Improving protections for California’s free-flowing rivers is particularly important given the Trump Administration and Republican-controlled Congress are seeking to weaken federal environmental laws and protections.
That is why Friends of the River is sponsoring Assembly Bill 975 to improve the management and protection of California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers. Authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, AB 975 strengthens the state Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to be more consistent and complementary with the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act which currently offers a greater level of protection. Specifically, the bill:
- Ensures that more than 1,295 miles of rivers and stream in California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers System are recognized for the same extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, and wildlife values that are recognized in the federal system.
- Defines the “immediate environments” of designated rivers as “the corridor of land within one-quarter mile” of designated river segments.
- Requires state agencies protect the free-flowing state and extraordinary values of state designated rivers.
These changes simply bring the state system more in line and consistent with the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by recognizing the same geographic scope of the river corridor and the remarkable values of federally designated rivers.
With more pressure than ever before on our river systems from population growth, development, drought, and floods, it is important that California improve its management of wild and scenic rivers to ensure that these waterways are preserved and protected for present and future generations.
This bill will be heard soon in committee and we’ll need your help! Please take a moment to sign up to receive the River Advocate so you can get the latest information and contact your legislator.