June 24, 2014 -
Ducks Unlimited is celebrating the recent amendment of SB 26 (Correa) in the California
Legislature, which would have strictly limited the ability of the Orange County Water District (OCWD) to lease its properties for non-district purposes, with the resulting impact potentially preventing duck clubs in the region from operating in the future, combined with a subsequent loss of habitat.
Having identified this concern, it was paramount for Ducks Unlimited
to work with the sponsors of AB 26 to seek amendments protecting the rights of those existing duck clubs in the affected areas.
"Clubs like these provide more than commercial benefit; their land management practices create habitat for many types of migratory birds and wildlife species and provide water quality benefits," said Mark Smith, Ducks Unlimited's Western Region Director of Public Policy
. "The sponsors of SB 26 have legitimate concerns that may require legislative oversight, but their initial approach inadvertently cast too wide a net, resulting in these potentially devastating effects to local duck clubs and habitat areas."
The amendments to the bill are an acknowledgement by the sponsors of SB 26 of the environmental and commercial value provided by these clubs, and a big victory for waterfowl hunters in Southern California
. Ducks Unlimited is pleased to have worked with our local partners and Senator Lou Correa's office to successfully address this issue before it became more problematic.