Chapter 4.1. California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program of California Fish And Game Code >> Division 2. >> Chapter 4.1.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the California Riparian Habitat Conservation Act.
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
  (a) California's rivers, wetlands, and waterways, and the fisheries and wildlife habitat they provide, are valuable and finite resources that benefit the people of the state and are threatened with deterioration or degeneration that may endanger the natural beauty and productivity of these valuable resources.
  (b) The public interest requires the coordinated protection of rivers and riparian resources in order to maintain an equilibrium between the natural endowment of, and manmade alterations to, California's river environment, and in order to preserve the scenic beauty of these natural resources and the recreational and economic benefits they provide.
  (c) By virtue of the special conditions and circumstances of the natural ecology, the increasing human populations and needs in the state, and the numerous governmental agencies with an interest in coordinating activities which affect rivers and riparian habitat resources, there is a need for a coordinated state rivers and riparian habitat protection program.
The Wildlife Conservation Board shall establish and administer, through the department, the California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program pursuant to this chapter and Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1300). The purpose and goal of the program is to protect, preserve, and restore riparian habitats throughout the state by the acquisition of interests and rights in real property and waters to the extent deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of the program.
The board, pursuant to this chapter, shall approve projects to acquire, preserve, restore, and enhance riparian habitat throughout the state, and coordinate its activities undertaken pursuant to this program with other resources protection activities of the board and other state agencies.
The preservation and enhancement of riparian habitat shall be a primary concern of the Wildlife Conservation Board and the department, and of all state agencies whose activities impact riparian habitat, including the Department of Conservation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the State Coastal Conservancy, the California Conservation Corps, the California Tahoe Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the California Coastal Commission, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the State Lands Commission.
In order to accomplish the objectives of this chapter, the Wildlife Conservation Board may authorize the department to do all of the following:
  (a) Acquire interests in real property and water rights through gift, purchase, lease, easement, and transfer or exchange of easements, development rights or credits, and other interests in real property.
  (b) Coordinate its activities under the program with any governmental program for surplus real property sales in the state.
  (c) Award grants and loans to local public agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations for the purposes of this program.
  (d) For the purposes of this chapter, "nonprofit organization" means any private, nonprofit organization which qualifies for exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and has among its principal charitable purposes the preservation of real property for scientific, historic, educational, recreational, scenic or open-space values, the protection of the natural environment, or the preservation and enhancement of fisheries and wildlife or their habitat.
  (e) Exercise any authority and comply with requirements contained in Sections 1348 and 1350, as appropriate, to preserve and enhance riparian habitat for purposes of this chapter.
Grants to nonprofit organizations pursuant to Section 1390 for the acquisition of real property or interests therein shall be subject to all of the following conditions:
  (a) The purchase price of any interest in real property acquired by the nonprofit organization may not exceed fair market value as established by an appraisal approved by the Wildlife Conservation Board.
  (b) The Wildlife Conservation Board approves the terms under which the interest in real property is acquired.
  (c) The interest in real property acquired pursuant to a grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board may not be used as security for any debt to be incurred by the nonprofit organization unless the board approves the transaction.
  (d) The transfer of real property acquired pursuant to a grant shall be subject to the approval of the Wildlife Conservation Board and the execution of an agreement between the board and the transferee sufficient to protect the interest of the State of California.
  (e) The state shall have a right of entry and power of termination in and over all interests in real property acquired with state funds, which may be exercised if any essential term or condition of the grant is violated.
  (f) If the existence of the nonprofit organization is terminated for any reason, title to all interest in real property acquired with state funds shall immediately vest in the state. However, prior to that termination, upon approval of the board, another public agency or nonprofit organization may receive title to all or a portion of that interest in real property by recording its acceptance of title in writing. Any deed or other instrument of conveyance whereby real property is being acquired by a nonprofit organization pursuant to this section shall be recorded and shall set forth the executory interest or right of entry on the part of the state.