SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 353 by Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) passed the State Senate on Wednesday. The legislation will provide the environmental exemption needed for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department to begin its restoration project on Bouquet Creek.
Environmental damage to Bouquet Creek has created water access problems for nearby properties and flooding problems on the adjacent roadway.
“This is only the second time in California’s history that this type of environmental exemption has been granted,” stated Assemblyman Scott Wilk who also represents the Santa Clarita Valley. “It’s almost unheard of for first-term legislators to get these types of wins for their district. Securing this exemption for Bouquet Creek is a testament to Assemblyman Lackey’s ability to be effective in Sacramento.”
The Bouquet Creek has been badly damaged since 2004 when flooding caused large amounts of sediment to build up in the creek bed. This excess sediment has blocked portions of the creek and is the likely cause of nearby properties seeing their wells dry up due an inability for water to reach them and recharge them. It also causes flooding to occur on Bouquet Canyon Road during heavy rains.
State environmental laws had blocked the project because a fish native to Bouquet Creek is classified as a fully protected species. Fully protected species cannot be disturbed for any reason under current law, and AB 353 is only the second time an exemption has been granted.
“Restoring Bouquet Creek is a project 10 years in the making and today it took an important step forward,” stated Assemblyman Lackey of the proposed project by LA County. “The leadership of Mayor Antonovich is the only reason that Bouquet Creek habitat restoration project is possible.”
AB 353 will now head to the Governor for final approval in the next few days.
[Information via news release from the office of Assemblyman Tom Lackey.]