LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

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Date: March 9, 2020

From Headquarters

Water Measurement and Reporting Workshops Planned for April 14
On January 1, 2018, CCA-sponsored Assembly Bill 589 became law. This bill allows any water diverter who has completed an instructional course on measurement devices and methods administered by the University of California Cooperative Extension, including passage of a proficiency test, to be considered a qualified individual when installing and maintaining devices or implementing methods of measurement.

The University of California Cooperative Extension is hosting two of these Water Measurement and Reporting Workshops on April 14.

At the workshop attendees will:

  • Clarify reporting requirements for ranches.
  • Understand what meters are appropriate for different situations.
  • Learn how to determine measurement equipment accuracy.
  • Develop an understanding of measurement weirs.
  • Learn how to calculate and report volume from flow data.

There will be a limited number of trainings offered in 2020. If you need this training, register soon.

One course will be held at the Shasta College Farm in Redding. If interested in attending, contact Larry Forero (lcforero@ucanr.edu) or Sara Jaimes (sbjaimes@ucanr.edu) or call the Shasta UCCE office at (530) 224-4900. Training will begin at 8:00 am and conclude at 11:30 am. Registration material for the Redding workshop can found here.

The second course will be hosted at the Yolo County Cooperative Extension in Woodland. For more information contact Morgan Doran (mpdoran@ucanr.edu) or call the UCCE office at (530) 666-8143. Training will begin at 2:30 pm and conclude at 5:30 pm. Registration material for the Woodland workshop can be found here.

LAST CHANCE: Comment Today on Council on Environmental Quality NEPA Rules
On January 9, the Trump Administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued pro-posed regulations improving implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed amendments are intended to “facilitate more efficient, effective and timely NEPA re-views,” according to a CEQ fact sheet. The current average timeframe for NEPA reviews—which impact authorization of range improvements and renewal of term grazing permits for ranchers graz-ing on federal land—is four and a half years.

Regulations implementing NEPA—signed into law in 1970—were last substantively revised more than thirty years ago, in 1986.

The proposed regulations suggest streamlining NEPA analysis in part by limiting the “effects” of proposed federal actions that agencies like the BLM and US Forest Service must consider; currently, federal agencies consider direct, indirect and cumulative effects of proposed actions, but the proposed amendments would direct agencies to consider only those effects which are “reasonably foreseeable and have a reasonably close causal relationship to the proposed action,” reducing agencies’ workload and limiting the analysis that potential environmental litigants can scrutinize.

The proposal also promotes the use of more efficient analyses, encouraging the use of categorical exclusions (actions which are exempted from detailed review) and environmental assessments (which are less burdensome than environmental impact statements), and CEQ proposes time limits and page limits on environmental analyses to ensure that most NEPA reviews are completed within two years.

CCA welcomes CEQ’s announcement of the proposed rulemaking, as reforming and streamlining NEPA analysis has been a focus of CCA and CCA’s public lands permittees in recent years.

To provide comments to CEQ in support of the proposed rulemaking, click here and click “Comment Now!” prior to March 10. Comments can also be made through NCBA and PLC’s hosted online comment submission platform, which can be accessed at by clicking here.

Lahontan Water Board to Host Public Workshops on Bacteria Water Quality Objectives
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is hosting four staff-led public workshops across the Lahontan region in March regarding the region’s Bacteria Water Quality Objectives.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has long had the most stringent bacterial water quality objective in the state: Lahontan regulations require that water samples find no more than 20 colony-forming-units (CFUs) of fecal coliform per 100 milliliters (mL) of water. By contrast, the statewide standard set in 2018 by the State Water Resources Control Board—which measures the specific indicator bacteria E. coli rather than fecal coliform generally—is 100CFU/100mL.

CCA and ranchers throughout the Lahontan region have long challenged the region’s onerous bacterial water quality standard. The 20CFU/100mL benchmark was initially intended to safeguard the waters of Lake Tahoe and should not be applied throughout the entirety of the region. The stringent water quality standard is impossible to meet throughout much of the region, creating a regulatory nightmare for ranchers and placing them on an uneven playing field with ranchers elsewhere within the state and elsewhere within the nation.

In February, CCA encouraged ranchers to take the Lahontan Board’s Bacteria Water Objectives Survey and report that they favor the statewide E. coli objective of 100CFU/100mL.

CCA now encourages ranchers in the Lahontan region to attend a workshop and share with Regional Board staff, local public health officials, and other subject matter experts why the 20CFU/100mL benchmark should be replaced with the statewide E. coli objective of 100CFU/100mL. The upcoming public workshops are:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – 5:30pm, Mojave Water Agency, 13846 Conference Center Drive, Apple Valley, CA 92307
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 – 5:30pm, Tallman Pavilion, Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair 1234 Sierra Street, Bishop, CA 93514
Thursday, March 26, 2020 – 5:30pm, Lahontan Water Board Annex Hearing Room, 971 Silver Dollar Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Monday, March 30, 2020 – 5:30pm, Jensen Hall, Lassen County Fair, 195 Russell Avenue, Susanville, CA 96130

For information regarding the Lahontan or State bacterial water quality standards, contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.

