Wildlife Diseases - Authority & Jurisdiction - California

The department shall investigate all diseases of, and problems relating to, birds, mammals, or fish, and establish and maintain laboratories to assist in such investigation.

Citation: Cal. Fish & Game Code § 1008.

Upon the recommendation of the department and after consultation with the Aquaculture Disease Committee created pursuant to this chapter, the commission shall compile a list of diseases and parasites and the aquatic plants and animals they are known to infect or parasitize. All government activities relating to aquaculture disease detection, control, and eradication that do not affect human health and safety are the responsibility of the department.

Citation: Cal. Fish & Game Code § 15500.

If any of the diseases or parasites listed pursuant to Section 15500 is found to exist which the director, in consultation with the Aquaculture Disease Committee and consistent with the regulations adopted under Section 15504, deems to be detrimental to the aquaculture industry or to wild stocks of aquatic plants and animals, the director may do any of the following:

(a) Establish the area to be quarantined and list the aquatic plants and animals affected by it.

(b) Post notices describing, as nearly as possible, the boundaries of an area within which specific disease or parasite infestations are found. Notices posted pursuant to this subdivision shall be published once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the infected area is located. If there is no newspaper of general circulation in that county, then the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation published in an adjoining county.

(c) Hold and impound diseased or parasitized plants and animals.

(d) Forbid, prevent, or restrict the movement of all plants and animals subject to the disease or parasite from or into the area, or from place to place within it, during the existence of the quarantine.

(e) Order the destruction and disposal of diseased or parasitized plants and animals consistent with Section 15504.

Citation:  Cal. Fish & Game Code § 15505.

The Aquaculture Disease Committee may recommend regulations to the commission designed to safeguard wild and cultured organisms from the list of harmful organisms compiled pursuant to Section 15500.

Citation: Cal Fish & Game Code § 15503.

Except as otherwise provided in Division 12 (commencing with Section 15000), all fish, amphibia, or aquatic plants found to be infected, diseased, or parasitized are a public nuisance and shall be summarily destroyed by the department.

Citation: Cal. Fish & Game Code § 6302.

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Avian influenza and other emerging diseases of wildlife are a serious threat to the people of California.

(b) California is home to large populations of migratory birds and other wildlife species.

(c) California is a central part of the Pacific Flyway, and a seasonal home to species of birds that migrate to and from Asia, Central America, South America, and other regions.

(d) Surveillance of wild birds and animals across the state is a key element among efforts to prevent avian influenza and other emerging wildlife diseases from harming the people and the natural resources of the state.

(e) In the interest of public health, the state shall support a surveillance program for avian influenza in wild bird and animal populations.

Citation: Cal. Fish & Game Code § 3861.

The Natural Resources Agency, in consultation with the department, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the State Department of Public Health, the Office of Emergency Services, and the University of California, shall develop and implement a plan for the surveillance, monitoring, sampling, diagnostic testing, and reporting of avian influenza in wild birds and animals in the state. The Natural Resources Agency shall consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Department of Food and Agriculture in developing the plan.

Citation: Cal. Fish & Game Code § 3862.

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The need for expanding the current efforts to slow the spread of sudden oak death grows more urgent with the discovery of each new plant host and the spread of the disease to an increasing number of counties.

(b) The cause of sudden oak death, a fungus known as Phytophthora ramorum, has only recently been discovered. There is currently no known cure for trees and other plant species infected with this fungus, leaving removal as the only current option. Although costly, infected trees and other plant species can be removed.

(c) Ten counties have now confirmed the presence of sudden oak death in several trees and other plant species. The counties are Marin, Sonoma, Monterey, Mendocino, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Solano, and Alameda. Trees and other plant species in several other counties are potentially affected with sudden oak death, but are not yet confirmed.

(d) In addition to the tens of thousands of tanoaks (Lithocarpus densiflorus), coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia), and black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) that are currently dying of Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus has also been confirmed in Shreve's oak (Quercus parvula, var. shrevei), rhododendron (Rhododendron species, except azaleas), California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica), madrone (Arbutus menziesii), huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), arrowwood (Viburnum x bodnantense), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), California buckeye (Aesculus californica), California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), a honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita), and Toyon or Christmas berry (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Several more species are suspected of infestation.

(e) Research is urgently needed to determine the range of host trees and other plants that may be infected, to help develop sufficient control strategies.

(f) There is now a significant danger that sudden oak death may spread to other regions of California, other states, or countries. Currently, federal agencies, California, Oregon, Canada, and South Korea have imposed quarantines in an attempt to halt the spread of the fungus.

(g) The effect of the spread of this devastating disease is potentially disastrous: massive die-offs of oak trees covering thousands of acres; a serious increase in fire threats in areas that include densely populated areas; a dramatic change in forest cover and ecosystems with a devastating effect on California's wildlife; and severe consequences to California's economy, including threats to tourism and the continued sale of nursery stock and forest products.

(h) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide continuing funding to the Resources Agency for its program to combat sudden oak death. Funding is necessary to address this situation quickly and adequately, and to ensure that necessary actions are taken to protect the public safety and the environment. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, with recommendations from the California Oak Mortality Task Force, administer this program.

Citation: Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 4750.1.