October 4, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes
Approved Minutes of October 4, 2007 Commission Meeting
1.Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California at 1:06 p.m.
2.Roll Call. Present were Chair Randolph, Commissioners Baird (represented by Alternate Potter), Bates (represented by Alternate Balico), Bourgart (represented by Alternate Sartipi), Fernekes, Goldzband, Gordon (represented by Alternate Hill), Jordan Hallinan, Kondylis, Lundstrom (represented by Alternate Messina), Mossar, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato), Wagenknecht and Waldeck. Also in attendance Legislative member Charles Taylor.
Not Present were: Sonoma County (Brown), Department of Finance (Finn), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), Contra Costa County (Gioia), San Mateo County (Gordon), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Hicks), Santa Clara County (Kniss), Alameda County (Lai-Bitker), Marin County (McGlashan), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn), and Governors Appointee (Halsted).
3.Public Comment Period. Steven Chappell, Executive Director of the Suisun Resource Conservation District, thanked the Commission for extending the comment period for the landowners to provide additional comments on the managed wetland policy updates for the plan. He also extended his appreciation to the BCDC staff for their professionalism in working with him in addressing the comments that the landowners and the Resource Conservation District raised at the last Commission meeting. The Resource Conservation District is supportive of the revisions and changes, as they will be presented under Agenda Item 9.
4.Approval of Minutes of September 20, 2007 Meeting. Chair Randolph entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.
MOTION: Commissioner Messina moved, seconded by Commissioner Peskin to approve the September 20, 2007 minutes. The motion passed unanimously.
5.Report of the Chair. Chair Randolph provided the following update:
a.Executive Director’s Salary. Chair Randolph and Vice Chair Halsted have received a report on the salaries of the chief executive officers of a number of public agencies in the Bay Area, which concluded that the directors of the three State of California coastal management agencies - - the California Coastal Commission, the State Coastal Conservancy, and BCDC - - are substantially below the CEOs of all other public agencies in the Bay Area. The report informed that the lowest salary of any other CEOs is 20 percent more than the state coastal directors. Therefore, for reasons of equity and recruitment, the report concluded that the salaries of those three positions should be increased by at least 20 percent. Chair Randolph said that he and Vice Chair Halsted are in agreement that such salary increase is justified and asked BCDC to join the chairs and vice chairs of the Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy and request that the salaries of the directors be increased at least by 20 percent.
b.Next BCDC Meeting. The next meeting will be held on October 18, 2007, which will be the annual strategic planning workshop. The workshop will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. It will be held at the Waterfront Plaza Hotel at Jack London Square in Oakland. Chair Randolph urged that both Commissioners and their alternates attend this workshop.
c.Ex-Parte Communications. If any commissioners have inadvertently forgotten to provide the staff with a report on any written or oral ex-parte communications they were invited to report them at this time. There were no ex-parte communications to report.
6.Report of the Executive Director. Mr. Travis provided the following report:
a.Personnel. Bob Batha has returned to his position as the Chief of Permits. Michelle Levenson’s maternity leave ended and she had decided to resign from her position at BCDC to continue to be a full-time mom. She has since decided to work for the BCDC on a part-time basis beginning in November.
There were previously three staff vacancies to fill as a result of promotions and resignations. Sara Polgar has been appointed to the vacancy in planning and will assume duties when she returns from maternity leave in February. Kerri Davis will move from her limited term appointment as permit analyst to a permanent appointment, and Erin Bomkamp will transfer from the enforcement unit to the permit section. This leaves a vacancy in enforcement, which will be filled as soon as possible.
b.State of Estuary Award. The Biennial State of the Estuary Conference will be held on October 16 through October 18, 2007. Mr. Travis said that one of the highlights of each of these conferences is the presentation of awards for outstanding achievements in implementing the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the San Francisco Estuary. He informed the Commission that the BCDC’s Regional Climate Change Planning Project has been chosen to receive an award at this year’s conference. Mr. Travis said that he will be joined by Leslie Lacko, who was the architect of the project and Tim Doherty, the GIS mapping guru, to receive the award on October 16, 2007.
7.Commission Consideration of Administrative Matters. Mr. McAdam was available to respond to any questions. There were no questions posed.
8.Commission Consideration of a Contract Amendment with Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Ms. Lowe reported that under the terms of this contract amendment, MTC would provide BCDC with $170,000 and extend the contract by one year. This extension will allow BCDC to continue to work jointly on several projects such as; working with MTC and the regional Ferry Authority to advance a regional strategy for transit-oriented development along the waterfront; working with MTC, ABAG and the FAA to develop regional consensus on a long range aviation plan that would likely lead to an amendment to the Bay Plan’s airport policies; and working with MTC, ABAG and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to support the work of the Joint Policy Committee to advance objectives common to the four regional agencies such as issues surrounding climate change. She reported that staff recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to execute, on behalf of the Commission, a one year agreement with MTC under which MTC would provide $170,000 to the Commission for continued assistance in advancing key cooperative projects.
MOTION: Commissioner Kondylis moved, seconded by Commissioner Messina to approve the MTC contract. The motion passed unanimously.
9.Vote on Proposed Bay Plan Amendment No. 1-07 Concerning Update of the San Francisco Bay Plan Managed Wetland Findings, Policies and Map Designations; and Proposed Marsh Plan Amendment No. 1-07 Concerning Update of the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Findings and Policies Regarding Managed Wetlands. Chair Randolph confirmed that 18 Commissioners need to vote on this item and there are only 17 present at this time so this item will be pushed back in the agenda.
