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Marin County Watershed Stewardship Plan

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Presentation on theme: "Marin County Watershed Stewardship Plan"— Presentation transcript:

1 Marin County Watershed Stewardship Plan
This plan is being developed as part of Marin County Department of Public Works’ Watershed Stewardship Program. During this presentation, we’ll give you a brief overview of the planning process. After the presentation, we’ll be happy to take comments and answer questions. Watershed Stewardship Program

2 Countywide Watershed Program
The watershed program provides a framework to integrate flood protection, creek and wetland restoration, fish passage and water quality improvements with public and private partners to protect and enhance Marin’s watersheds. Program was authorized by the Board at May 13 meeting. Plan is to work with city partners to bring the Ross Valley approach to municipalities to augment FZ appropriations to expedite timeframe for implementation. Focus of the plan is to facilitate project implementation. Watershed Stewardship Program

3 Watershed-Focused Stakeholder Outreach
Marin Cities and Towns Marin County Parks and Open Space District Marin County Community Development Agency Marin County Fire Department Marin County Service Areas Flood Zone Advisory Boards Marin Municipal Water District North Marin Water District Stinson Beach Water District Inverness Public Utility District Sanitary Districts Community Service Districts Watershed Groups Federal Regulatory Agencies State Regulatory Agencies National Park Service State Parks NBWA and Watershed Council The Bay Institute These are the stakeholders identified so far, more to come! Watershed level outreach-committees for each watershed Three committees-PAC, Financial and Technical Working Group Watershed Stewardship Program

4 Benefits of Watershed Approach
Supports and guides protection and enhancement of Marin County’s significant natural resources. Incorporates experience gained from Ross Valley Program. Supports integrated efforts to comply with Federal and State environmental regulations. Identifies critical projects and assists with funding and permitting. Facilitates flow of State and Federal funds to local municipalities. Acknowledges interconnectedness of dynamic natural processes and human use. Integrates policy, water management, land use practices and education to effect change. Since RV program was established $1,000,000 in grants have flowed into watershed compared to initial 500k investment. SCC 130k Fema 350 SFEP 500? Watershed Stewardship Program

5 Purpose of the Stewardship Plan
Collect existing conditions information for each watershed and water management infrastructure in one place. Synthesize information into key issues for each watershed; for example, water management and ecological issues. Assess watershed health and use as a tool to guide project prioritization. Explore opportunities for integrated watershed management. Provide information, criteria, and prioritized actions to support the Marin County Department of Public Works and other stakeholders’ efforts to promote watershed health. Demonstrate the elements and process of creating a watershed work plan that identifies specific, prioritized, multi-benefit projects. KEY ISSUE EXAMPLES: Because of historic and ongoing alterations, lower Novato Creek is no longer able to adapt to large storms or significant changes in the upper watershed while still maintaining its natural functions of transporting flood flows and sediment, and providing diverse instream and wetland habitat. Causes of extensive flooding are the weather and rainfall characteristics of high intensity and short duration rainfall in the Ross Valley, combined with the constrictions at structures that slow or block water flow. Plan to be posted to website that is in development Watershed Stewardship Program

6 Flood Zones and County Service Areas
WSP Planning Area Watershed Cities and Towns Flood Zones and County Service Areas Richardson Bay Mill Valley, Tam Valley, Marin City, Bel Aire, Sausalito and Tiburon 3 and 4 Corte Madera Creek Ross, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Fairfax 9 Las Gallinas Creek Santa Venetia, San Rafael Meadows, San Rafael 6 and 7, CSA 6 Miller Creek Lucas Valley and San Rafael No zone, CSA 13 Novato Creek Novato 1 Easkoot Creek Stinson Beach 5 Inverness Inverness and Inverness Park 10 Mention other west county watersheds being updated. Watershed Stewardship Program

7 Planning area-watershed boundaries are shown with dashed red line
Planning area-watershed boundaries are shown with dashed red line. The eastern watersheds are being studied in this plan; we will also be updating, as part of the Stewardship Plan, information on the west county watersheds that was prepared a few years ago. In addition, Tomales Bay Watershed Council is completing its ICWMP process. Finally, San Geronimo planning is being handled through a separate process. Watershed Stewardship Program

8 This shows the Planning area eastern watersheds; watersheds draining into Richardson Bay are shown in more detail. Watershed Stewardship Program

9 Draft Planning Principles
Our well-being is directly related to the health of our watersheds, bays, and the Pacific Ocean. Collaboration strengthens watershed stewardship. Interagency coordination and partnerships with local residents bring multiple perspectives and durability to watershed efforts. Working with natural systems is the most cost-effective way to manage our streams and wetlands. Stewardship requires continual adaptation. Watershed health indicators and monitoring help target efforts and track progress. Habitat connectivity is key for biodiversity and species protection. Planning principles are the source of our process-the reason why we are undertaking this Stewardship Plan. These principles are in draft form and will be refined based on stakeholder input. Restoring and managing for resiliency is vital for ecosystems to maintain integrity while adapting to normal stress events and climate change. Watershed Stewardship Program Photo from Brock Dolman

10 Stewardship Plan Elements
Stakeholder Meetings and Outreach Existing Conditions Reports Watershed Health Evaluations Multi-Benefit Project Criteria and Guidelines Watershed-Specific Priorities Watershed Workplan Template HALFWAY POINT! We will discuss these elements in more detail in the following slides. Watershed Health evaluations developed to guide project selection and prioritization Criteria developed to evaluate and rank specific project contributions to watershed health; action list for each watershed Watershed Stewardship Program

