May 17, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes

Approved Minutes of May 17, 2007 Commission Meeting

  1. Call to Order
    The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Halsted at the MetroCenter Auditorium, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California at 1:10 p.m.
  2. Roll Call
    Present were Chair Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted (represented by Alternate Chappell), Commissioners Baird (represented by Alternate Potter), Bates, Bourgart, Fernekes, Gioia, Goldzband, Gordon, Hicks, Jordan, Kniss (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom (represented by Alternate Messina), McGlashan, Moy, Peskin, Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato), Wagenknecht, and Waldeck.

    Not Present were: Sonoma County (Brown), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), Department of Finance (Klass), Association of Bay Area Governments (Mossar), Senate Rules Committee (Nelson), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn).

  3. Public Comment Period
    There was no public comment.
  4. Approval of Minutes of April 19, 2007 Meeting
    Chair Randolph entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.

    MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Kondylis to approve the April 19, 2007 minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

  5. Report of the Chair
    Chair Randolph provided the following update:
    1. Next BCDC Meeting. It will not be necessary to hold the next regularly-scheduled meeting on June
    2. Therefore, the next meeting will be held on June 21 at the MetroCenter. At that meeting the following matters will be taken up:
      1. A public hearing and vote on an application to install a natural gas well in the Suisun Marsh;
      2. The consideration of two staff reports that are included in the strategic plan. The first deals with how to better incorporate scientific information into the permit process and the second deals with sediment dynamics in the Bay;
      3. The Commission will receive two briefings, one on the status of the Bay subtidal habitat goals project and the second on the status of the studies being undertaken to determine whether it is feasible to provide a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
      4. Ex-Parte Communications. If any commissioners have inadvertently forgotten to report ex-parte communications whether written or oral, they were invited to report on such communications now. There were no ex-parte communications to report.
  6. Report of the Executive Director
    Mr. McAdam, Deputy Director provided the following report:
    1. Personnel
      Sara Polgar has been a NOAA coastal fellow at BCDC for almost two years. She has been developing the Bay Water Trail program. She was scheduled to complete her fellowship in July, but a few weeks ago the organization NOAA retained to run this fellowship program nationwide, abruptly went out of business and laid Sara off. Sara is very diligent and would like to finish her project. Fortunately, she recently passed the civil service exam for the Coastal Program Analyst series, therefore, it is the intent to hire her in a limited-term position.

      Additionally, the following people will be hired to work as interns over the summer. They are George Cilley, who will be a legal intern during the month of June, Rosemary Todd-Sanchez and Shoshana Wirshup will be interns in the regulatory unit, and Hal Rodriguez will be an intern in the planning unit.

      Commissioner Waldeck asked what the duties of a staff engineer are. Mr. McAdam said the staff engineer does a variety of things, such as serving as the Secretary for the Engineering Criteria Review Board, advises the staff on engineering issues, and reviews the final construction drawings.

  7. Commission Consideration of Administrative Matter
    There were no administrative matters to be taken up.
  8. Public Hearing and Vote to Initiate Possible Amendments of the San Francisco Bay Plan Managed Wetland Findings, Policies and Map Designations, and of the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Findings and Policies Regarding Managed Wetlands. Chair Randolph explained that Item #8 is a public hearing and vote on whether to initiate the process of considering proposed amendments of the sections in the Bay Plan and Marsh Plan regarding managed wetlands.

    Caitlin Sweeney provided background on this project as follows:

    Managed wetlands are diked wetland habitats that are managed for wildlife, primarily migratory waterfowl. The Suisun Marsh has the greatest amount of managed wetland acreage in San Francisco Bay, totaling approximately 52,000 acres, although other areas of the Bay have small amounts of this habitat type.

    Managed wetlands are located in private waterfowl hunting clubs and on publicly owned wildlife management areas and refuges.

    Managed wetlands are part of the Commission’s jurisdiction and, as such, the San Francisco Bay Plan and the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Findings and Policies guide the Commission in its consideration of whether or not to authorize proposed development in these habitat areas.

