Public Policy Institute of California released Replenishing Groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley. “The San Joaquin Valley—which has the biggest imbalance between groundwater pumping and replenishment in the state—is ground zero for implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Expanding groundwater recharge could help local water users bring their basins into balance and make a dent in the long-term deficit of nearly 2-million acre feet per year…. A survey of valley water districts’ current recharge efforts revealed strong interest in the practice, and a number of constraints.” The PPIC report recommends actions to “better capitalize on future opportunities.” These are: clarify rules on water available for recharge; evaluate restructure capacity; improve recharge on farmland; address regulatory barriers; and strengthen groundwater accounting.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office released Improving California’s Forest and Watershed Management “Roughly one-third of California is forested, including the majority of watersheds that serve as the key originating water source for millions of people across the state. These forests also provide critical air, wildlife, climate and recreational benefits. However, a combination of factors have resulted in poor conditions across these forests and watersheds, including excessive vegetation density and an overabundance of small trees and brush. Such conditions have contributed to more prevalent and severe wildfires and unprecedented tree mortality in recent years.” In this report, the LAO reviews the importance and benefits of forests, provides information on how they are currently managed, reviews current conditions of forests and watersheds statewide and highlights shortcomings in how the state manages them, and recommends to the Legislature how the state’s forests’ and watersheds’ management can be improved.
Southern California Water Coalition has released “Stormwater Capture: Enhancing Recharge and Direct Use Through Data Collection,” assessing six water agencies in Southern California on 32 active stormwater capture projects, finds “an average of 13,400 acre-feet of stormwater per year was captured over a ten-year period, with a total capital cost of $132 million.”