AB-2062 State highways: landscaping. (2017-2018)

AB-2062 State highways: landscaping. (2017-2018)

AMENDED IN SENATE  APRIL 30, 2018

AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY   MARCH 12, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE - 2017-2018 REGULAR SESSION

ASSEMBLY BILL

Introduced by Assembly Member Maienschein
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Acosta, Friedman, Gallagher, and Lackey

February 07, 2018

An act to amend Section 92.3 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highways.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

AB 2062, as amended, Maienschein. State highways: landscaping.

Existing law provides that the Department of Transportation has full possession and control of all state highways and associated property, and sets forth the powers and duties of the department with respect to the operation, maintenance, and improvement of state highways. Existing law authorizes the department to enter into an agreement to accept funds, materials, equipment, or services from any person for maintenance or roadside enhancement of a section of a state highway. Existing law requires the department to discontinue further water intensive freeway landscaping and to use drought resistant landscaping whenever feasible, taking into consideration specified factors.

This bill would require planting projects undertaken or approved by the department to include, when appropriate, appropriate and consistent with integrated pest management strategies, 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.

DIGEST KEY

Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no  


BILL TEXT

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

SECTION 1.

 Section 92.3 of the Streets and Highways Code is amended to read:

92.3.

 (a) The department shall do both of the following:

(1) Discontinue further water intensive freeway landscaping and use drought resistant landscaping whenever feasible, taking into consideration such factors as erosion control and fire retardant needs.

(2) Eliminate any dependency on imported water for landscaping as soon as practicable.

(b) The department shall require the use of recycled water for the irrigation of freeway landscaping when it finds and determines that all of the following conditions exist:

(1) The recycled water is of adequate quality and is available in adequate quantity for the proposed use.

(2) The proposed use of the recycled water is approved by the California regional water quality control board having jurisdiction.

(3) There is a direct benefit to the state highway program for the proposed use of recycled water.

(4) The recycled water is supplied by a local public agency or water public utility able to contract for delivery of water and the installation, maintenance, and repair of facilities to deliver the water.

(5) The installation of the water delivery facilities does not unreasonably increase any hazard to vehicles on the freeway or create unreasonable problems of highway maintenance and repair.

(c) In cooperation with local public agencies and water public utilities, the department shall permit local public agencies and water public utilities to place transmission lines for recycled water in freeway rights-of-way for use by the local public agencies and water public utilities to transmit recycled water to others, when to do so will promote a beneficial use of recycled water and that transmission does not unreasonably interfere with use of the freeway or unreasonably increase any hazard to vehicles on the freeway, subject to paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) and the following additional requirements:

(1) The local public agency or water public utility holds the department harmless for any liability caused by a disruption of service to other users of the recycled water and will defend the department in any resulting legal action and pay any damages awarded as a result of that disruption.

(2) The department, in cooperation with the local public agency or water public utility, may temporarily interrupt service in order to add to or modify its facilities without liability, as specified in paragraph (1).

(3) The local public agency or water public utility obtains and furnishes the department an agreement by all other users of recycled water from the transmission system holding the department harmless for any disruption in service.

(4) The local public agency or water public utility has furnished the department a list of other recycled water users and information on any backup system or other source of water available for use in case of a service disruption.

(5) The local public agency is responsible for the initial cost or any relocation cost of the recycled water transmission lines for service to other users in the right-of-way and waives its rights to require the department to pay the relocation costs pursuant to Sections 702 and 704.

(6) The local public agency or water public utility maintains the water transmission system subject to reasonable access for maintenance purposes to be negotiated between the department and the local public agency or water public utility.

(7) The department has first priority with respect to the recycled water supply contracted for by the department.

(8) The local public agency or water public utility installs an automatic control system which will allow the water transmission system to be shut down in case of an emergency. The department shall have access to all parts of the transmission system for purposes of the agreement.

(9) All transmission lines are placed underground and as close as possible to the freeway right-of-way boundary or at other locations authorized by the department.

(10) The plans and specifications for the recycled water transmission facilities have been approved by the department prior to construction.