    In 2005 the Bay Plan Policy Section titled “Salt Ponds and Other Managed Wetlands” was divided into two separate sections. One for salt ponds and one for managed wetlands. The Salt Pond Section was updated, but the update of the Managed Wetlands Section was postponed until now. Therefore, the Managed Wetlands Findings and Policies in the Bay Plan have not been updated since the Bay Plan’s inception in 1968.

    In addition, the Marsh Plan Findings and Policies related to managed wetlands have not been reviewed or updated since the Marsh Plan was adopted in 1976.

    A review and possible update of the Bay Plan and Marsh Plan Findings, Policies and Map Designations regarding managed wetlands would incorporate new information regarding the location and ownership of managed wetlands, managed wetland habitat values, land management approaches on private lands, management objectives on public lands, and managed wetland habitat enhancement or possible restoration to tidal marsh and subtidal habitat.

    The amendment to the Bay Plan Findings and Policies pertaining to managed wetlands is the only update which remains to be completed in the suite of Bay Plan wetland policies (that is, for marshes and tidal flats, subtidal areas, salt ponds and managed wetlands). Commission consideration of proposed amendments to the Bay Plan and Marsh Plan pertaining to managed wetlands is listed as an objective in the Commission’s current adopted Strategic Plan.

    Approval of a proposed descriptive notice initiates the process of amending the Bay Plan and/or Marsh Plan. If the descriptive notice is approved, a public hearing is set, and staff then distributes a report and preliminary recommendation prior to the public hearing.

    Today staff recommends that the Commission approve the proposed descriptive notice and schedule the public hearing to consider the proposed Bay Plan and Marsh Plan amendments for the BCDC meeting on August 16, 2007.

    Furthermore, as required by the Regulations, staff will mail the approved descriptive notice to all interested parties and mail the staff report and preliminary recommendation on the proposed amendments at least 30 days prior to August 16, 2007.

    There were no public comments.

    MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Gioia to approve staff’s recommendations. Motion carried unanimously.

  9. Public Hearing and Vote on Proposed Changes to BCDC’s Management Program for the San Francisco Bay Segment of the California Coastal Zone
    Mr. Smith provided the following staff report and recommendation:

    The staff recommends that the Commission approve changes proposed by staff to the federal consistency section of the narrative portion of the Commission’s Management Program for the San Francisco Bay segment of the California coastal zone.

    The Management Program is the document that the Commission uses when it exercises its federal consistency authority under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. The Act allows the Commission to review federal activities that would affect the Coastal Zone and non-federal activities that would affect the Coastal Zone that would either require a federal permit, or license, or are supported by federal financial funds.

    The proposed changes would bring the section that deals with federal consistency up-to-date with federal regulations and procedures, and add to the list of federal license and permit activity that automatically requires consistency review final approval by the FAA of airport layout plans that involve the placement into San Francisco Bay.

    Mr. Smith asked to make one change in language to the staff recommendation. At the top of page 43 the word and has been inserted between Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and Title II of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 as amended.

    In addition, Commissioner Hicks pointed out that it is possible at the bottom of page 42 that the number referenced to a Corps Region-wide Permit may no longer be current. Staff would like to incorporate into the recommendation that if the number is not current that the Commission give staff the flexibility to insert the appropriate current number.

    There were no public comments.

    MOTION: Commissioner Kondylis moved, seconded by Commissioner Lai-Bitker to approve staff’s recommendation. The motion passed unanimously.

    VOTE: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 21-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Bates, Bourgart, Fernekes, Gioia, Goldzband, Gordon, Hicks, Jordan, Carruthers, Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Messina, McGlashan, Moy, Peskin, Kato, Wagenknecht, Waldeck Chappell and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions.

  10. Briefing on Climate Change Actions by Other State Agencies
    Andrew Altevogt, Climate Change Advisor in the Office of the Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency provided the following briefing on Climate Change in other state agencies:

    Mr. Altevogt said the Secretary of Cal EPA coordinates the Climate Action Team which has 10 member Boards and agencies. This team was created in response to the Governor’s Executive Order.

