The Lower American River Conservancy Program (Program) was created by Assembly Bill 1716 (PDF), and signed into law in 2016 and became effective January 1, 2017 (Public Resources Code, § 5845 et seq. (the “Enabling Statute”)). The Program was created to provide a state partner to work cooperatively with local agencies, particularly the County of Sacramento in its role as the American River Parkway (Parkway) Manager, and nonprofit organizations to help fund projects and provide grants to restore, enhance, interpret, protect and improve public access to the Parkway’s natural, recreational, educational and cultural resources. The Legislature’s intent was for the Program to be a continuation of the State’s historic role in providing funding to advance the protection and restoration of the natural resources of the lower American River while continuing the County’s historic role in managing the lands and public uses of the Parkway. In 2008, the County finalized the update of the American River Parkway Plan (Plan). The purpose of the Plan is to provide a guide for land use decisions affecting the Parkway and the preservation, use, development and administration of the Parkway.
The Program is administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). The Enabling Statue also created the Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee (Committee) (Public Resources Code §5845.4). The Committee consists of 12 members, including:
- Three members of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sacramento
- Two representatives of the City of Sacramento
- One representative of the City of Rancho Cordova
- Representatives from the Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Finance, and the State Lands Commission
- Three members from the public at large who have demonstrated knowledge of and expertise in the American River Parkway and the American River Parkway Plan
The Enabling Statute created the Lower American River Conservancy Fund (Fund) in the State Treasury (Public Resources Code §5845.9). Moneys in the Fund shall be available, upon appropriation, for the purposes of the Program including capital improvements, land acquisition, support for the Program’s operations, and other purposes consistent with the Enabling Statue. Priority shall be given to develop and implement a natural resources management plan and to improve access to, and for the protection and restoration of, the lower American River Parkway. The WCB’s voting members shall have final authority over project approval and funding. The Committee’s role is to act on each eligible project that passed the WCB Administrative Review and Sacramento County Review and either recommend it for funding to WCB’s voting board or deny the project at which point it will no longer be considered for funding. The Committee is mandated to convene at least twice each calendar year at one or more locations in Sacramento County and be open to the public.