The Commission held its April 2019 meeting in Madera, California. Supervisor Brett Frazier, Chair of the Madera County Board of Supervisors and Chair of the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board, welcomed the Commission to Madera County. Santos Garcia, Vice-Chair and Councilmember for the City of Madera, also welcomed the Commission. Below is a snapshot of several significant Commission actions that occurred during the meeting.
The Commission voted to support AB 926 (O’Donnell), which will remove the $300 million cap on the Oil Trust Fund and resume monthly deposits from Long Beach oil operation revenues until the Fund reaches a balance that will cover the State’s projected abandonment liabilities. AB 926 will enable the State to significantly reduce its unfunded liability for the oil and gas operations offshore in the City of Long Beach. The Commission also voted to support AB 467 (Boerner Horvath), which seeks to provide more equity for women athletes by codifying a 2018 California State Lands Commission decision to require equal prize money for men and women athletes when competing on state property.
San Joaquin River Conservancy
The San Joaquin River Conservancy’s Executive Officer updated the Commission on the Conservancy’s efforts to develop and manage the San Joaquin River Parkway, a planned 22-mile natural and recreational area extending from Friant Dam to Highway 99. The Conservancy’s mission includes acquiring approximately 5,900 acres from willing sellers; developing, operating, and managing those lands for public access and recreation; and protecting, enhancing, and restoring riparian and floodplain habitat. The State Lands Commission is a member of the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board, along with the Department of Finance, the California Natural Resources Agency, the Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Parks, elected officials, and citizen members.
The Commission received an informational update about efforts to develop meaningful public access to the 8.5 miles of coast along Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County. The Gaviota Coast, of which Hollister Ranch is a significant part, is the least accessible stretch of coast in California, with less than 2 miles of publicly accessible shore in more than 60 miles of coastline. The Commission was updated about pending legislation to create public access at Hollister Ranch (AB 1680, Limòn) and about an innovative interagency agreement among the State Lands Commission, State Coastal Conservancy, State Parks and the Coastal Commission to expand and enhance public access. The Commission also viewed spectacular drone footage of the Hollister Ranch coastline from a recent mean high tide line survey conducted by our staff surveyors.
The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for June 28, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. in San Diego.