Legislative Update

February 10, 2017

Brian White, KP Public Affairs and FLC Legislative Advocate
Larry Camp, FLC Legislative Update

The Legislative session has begun with new the appointment of new committee chairs, and the beginning of a new legislative session. Information on the new Committee chairs can be found below this update. Some of the emphasis in budget priorities may change given the significant damage to state and county roads and the Oroville dam crisis.

We will continue to monitor these issues and keep the membership updated.

Three bills affecting forestry have been introduced to date.

ASSEMBLY BILL No.362 by Assembly Member Wood.  The language in its current form is intended as a place holder while staff works with FLC, CLFA, CAL FIRE and others to develop language that will make the CFIP program more accessible to more land owners.

ASSEMBLY BILL No. 425 by Assembly Member Caballero (Co-author: Assembly Member Dahle). This bill deals with construction of temporary roads of up to 600 feet for the Forest Fire Prevention Pilot program. The bill is sponsored by the California Forestry Association.

A third proposal dealing with prescribed fire and landowner liability is currently under review and will likely be introduced this session.

Agency News

Wildlife

Through the efforts of the California Forestry Association, FLC and several timber company representatives, the proposed findings of the California Fish and Game Commission were returned to staff for a rewrite to recognize that timber harvesting if proposed and executed under the current CAL FIRE regulations is not a threat to the Northern Spotted Owl (NSO). We will continue to review the proposed findings before they are approved at the April Fish and Game Commission meeting in April. However, since the “findings” have not yet been “ratified,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) considers the NSO a candidate.

At the same meeting the Commission accepted a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list the foothill yellow-legged frog. It is suggested that landowners discuss the issue with your forester in the near future.  We will try and post a copy of the petition on the website in the near future. The bibliography of the petition has a number of comprehensive references about the frog. As starting point begin with Hayes, M.P., C.A. Wheeler, A.J. Lind, G.A. Green and D.C. Macfarlane (Technical Coordinators). 2016. Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog Conservation Assessment in California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-248, which is available through the internet for free.

Forest Practice

The Board of Forestry continues to work on revisions to the Cumulative Impact Analysis section dealing the additional issues of Greenhouse Gases and Fire.

CAL FIRE held a recent webinar to answer question about the proposed revisions to the timber harvesting plan form in an electronic format that may provide a way to reduce plan return and make the process more transparent. The initial plan is to focus on Exemptions and Emergency Notices. No definitive time has been set for the debut of this program yet although the goal is to complete work in the next 18 to 24 months.

The Board received a petition from EPIC to enact new language regulating the use of Emergency Notices. The Board will likely make a decision on the petition at it March meeting March 7 and 8. A copy of the petition and proposed changes is available here.

CAL FIRE has posted the draft of the Forest Carbon Action Plan on its website. While focused on history and policy, regulations that could result from adoption of the plan could affect management of your timberlands.