    The responsibilities of the climate action team were further codified under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) and the responsibility was given to the Secretary to coordinate climate policy.

    The other members of the team are State and Consumer Services, the Business Transportation and Housing, Food and Agriculture, the Energy Commission, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Water Resources, the Air Resources Board, Integrated Waste Management Board, and the Public Utilities Commission.

    The first deliverable that came out of the Climate Action Team was a 2006 report outlining over 40 strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the estimates of these emission reductions.

    The initial estimate projected that there would be emissions reductions of 60 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent by 2010 and 190 million metric tons by 2020. The important number to keep in mind is the goal in AB32 - reduce emissions in 2020 to 1990 levels - and in order to do that 175 million metric tons is needed. So, with these 40 plus strategies we are well on our way to meeting the year 2020 goals.

    Emissions need to be reduced in transportation, agriculture and forestry, industrial sectors (which includes cement, oil refining, etc.), and electric power.

    There is a Scenario Analysis Subgroup of the Climate Action Team that is looking at over 40 different research projects, some of which are currently in progress. They are looking at the impacts on natural systems and man-made systems and the public health impacts, air quality impacts on forests, energy, water issues, some socioeconomic issues, and impacts on the economy. Adapting to the affects of climate change is also being reviewed.

    There will also be sponsor studies that will look at the impacts of sea level rise, the impacts on weather systems, water supply management, coastal impacts (erosion along the coast line), vulnerability of the Bay Delta, and sea level rise on the San Francisco Bay.

    As we move forward into the 2008 report, it will focus on what can be done with adaptation as it relates to climate change.

    Local governments and the planning decisions they make are intricately tied to both the causes of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adaptation and responses to climate change. The state is looking at how it can provide some of the tools to local governments to assist in their planning decisions and their efforts with smart growth.

    The local government subgroup is made up of a number of some of the formal members of the Climate Action Team, Energy Commission, Cal/EPA, the Air Board, CalTrans, Housing Community Development, Waste Board, the Governor’s Office of Research Arm, the Water Board, PUC, and representation from the California Climate Action Registry.

    The local government subgroup will oversee some of the implementations from the 2006 strategies of the Climate Action Team Report in order to help meet goals. They will develop land use strategies to inform local planning decisions.

    As a group they will examine the role of local governments in confronting climate change, think about adaptation to climate change, and what the local governments and planning boards play in adapting to the affects of climate change.

    A tool kit will be developed for local governments in order to assist them in some of their decision making processes and to help develop a formal local government protocol. Meetings will be held throughout the state in order to hear from varied groups to make sure that the issues the local governments are confronted with are heard in an effort for the State to be of maximum assistance.

    Commissioner Carruthers asked how it is that forestry is at 32.2 percent of the green house gas emissions and how are they going to address it. Mr. Altevogt said there are a number of strategies that look at different aspects. A big part of it is planting more trees. The trees will take up carbon dioxide and store it both in their above ground biomass and below ground. They are looking at forest management that will reduce the number of wildfires, biomass utilization, and urban forestry.

    Commissioner Carruthers said the central valley is probably the most challenging area of the state because it has the largest amount of growth, the largest number of local governments, and they have very little experience in dealing with each other. Mr. Altevogt said this is one of the things that they are cognizant of and they know different areas of the state have different needs. Outreach efforts will be maximized.

    Commissioner Carruthers asked if there is any thought being given to institutional development. Mr. Altevogt said this will be part of what is included in the tool kit.

    Commissioner McGlashan asked if the working group will figure out the relative value of different reductions in CO2. He said he has been approached by a non-profit that would like to create a carbon credit card and a loyalty marketing program to certified green businesses, where people who implement carbon reductions could redeem those reductions on a card for credit. Mr. Altevogt said part of the statewide effort is to develop metrics, which is a big part of what the Air Resources Board is discussing. He does not know if it will get to that level of detail.

    The purpose of the registry that is being developed will give standardized accounting metrics that can be used across the board. It may not reach down into the consumer level, but it will certainly give a basis for a standard metric that can be used across the country.