(d) When appropriate, appropriate and consistent with integrated pest management strategies as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 14717 of the Government Code, planting projects undertaken or approved by the department shall include 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 wildflowers and native and climate-appropriate vegetation that will help rebuild pollinator populations.

(e) As used in this section:

(1) “Local public agency” means any local public agency that transmits or supplies recycled water to others.

(2) “Water public utility” means any privately owned water corporation that is subject to the jurisdiction and control of the Public Utilities Commission.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2062

BILL ANALYSIS:

SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING
Senator Jim Beall, Chair
2017 - 2018 Regular

Bill No:  AB 2062          Hearing Date:  5/15/18
Author:  Maienschein
Version: 4/30/2018
Urgency: No                  Fiscal:  Yes
Consultant:  Manny Leon

SUBJECT:  State highways: landscaping

DIGEST: This bill requires the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to include California native wildflowers and climate-appropriate vegetation in planting projects, as specified.

ANALYSIS:

Existing law:

1) Provides that Caltrans has full possession and control of all state highways and associated property.

2) Authorizes Caltrans to take any act necessary, convenient, or proper for the construction, improvement, maintenance, or use of all highways within its jurisdiction.

3) Requires Caltrans, where practical or desirable, to replace trees that have been destroyed or removed because of projects undertaken to widen the highway.

4) Requires Caltrans to use drought resistant landscaping along freeways whenever feasible, taking into consideration such factors as erosion control and fire retardant needs.

This bill:

1) Requires Caltrans, when appropriate, to include California native wildflowers and native and climate-appropriate vegetation in planting projects.

2) Provides that a priority shall be given to those species of wildflowers that will help rebuild pollinator populations.

COMMENTS:

1) Purpose. According to the author, “Honeybees and pollinators alike are vital to the success of California’s agricultural industry and play an important role in our daily lives. One in every three bites of food consumed around the world depends on pollination, in particular bee pollination. We must secure California’s bee population to ensure the future success and well-being of our state. There is no single cause for the decline of our bee populace; however, the increase of foraging opportunities is one solution that will promote pollinator health year-round. California’s highway landscape is the perfect place to increase pollinator friendly vegetation to increase pollinator foraging opportunities.”

2) Existing requirements. Highway landscaping requirements currently exist in both Caltrans’ Highway Design Manual and Maintenance Manual. Specifically, the highway design manual notes in chapter 900, “planting and irrigation design should minimize ongoing intensive maintenance activities” and specifies conserving water by “using regionally appropriate drought tolerate native and non-native plants that will require little or no supplemental water… select and arrange regionally appropriate drought tolerant native and non-native plants to be visually and culturally compatible with local indigenous plant communities and the surrounding landscape.”

3) Pollinators. Pollinators, specifically the honey bee, are essential to the agricultural industry of our state and nation. In the United States, bees pollinate crops valued at more than $15 billion per year including many varieties of fruits, vegetables, and plants such as alfalfa and clover to feed cattle and other grazing animals. The author asserts that California’s bee population has declined in recent years due to multiple factors including lack of foraging opportunity, parasitic infestation, and pesticide use. California must secure its bee population to ensure the future success and well-being of the state. While both the Highway Design Manual and Maintenance Manual do in fact contain similar landscaping requirements as provided in this bill, existing requirements are silent on placing a priority on wildflowers and native plants that would benefit pollinator populations when appropriate. This bill will provide that clarification.

FISCAL EFFECT: Appropriation: No Fiscal Com.: Yes Local: No

Assembly votes:

Floor: 68-0
Approps: 15-0
Trans: 13-0

POSITIONS: (Communicated to the committee before noon on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.)

SUPPORT:

California State Beekeepers Association

Center for Food Safety

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Pesticide Action Network North America

OPPOSITION:

None received.

-END-

 Bill Analysis

(NOTE: Funds raised throughout the year by the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association support the California State Beekeepers Association in bee research and legislation such as AB-2062. Thank you to Anastasia Butler, attorney for the Sustainable Law Group, PC for providing information re AB-2062.)