CDFW Expands “Three Strikes” Mountain Lion Policy to Central Coast and Southern California
On February 13, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a memo expanding its “three strikes” mountain lion depredation policy to the Central Coast and Southern California regions. The memo makes clear that the policy is in response to the recent petition to list mountain lions in the region as threatened, stating that the policy’s geographic extent includes “the full extent of the proposed Southern California and Central Coast [Evolutionarily Significant Unit] boundary as set forth in the petition to list the ESU of mountain lion as threatened under CESA, which was recently filed with the Fish and Game Commission.”
 
Under the policy, CDFW will only permit non-lethal “take” of a mountain lion (e.g. pursuit and hazing) after the first and second instances in which a mountain lion is confirmed to have perpetrated a depredation of livestock or domestic animals. Only upon the third confirmed depredation by a mountain lion will CDFW issue a lethal take depredation permit.
 
Beginning in December of 2017, CDFW issued the policy for mountain lions in portions of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Ana Mountains. CCA and other agriculture organizations have challenged the legality of the policy.
 
The memo also declares that “all mountain lion depredation permits within the” region “will require the convening of a Response Guidance Team (RGT) and no final permit decision will be made without RGT/headquarters involvement and approval.”
 
The policy does not appear to impact one’s ability to take a mountain lion caught in the act of depredation. Fish and Game Code § 4807(a) is clear that “any mountain lions that is encountered while in the act of pursuing, inflicting injury to, or killing livestock, or domestic animals, may be taken immediately by the owner of the property or the owner’s employee or agent” so long as the take is reported to CDFW within 72 hours.
 
CCA believes that the three-strike policy is contrary to California law, and is pressing CDFW to reverse the policy. To see CDFW’s memo (including a map of the policy’s geographic boundaries), click here.

GET INVOLVED: Tell Fish & Game Commission Not to List Mountain Lions as Threatened
Last month, the California Fish and Game Commission received more than 4,500 comments in favor of a petition to list mountain lions as threatened throughout the Central Coast and Southern California.
 
Most of those 4,500 comments likely came from supporters of the Center for Biological Diversity, which on February 7 emailed its vast network of contacts asking them to “Tell the California Fish and Game Commission…It must grant these mountain lions protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act.” 

While CCA has vocally opposed the petition, to ensure that CBD’s vocal members do not drown out ranchers’ voices it is essential that ranchers write to the Commission and tell them that mountain lions should not be protected under California’s Endangered Species Act. The most successful comments will be those that address mountain lion impacts to your ranch and likely impacts that mountain lion protections would have upon your operation. Any information you may have about mountain lion population abundance in Southern California or the Central Coast may also be valuable.
 
Because the Commission has yet to release its agenda for its April 15-16 hearing, CCA encourages you to send your letters to CCA’s Kirk Wilbur at kirk@calcattlemen.org or by mail to the CCA office. Letters should be addressed to Eric Sklar, President; California Fish and Game Commission; 1416 9th Street, Room 1320; Sacramento, CA 95814.

CCA Encourages Ranchers to Report Current Conditions to Update U.S. Drought Monitor
Producers across the state have commented that the drought monitor ratings for California, which determine access to forage programs, do not reflect the current conditions on the ground—especially after a dry month of February.

CCA encourages ranchers to report current conditions to update the U.S. Drought Monitor. If you would like to share information on conditions or impacts due to dryness or drought, please use the established protocol to do so by visiting The National Drought Mitigation Center’s website here and selecting the “Submit a Report” tab. From this page you can view and submit the conditions that you would like to report.

Click here to go directly to the submission form.
View the latest map released here.

CCA in the News

California to consider placing mountain lions on endangered list KCBX “Wilbur said mountain lions—also called cougars or pumas—have a significant effect on ranchers financially, and in general, ranchers don’t want the big cats protected under the CESA. He said he hopes the commission takes that stance into consideration.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

Gov. Newsom’s dad helped protect California mountain lions. Now his son faces the fallout The Sacramento Bee “Thirty years ago, California voters approved a ballot initiative championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s father, William Newsom, that banned mountain lion hunting in the state. The initiative was approved in part because it secured protections for ranchers to shoot mountain lions that kill or maim their livestock.” To continue reading, click here.

Upcoming Events

CCA Steak & Eggs Legislative Breakfast
March 25, Sacramento, CA
For more information, click here. RSVP today!

CCA Feeder Meeting
May 20-22, San Diego, CA
For more information, click here.

CCA Midyear Meeting & Cattle PAC Auction
June 17-19, Paso Robles, CA
For more information, click here.

California Cattlemen Cover March 2020

California Cattleman

Click here to read the latest issue!

The Angus breed, in addition to SimAngus, Simmental and Brangus are the focus of this year’s March issue. Perspectives from each of these respective breed associations is found in this month’s editorial.

Additionally, this issue includes recaps of both the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale and the 2020 California Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

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