    Chair Randolph asked how the Climate Action Team relates to CARB and its responsibilities. Mr. Altevogt said the Air Resources Board is the primary implementer of AB32. The Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission are also cited in AB32 in regards to the electricity sector.

    The two milestones that the Climate Action Team is looking at are the early actions mentioned under AB32, which are specifically tasked to the Air Resources Board. The Air Resources Board will be providing its list of early action measures in June. The Climate Action Team is looking at what the early actions of the other members of the Team can contribute, and their list will be a companion to the Air Board.

    The second milestone is that the Air Board has to come up with its scoping plan which is due in 2009. In order to meet the 175 million metric ton reduction, other strategies that are specifically under the purview of other Climate Action Team members will be tapped into.

    When the Climate Action Team report is updated, in 2008, it will be synced up with the Air Board’s process and it will feed directly into the Plan.

    Commissioner Gioia said he serves on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Climate Change Committee. He asked how the Team anticipates involving the local air districts. Mr. Altevogt said there are a lot of issues that are best dealt with at the local level and this is something that the Team is still in the process of specifying.

    Commissioner Gioia said it may be useful to link the working group into the Joint Policy Committee’s work.

    Commissioner Potter asked where he can get more specific information about the scope of the studies that are underway. Mr. Altevogt said to e-mail him and he would be happy to discuss it. Commissioner Potter asked when the erosion study is anticipated to be completed. Mr. Altevogt said that funding is still being worked out. He does not have commitments to fund all of the studies yet.

    Presentation from Thom Kelly, Assistant Executive Director, Strategic Issues, California Energy Commission provided the following information:

    There is physical evidence that global warming is occurring. The Scenario Group is looking at several different cases and is tracking the temperature lows and highs.

    Even with best estimates there is a huge range of uncertainty.

    The Governor said to shoot for 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and this is the goal. This is a severe commitment to try and reduce the green house gases.

    If we use more energy the carbon dioxide emissions will go up. There is a delicate balancing act that needs to take place between energy and green house gas emissions.

    The Energy Action Plan that the Joint Energy Agencies in the state produced contributed a loading order of energy resources. It starts with energy efficiency. Transmission upgrades and additions are encouraged as well.

    It is estimated that one third of the energy consumed is used in buildings. If there could be concentration on building efficiency, existing buildings, retrofit, and new buildings, a huge dent would occur with carbon emissions.
    The Green Buildings Task Force will develop a protocol that everyone across the state can use.

    Credits can be calculated and an essential component of a market system will be verifiable savings.

    The Energy Commission offers technical assistance programs and will help people retrofit, and design new schools with energy efficiency improvements. There are grants and loans, partnerships and ways to use PG&E money, Energy Commission, and state money to get these things accomplished in the area of design, improvements, etc.
    The increase in vehicle miles traveled increases faster than the population. He urged everyone to purchase an energy efficient vehicle.

    Land use is another issue for gas emissions.

    PLACES is a planning tool that allows information to be entered into a computer regarding a particular region.
    Natural Resource Conservation is being built into PLACES, with regards to energy and water savings that will occur with different land use patterns.

    Commissioner Lai-Bitker said there should be more incentives when putting solar panels on homes because sometimes more energy is produced than the home needs. She asked if there is a way to bank the energy so the homeowner can get money back? Mr. Kelly said this is being reviewed. He personally believes that people should be able to get the value of their electricity, which is something like 30 cents a kilowatt hour. Currently, the rate is 12.5 cents and so there is an inequity in the current program. The Public Utilities Commission regulates the investor owned utilities.

    The PLACES Model is closely tied to measurement analysis, tracking, monitoring and it gets the public and agencies involved so they have a common tool.

    As we move towards the greater greening of America we have made some successes but there are more learning experiences needed.

    Commissioner Kondylis said because of the mercury content in the light bulbs that are made in China if that light bulb breaks you need a Hazmat team to clean it up. She asked if the general public knows this. Mr. Kelly said there is a growing segment of regulators that suggests we would only be able to have compact fluorescents in the state.

