State Senate bill seeks to expand fish screen monitoring

By: Parimal M. Rohit

SACRAMENTO — Lunches are not free, according to an adage popularized by a free market economist. Monitoring how well — or poorly — an underwater fish screen performs is not free, either. A state senator from the San Fernando Valley seeks to expand a law governing fish screen monitoring to establish how the costs of tracking the device’s performance are determined.

Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-San Fernando Valley) introduced Senate Bill 233 in February to amend a section of the Fish and Game Code to requiring fish screen owners to specify in its agreement with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife how the cost of monitoring screen performance is determined.

“This bill would additionally require the agreement to define the method of determining the cost of monitoring the screen’s performance,” a portion of the proposed bill stated.

California law currently regulates how fish screens are constructed and installed on conduits where electricity is transmitted to prevent fish passing through the conduit.

“Existing law requires, before the installation of any screen, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the owner to enter into an agreement that defines the method of determining the cost of maintenance, repairs, operation, and keeping the screen free of debris,” Hertzberg’s proposed law said.

Fish screen conduits are generally found in manmade waterways. The device is used to keep fish out of the waterway. Environmental groups argue the screens harm fish populations.

SB 233 was formally introduced Feb. 13. If approved and signed into law, SB 233 would amend Fish and Game Code 5993.

Stay tuned to FishRap and for updates on SB 233.

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