11 Existing Conditions Overview
Land Use Water Management supply, flood protection, stormwater, waste management Physical Characteristics hydrology, channel morphology, erosion, climate change Biological Resources Current Management & Enhancement Efforts Summary of Identified Watershed Stewardship Key Issues synthesized from personal interviews, NBWA IRWMP planning processes and other recent planning and assessment efforts Examples: Land Use: Walker Creek-Mercury was mined at three sites in the Walker Creek watershed after World War II. The largest mine, at the Gambonini Ranch near the confluence of Salmon Creek and mainstem Walker Creek, closed in The severe storm of January 1982 destabilized the mine site and sent massive amounts of mercury-laden sediment into Walker Creek. The federal EPA, working with the SFBRWQCB, completed remediation of the site in 2000. Physical characteristics: Novato -specific chronic erosion features within the City limits are often associated with hardscape bank repairs, unprotected culvert outfalls, and areas lacking riparian understory cover (Questa 2000). Biological resources: Stemple- River otters have been observed in the Marin County portion of Stemple Creek east of Highway 1. Eelgrass beds in the Estero de San Antonio provide nursery habitat for Dungeness crabs. Info from NBWA members is appreciated; use post-its and wall maps to provide input during the break after this presentation. These reports will be available on a website, similar to Miller Creek model Watershed Stewardship Program Watershed Stewardship Program

12 Watershed Health Evaluation: Approach
Science based, reasonable, and reproducible. Designed to assess overall watershed health, not just meet individual regulatory requirements. Informs and is informed by clear, measurable goals, objectives, and benchmarks. Incorporates a process to evaluate progress toward the goals. Provides guidance in the development of ecological enhancement priorities and actions. (adapted from Portland Watershed Management Plan, 2005) We have just begun to delve into the realm of watershed health evaluation. What is listed on this slide are some guiding principals that we will be keeping in mind as we work through the details…. Much of what we are presenting in this section has been adapted from Portland’s Framework for Integrated Management of Watershed Health. Apply to the selection of indicators/metrics #1 -also responsive #4 – scorecard, trend measurement Watershed Stewardship Program

13 Watershed Health Evaluation: Structure and Process
Establish Watershed Health Definition Set Goals for watershed health in primary resource areas Develop Objectives for each goal based on issues and concerns (may differ per watershed) Indicator or metric for each objective (at least one) set benchmark value for indicator evaluation of existing condition score – will help lead to priorities and action items This is a draft outline of how the evaluation will be structured and how it will lead the planning process to prioritized enhancement actions and projects. Watershed health definition – what do we want our watersheds to look like or how do we want them to function? “A healthy watershed has hydrologic, habitat, and water quality conditions that support human health and well being, maintain ecologic functions, and sustain viable populations of key wildlife species such as salmon.” in the next few slides I will provide a few examples of broad goals and talk about some potential indicators Watershed Stewardship Program

14 Watershed Health Evaluation: Sample Goals
Hydrology Move toward normative flow conditions. Physical Habitat Protect, enhance, and restore aquatic and terrestrial habitat conditions to support key ecological functions and the vitality of populations and communities. Water Quality Protect and improve surface water and groundwater quality. Normative flow means… magnitude, timing, frequency, and duration that supports native species and their habitat function. All goals address the need to protect public health and safety as well as the sustainable functioning of the overall ecosystem. Watershed Stewardship Program

15 Watershed Health Evaluation: Objectives and Indicators
Hydrologic Conditions Physical Conditions Water Quality Biological Conditions Discuss examples in photo Watershed Stewardship Program

16 Hydrologic Conditions
Hydro-modification and channel encroachment. Discuss objective. We are mapping impervious surfaces as part of the WSP process. Watershed Stewardship Program

17 Multi-Benefit Project Criteria and Guidelines
Will be used to evaluate and rank multi-functional benefits and specific project contributions to watershed health. Will be based on watershed health evaluations and key issues from existing conditions report. Will assist with project selection to address ecological as well as infrastructure needs. An example of a multi-benefit projects is one that integrates fish passage and habitat restoration in flood protection measures. Sonoma Ecology Center has done some good work on this (2007 presentation). One of SEC’s points is that these projects require coordination among a variety of agencies and other watershed stakeholders. Photo: NMWD culvert with bio swale Watershed Stewardship Program

18 Watershed-Specific Priorities
Actions can include: projects resource assessments management measures education and outreach policy recommendations Using watershed health evaluations and criteria, priorities are set for the watershed. Photo: Fairfax Creek, 2006 Watershed Stewardship Program

19 Watershed Work Plan Framework
The workplan allows those working in the watershed to get down to the nitty-gritty of project development and implementation by identifying what information they have for each of these 5 categories and what they need. Financing Example: The Ross Tech Working Group, after walking the creeks, recommended that the Ross Valley apply for National Weather Service and Army Corps of Engineers funds to install rain and river level gauges for a more sophisticated system in the Ross Valley. Environmental Compliance: Most frequently cited obstacle to project implementation in SEC multi-benefit presentation were compliance issues such as lack of regulation or enforcement, confusing jurisdiction, daunting permitting process Watershed Stewardship Program

20 Next steps Existing Conditions reports completed
Watershed Health Evaluations developed Meetings with Policy Advisory Committee and Finance Committee Technical Work Group meetings later this summer Flood Zone Advisory Board meetings Liz to provide any additional info on the composition and purpose of the PAC/TWG meetings. Photo: MMWD pipeline wall in Samuel P Taylor park Watershed Stewardship Program Watershed Stewardship Program

21 Your Participation in the WSP Planning Process
Existing Conditions information welcome (photos, reports, maps, contact people in your watershed) Links to questionnaire and website will be sent to you by soon Contact Chris Choo with questions (415) Invited to provide EC info at break or via /phone interview. Mention web site; tentative meeting schedule; invite to Board members Watershed Stewardship Program

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