    Commissioner McGlashan said he is meeting with Assemblyman Huffman to talk about his Bill 1109 that requests a product take back provision of compact fluorescent bulbs.

    Commissioner McGlashan said one of the things he has run into at the local level in trying to deal with smart growth strategies is the myriad of conflicting public policies. He said as the task force reaches out to the local government level he would like to see discussion regarding the conflicting policies that are bollixing up local efforts. One of the tools could be some sort of regulatory fast tracking for infill affordable corridors.

    Commissioner Carruthers said there is a bill in now relative to smart growth that would create a situation in each region where, for instance, if ABAG and MTC agree on a smart growth strategy for the region, and if the local government adopts those criteria into their general plan, it will allow the fast tracking relative to CEQA of an infill project. This would be an incentive for the development of densities around public transit groups.

    Presentation from John Andrew, Chief, Special Planning Projects, Statewide Water Planning Branch, Department of Water Resources provided the following information:

    Climate change impacts water resources and ecosystems, especially aquatic habitat. There are research needs in this area.

    Water demand will also change under climate change. There will be increases in demand across all sectors, urban, agriculture and environmental.

    The water years run from October to September. In the quarter December-March the reservoirs in the central valley are being held down for a flood control reservation to protect the central valley communities. Once the flood reservation is lifted, usually around April 1, we can start collecting run-off in the reservoirs to carry us over into the dry summer and fall months.

    So in April through July we want to see run-off. What we are seeing over the course of the 20th century is that the percentage of run-off is below 35 percent. A reduction in the percentage of the annual run-off has happened in this critical quarter in California.

    There is also concern about short-term timing, i.e., daily flows, three day flows. In the last half of the 20th century most of the highest flows are happening. This could be taken as a hydrologic record that was used to build these facilities or it could be that climate change has already arrived in California and these are some of the impacts that we are seeing.

    Snow pack, which is how the reservoirs begin, was reviewed. The mid-century projections are that from 26 to 40 percent of the snow pack would be gone by mid-century. In the year 2100 the projections would be 27 percent remaining under a low emission scenario and only 11 percent remaining under a high emission scenario. These are very scary projections for California snow pack.

    The snow pack provides about 15 million acre feet of storage. The surface reservoir storage in the Sacramento Valley is about the same amount that we get from the snow pack (about 14 million acre feet) and in the San Joaquin it is 11 million acre feet. For every degree centigrade increase in temperature 500 feet of snow line would be used. This would have incredible impacts to water management should these projections play out.

    From the historic hydrology we are already seeing the shift from having more run-off in the winter and less in the spring. At the four model reservoirs (Shasta, Oroville, Folsom and Don Pedro) the same is being seen; an increase in run-off when we do not want to have run-off and a decrease during the time of the year when we want to have run-off.

    In the Bay Area and the Delta there is some sea level rise, approximately a half foot, over the course of the 20th century. Projections are that if there is a half foot of increase during the 21st century there will be one meter sea level rise.

    This could have some serious consequences, such as, increases in salinity, changes in aquatic habitat, drinking water quality to the Bay Area and Southern California.

    It would also have impacts on levees. A 16 year time period was looked at with the four climate change scenarios. One foot of sea level rise was added to both the base and the climate change scenarios that were used. Under the base conditions we are in good shape, however, we are not in good shape with just a mere one foot rise in sea level rise.

    This is unfolding in an incremental manner which will provide time to build in more flexibility to California’s water systems and adapt them to climate change.

    Moving water around in California takes a lot of energy and most of the energy intensity is in the end uses of water whether you are a resident or a business. He plans to implement water use efficiency measures targeted toward energy efficiency to get at reducing green house gas emissions from water management in California.

    California Water Management is going to be on the adaptation side. The IPCC Working Group II Report focused on adaptation and impacts. It is important to keep in mind that the impacts of what is going to happen is a matter of climate change plus your vulnerability.

    Fortunately, the Department was on this track, and focusing on climate change was one of the 14 major recommendations of the California Water Plan Update, which was issued two years ago. The Plan is focused on a diversified portfolio approach to water management in California implemented on a regional basis.

