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Bill Orme, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Water Board Liz Haven, Asst. Deputy Director, Surface Water Regulatory Branch, State Water Board Dyan.

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Presentation on theme: "Bill Orme, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Water Board Liz Haven, Asst. Deputy Director, Surface Water Regulatory Branch, State Water Board Dyan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bill Orme, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Water Board Liz Haven, Asst. Deputy Director, Surface Water Regulatory Branch, State Water Board Dyan Whyte, Assistant Exec. Officer, SF Bay Regional Water Board

2  No consistent statewide policy exists  Water Boards are required to protect ALL “waters of the state”  Federal protection extends only to “waters of the U.S.,” a shrinking category  Wetlands developed as compensatory mitigation are losing functionality at an increasing rate  Aid in buffering climate change effects (flood protection, ground water recharge, carbon sequestration, sustaining plant and animal communities) Why a New Policy?

3 Loss of these vulnerable wetlands / riparian areas and associated benefits

4 State Water Board approved three- phase approach to develop statewide policy (April 2008) Staff directed to immediately begin work on Phase 1

5 Policy Phase 1  Develop a definition of wetlands for California  Develop a policy to provide protection from dredge and fill activities  Design a wetland regulatory mechanism with a watershed focus, based on CWA 404(b)(1) Guidelines  Design wetland assessment method(s) to monitor wetland protection and program effectiveness

6 Policy Phase 2  Expand the policy to protect wetlands from “all other activities impacting water quality”  Develop new or revised definitions of beneficial uses  Develop water quality objectives to protect beneficial uses  Design an implementation program to achieve objectives and protect wetland functions

7 Policy Phase 3  Extend the policy to protect water quality functions of riparian areas Develop new definitions of beneficial uses Develop water quality objectives Design an implementation program to achieve water quality objectives

8 Phase 1 Key Issues  Wetland Definition  Federal 404(b)(1) Guidelines (40 C.F.R. § (a)) 1. Avoidance First: Alternative Analysis 2. Minimize Second 3. Evaluation of Impacts 4. Mitigation Requirements  Wetland Condition Assessment

9 Statewide Wetlands Definition  Must accomplish mandates of Porter- Cologne and No Net Loss Policy  Must be broad enough to encompass the state’s diverse array of wetlands  Should be consistent, as far as possible, with other agencies’ definitions  Should use accepted field methods to identify wetland boundaries

10 404 (b)(1) Guideline Approach  Avoidance First: Alternatives Analysis “no discharge of dredged or fill material shall be permitted if there is a practicable alternative to the proposed discharge which would have less adverse impact on the aquatic ecosystem”

11 404 (b)(1) Guideline Approach Avoidance First: Alternatives Analysis (continued)  Flexibility Allowed: 1. Analysis should reflect the significance and complexity of the discharge activity 2. Applicants alternative is ok if impacts equivalent to alternatives 3. Reduction to aquatic impacts cannot be made at expense of other natural resources 4. Cost of alternative cannot be unreasonable

12 404 (b)(1) Guideline Approach  Minimize Second: Policy will require BMPs to minimize adverse impacts 1. Locating the discharge site appropriately 2. Erosion control; veg maintenance 3. Use of technology: types of culverts, types of machinery to lessen impacts on soil, water, wetlands

13 404 (b)(1) Guideline Approach  Minimize Second: BMPs (continued) 4. Plant and animal populations: buffers, exotic species, habitat, breeding season 5. Human use: recreation, aesthetics 6. Hydrograph: pre-project flows, channel stability, constrictions 7. Other: construction measures: hazard spill protection, road/bank erosion control, dust, noise, lights

14 404 (b)(1) Guideline Approach  EPA/Corps New Mitigation Rule: Highlights 1. For unavoidable impacts: “no net loss” goal: restore, enhance, establish, and preserve 2. Emphasizes “watershed approach” 3. Admin requirements : Mitigation Plan, Performance Standards, Monitoring, Site Management and Long-term Protection

15 Providing Mitigation  Permittee-responsible 1. On-site and/or in-kind 2. Off-site and/or out–of-kind  Third – party mitigation 1. Mitigation Banks 2. In – Lieu Fee

16 Watershed Approach To Mitigation  Level of information commensurate with impacts  Use existing plans, or available information on type, location, and condition of existing and historic aquatic resources  Identify/prioritize sites for restoration, enhancement, establishment, and preservation

17 Watershed Approach (continued)  Key is to sustain the aquatic functions in the affected watershed by replacing the impacted aquatic resource type in its particular landscape position  Replace the full suite of functions  May require buffers to protect site

18 Mitigation Plan  Identify objectives  Provide a work plan  Performance standards  Site protection instrument  Financial assurances  Monitoring  Long-term management plan

19 Performance Standards  Focus is on assessing success of outcomes, not completion of tasks  Based on attributes that are objective, verifiable, practicable, and enforceable  Can be based on functional assessment methodologies, or measurements of hydrology or other aquatic characteristics

20 Monitoring  To determine if performance standards are being met  At least 5 years, but long enough to show performance standards are met  Mitigation plan must include party responsible, what is measured, how and when; reporting  Adaptive management plan

21 Management of Site  Long-term site protection through real estate instrument or equivalent  Long-term management plan 1. Invasive species control, maintenance of hydrology, etc. 2. Identify responsible party 3. Funding arrangements

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