Article 4. Ecological Reserves of California Fish And Game Code >> Division 2. >> Chapter 5. >> Article 4.

The Legislature hereby declares that the policy of the state is to protect threatened or endangered native plants, wildlife, or aquatic organisms or specialized habitat types, both terrestrial and nonmarine aquatic, or large heterogeneous natural gene pools for the future use of mankind through the establishment of ecological reserves. For the purpose of establishing those ecological reserves, the department, with the approval of the commission, may obtain, accept on behalf of the state, acquire, or control, by purchase, lease, easement, gift, rental, memorandum of understanding, or otherwise, and occupy, develop, maintain, use, and administer land, or land and nonmarine water, or land and nonmarine water rights, suitable for the purpose of establishing ecological reserves. Any property obtained, accepted, acquired, or controlled by the department pursuant to this article may be designated by the commission as an ecological reserve. The commission may adopt regulations for the occupation, utilization, operation, protection, enhancement, maintenance, and administration of ecological reserves. The ecological reserves shall not be classified as wildlife management areas pursuant to Section 1504 and shall be exempt from Section 1504.
Any property acquired in fee for ecological reserves shall be acquired in the name of the state, and shall, at all times, be subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed from time to time by the commission for the occupation, use, operation, protection, and administration of such property as ecological reserves.
The department shall do all things necessary to secure a valid title in the state to the property acquired in fee for ecological reserves but no payment shall be made therefor until the title is vested in and satisfactory to the state. No such land will be acquired by eminent domain.
Except in accordance with the regulations of the commission it is unlawful to enter upon any ecological reserves established under the provisions of this article, or to take therein any bird or the nest or eggs thereof, or any mammal, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibia, reptiles or any other form of plant or animal life.
As used in this article, "ecological reserve" means land or land and water areas that are designated as an ecological reserve by the commission pursuant to Section 1580 and that are to be preserved in a natural condition, or which are to be provided some level of protection as determined by the commission, for the benefit of the general public to observe native flora and fauna and for scientific study or research.
Notwithstanding Section 1580, which sets forth the primary purposes of ecological reserves, the department may construct facilities and conduct programs in ecological reserves it selects to provide natural history education and recreation if those facilities and programs are compatible with the protection of the biological resources of the reserve. As provided in Sections 1764 and 1765, the department may control access, use, and collect fees for selected ecological reserves.
The Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Maintenance and Preservation Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, the money in the fund is continuously appropriated, without regard to fiscal years, to the department for purposes related to the maintenance and preservation of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve.
(a) The Mirage Trail within the Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve shall be open nine months of the year during the months of May to January, inclusive, and closed for three months during the months of February to April, inclusive, to recreational hiking if the commission determines that all of the following conditions are met:
  (1) Local public agencies or other nonstate entities will assume complete financial responsibility for the following as determined to be necessary by the commission:
  (A) Fencing to dissuade hikers from traversing beyond the trail and into sensitive Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat.
  (B) Signage and educational materials to educate hikers about Peninsular bighorn sheep.
  (2) A single entity has been designated to fulfill the financial arrangements and other terms and conditions determined by the commission to be necessary pursuant to paragraph (1).
  (3) The entity designated pursuant to paragraph (2) has committed to expend at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) by January 1, 2018, to monitor the Peninsular bighorn sheep, consistent with the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
  (b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2018, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2018, deletes or extends that date.