    The California Water Plan will implement a series of water management activities, including integrated regional water management which is called for in the California Water Plan update and climate change will be one of the main criteria for implementing integrated regional water management in the future for California.

    The Delta Vision Process is on a fast track to develop a vision by the close of this calendar year for the Delta and then a strategic plan one year after that. Climate change is one of the main drivers of this Delta Vision Process.

    Commissioner Carruthers asked if the Delta Vision Process is like the successor to CALFED. Mr. Andrew said it laid the groundwork for the Delta Vision. One of the failings of CALFED was that it did not include a broader view of the Delta and they basically focused on water management and ecosystem. They did not realize that the Delta is a hub for water management infrastructure, as well as deep water ship channels, railroads, and highways. The Delta is a unique culture. This is where the Delta Vision Process is distinguished from the CALFED program.

    Commissioner McGlashan said after the floods in early 2005, a hard look is being taken towards flood control measures. He said he would like individual storm water holdback strategies to be quantified statewide. He asked if there could be a chance for groundwater recharge, landscape water use, and flood holdback. He asked what this would cost and what kind of incentives could be developed for local/state partnerships on these types of approaches? Mr. Andrew said there is work going on, at least at the community level, that the state has funded. There is nothing at the individual level but this would be the next logical step. With the snow pack going away there should be research to see what can be done for the watersheds. Costs are an emerging topic.

    Commissioner Gioia said an issue discussed in Contra Costa is that there has not yet been a statewide commitment on investing in protecting the Delta Islands. Ultimately there are going to have to be dollars as part of the strategies to implement these things. He asked Mr. Andrew where he sees the discussion on the state investment side. Mr. Andrew said a tremendous amount of money is going into flood management, including levees, but most of it is going into a backlog of deferred maintenance around the state. Whether climate change is going to be incorporated into this current round of funding for levee and other flood management projects he is not sure.

    In regards to the Delta specifically, the outcome of the Delta Vision Process will play a part in this.
    Commissioner Gioia said the Delta is a problem today given seismic issues even without climate change and there is nowhere near a fraction of the investment, federally or statewide, to address the issues of the Delta.
    Mr. Andrew said CALFED invested literally billions of dollars in ecosystem improvements and other water management improvements around the state to help deal with the water management crisis in the Delta.

    Commissioner Gioia said the problem of the Delta, in terms of the condition of the levees, is a problem and there has been very little investment in the levees.

    Mr. Andrew said there was a proposal a couple of years ago to actually add a small surcharge to everyone’s water bill but the water management community disliked this. It was a good idea and would have provided a continuous stream of funding for various projects around the state, including the Delta. This is a conversation that is needed.

    Commissioner Potter asked with the recent bond measures to what degree was the levee issue really addressed. Mr. Andrew said this is outside his area of expertise, but his understanding is that the investment that the bonds have made went to a backlog of deferred maintenance because the locals did not have the financial capacity to keep up with the maintenance.

    Commissioner Carruthers said this is one of the best briefings the Commission has had in many months and he is tremendously impressed with the program, and of course the challenge that is ahead. It seems to him that this is a focused effort to consolidate and coordinate all of the elements of the state governments. This is very impressive and makes him proud to be a citizen of California.

    Chair Randolph thanked the presenters and said the Commission would like to have access to their PowerPoint presentations.

  11. Consideration of Strategic Plan Report
    Mr. McAdam said changes are needed in the deadlines for two of the objectives in the plan. He asked for a motion to approve the changes.

    MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Bourgart to approve the deadline changes. The motion carried.

  12. Closed Session
    Chair Randolph announced that the Commission met in closed session and approved the staff going forward in referring the enforcement action regarding Mr. Moseley and Paradise Cay to the Attorney General’s office.
  13. New Business
    There was no old business.
  14. Old Business
    There was no new business.
  15. Adjournment
    Upon motion by Commissioner Lai-Bitker, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers, the meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Will Travis
Executive Director

Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of June 21, 2007