CNRA Releases Final Pathways to 30×30 Report
On Tuesday, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) hosted a webinar unveiling the agency’s Final Pathways to 30×30 Report and overviewing CNRA’s Natural Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy.
California’s “30×30 initiative” aims to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. As with its Draft Pathways to 30×30 Report, released in December, CNRA’s Final Report presently classes approximately 24% of the state’s lands as “conserved,” which CNRA defines as “durably protected and managed to sustain functional ecosystems, both intact and restored, and the diversity of life that they support.”
In response to the Draft Report, CCA and the California Cattlemen’s Foundation in February submitted detailed comments to CNRA regarding the 30×30 initiative. In particular, our organizations stressed that “all existing permanent conservation easements in California [ought to] be included in the baseline inventory for what is already conserved” and that the inventory should otherwise reflect the value of ranching for management, maintenance and conservation of the state’s open space.
While the Final Report stresses the value of conservation easements, though, it does not appear to expansively class them as “conserved.” More than 2 million acres of the state are preserved under conservation easements, but CNRA’s mapping tool for visualizing 30×30 only shows a little more than 768,000 acres of land under conservation easements as “conserved” for 30×30 purposes – likely a result of CNRA’s decision to only deem lands classified as “GAP 1” or “GAP 2” by the US Geological Survey GAP Analysis Program as “conserved.”
The state’s 30×30 initiative is not self-executing, but is merely a blueprint for how the state will aim to achieve conservation via future policy and regulatory initiatives. To “conserve” an additional six percent of the state’s lands to achieve 30% conservation by 2030, CNRA has laid out an appendix of “near term actions to jump-start 30×30.” Some of these actions may be favorable for the state’s cattle producers – efforts to “increase voluntary conservation easements,” for instance – while others may be more problematic (for example, additional acquisition of land by the state). CCA will continue to engage with CNRA and other relevant state agencies to shape these future regulatory and policy proposals in a manner most favorable to California’s cattlemen and will continue to advocate for recognition of lands already “conserved” by the state’s rangeland steward in the cattle industry.
For a deeper dive into the state’s Final Pathways to 30×30 Report, stay tuned for the May edition of CCA’s Hot Irons newsletter.
SWRCB Again Extends Curtailment Suspensions in the Scott River Watershed
On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) renewed its temporary suspension of all curtailments in the Scott River watershed through midnight this Friday, May 6. The temporary suspension will remain in place only so long as minimum flow requirements are sustained at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Fort Jones gage (the minimum flow requirement throughout May is 150 cubic feet per second). If flows dip below the minimum flow requirements, diversions under the water rights included in the SWRCB’s “List A1” must cease immediately.
You can find more information on drought in the Scott River watershed on the Scott River and Shasta River Drought webpage. For any questions about curtailment notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or email@example.com.
Anti-CAFO Legislation Dies in the Assembly
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) introduced Assembly Bill 2764, which would have prohibited the creation or expansion of “commercial animal feeding operations” with annual revenues over $100,000. The legislation was sponsored by radical animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere and strongly opposed by CCA. AB 2764 failed to receive a hearing in the Assembly Agriculture Committee prior to last week’s legislative deadline for fiscal bills to pass out of their first house policy committees, and as a result is dead for the year. For more on AB 2764, listen to today’s episode of CCA’s Sorting Pen podcast, read last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
Council on Environmental Quality Returns NEPA to Pre-2020 Regulations
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on April 20 released a final rule amending its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The amendments generally restore regulations that were in effect prior to NEPA reforms finalized by former President Trump’s CEQ in July of 2020. The final rule takes effect on May 20. For more information on CEQ’s rulemaking and its impact on NEPA analysis, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
CCA Joins Supreme Court Brief on Waters of the U.S.
CCA has joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in filing a “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Sackett v. EPA, which challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The brief urges the Supreme Court to adopt a clear, narrow definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that provides regulatory certainty for the nation’s cattle producers. For more information, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
Cattle Health Webinar Recordings Available
Video recordings from the University of California Cooperative Extension and University of California Davis Veterinary Medicine’s webinar series in March are now available. The video recordings and additional resources from the webinar series can be found at ucanr.edu/sites/Rangelands/CattleHealth. To learn more, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.