10. Vote on Proposed Amendments to the Commission’s Application Form and Other Regulatory Filing Requirements. Mr. Travis said the hearing was held on this issue and no public comments were received and there were no Commissioner comments. Mr. Travis asked the Commission to approve the revisions as presented at the hearing.
MOTION: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 17-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Balico, Sartipi, Fernekes, Goldzband, Hill, Jordan Hallinan, Kondylis, Messina, Mossar, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Kato, Wagenknecht, Waldeck and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions.
11.Public Hearing and Vote on Material Amendment No. One from the California Department of Fish and Game to Implement a habitat, enhancement, public access improvement, and flood protection project at the former Cargill Salt Plant on the shoreline of the Napa River, in an unincorporated area of Napa County. Kerri Davis reported that this item is the application of the CDFG to restore 1,460 acres of salt ponds of the Napa Plant site near the city of American Canyon in Napa County. She said the project proposes to restore the former salt ponds to 1,160 acres of tidal marsh and 220 acres of associated habitats; the remaining 79 acres of the project site, which are primarily uplands, would be used for levees, trails, Fish and Game personnel housing, and a new vehicle access road. The project also would provide approximately 6.2 miles of public access at the site, including trails on top of levees, a non-motorized boat lodge area and a variety of public access improvements such as restrooms, benches, picnic tables, and parking as shown on exhibit C in the staff summary. All of the proposed improvements are within the Commission’s certain waterways and salt pond jurisdictions. The proposed project involves breaching external levees, excavating tidal channels, lowering existing levees to improve marsh plain continuity, and raising interior levees for flood protection. She further stated that the project involves the placement of excavated material and Pond 10 to be used as a runway safety area for the Napa County Airport in the future. She said in 2005 BCDC approved Permit No. 8-04, which authorized the conversion of former salt ponds number 1 through 5 in the All American Canal to wetland habitats at the western side of the Napa River. The proposed material amendment is part of the larger units of the Napa-Sonoma Marsh’s state wildlife area covered under the original permit.
Ms. Davis said the staff believes that the application raises 6 primary issues: (1) whether the project is consistent with the McAteer-Petris Act and the San Francisco Bay Plan policies regarding fill; natural resources including fish, other aquatic organisms and wildlife; tidal marshes and tidal flats; and sub-tidal areas (2) whether the project would provide maximum feasible public access consistent with the project; (3) whether the project is consistent with the Bay Plan policies on water quality; (4) whether the project is consistent with the priorities designation for the site; (5) whether the project’s potential to create mercury impacts in the restored marshes would be adequately addressed; and (6) whether the proposed project is consistent with the Bay Plan policies on Sea Level Rise and Safety of Fills.
Francesca Demgen of URS, representing Larry Wykolf of the CDFG discussed the project of the Napa River area. This location is on the eastside of the Napa River, which is an amendment to a permit that was granted by BCDC a couple of years ago that was for the ponds on the west side of the Napa River. The site is 1,460 acres, which will be part of two facilities operated by CDFG, the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, which is about 7,000 acres.
A smaller portion of the site Ponds 9 and 10 would be part of the Fagan Marsh Ecological Reserve, which has a physical separation by the railroad tracks. Ms. Demgen said this site was a salt processing facility for approximately 60 years. Ponds 9 and 10 will become part of Fagan Marsh. Green Island is the only topographic high spot on the property and the Brazos Bridge is connected to one of the important site features that is not on CDFG property, however it influences many decisions about the project and that is the railroad grade that separates the north unit from the central and south units. This site was purchased as part of the South Bay Purchase in 2003. A final EIR was adopted in April 2007. The public access has been modified and the original permit that is being modified was issued in June 2005. The regional board is searching for water quality certification and the core public notice period just closed. It is very close to construction on the northern part of the site either later this year or early next year. The south unit construction will not occur for a couple of years.
Ms. Demgen provided history on salt making. There were a lot of internal levees that were part of the salt process. There are external levees that separate the site from the river. The phase out operation began in earnest on this side of the site in 2003 it is going to take about 8 years. The north and central units have low salinity and are ready for restoration. The purpose of this project is to restore tidal habitat, to promote environmental benefits, to connect wildlife corridors, to minimize ecological risks of the project, to maintain the current level of flood control that is provided by external levees once they are breached, to maintain vector management in the area, to support wildlife oriented public access and to minimize their long term operation and maintenance costs. The project design is to restore tidal action to about 1,160 acres. In order to do this the area will have breaches cut in the outboard levees, there will be restoration of Fagan Marsh to Ponds 9 and 10. This project will restore the connection between the southern and northern halves of Fagan Slough, which will be an ecological reserve. Ms. Demgen said that public access starts with a regional view and there were public access pieces attached to the first permit and they are building on that. There has been a long evolution of public access components on this site over the last couple of years. CDFG is committed to wildlife compatible public access, with most of these components being in the original plan. She said the major components are the trail system, the parking areas in the central core, picnic areas, restrooms, benches, trash receptacles and signs. Change had to do with the original requests from U.S. Fish and Wildlife which was to modify the trail system by deleting a segment and to extend public access into the north unit and to put a spur trail onto Green Island due to it having a good vantage point for overlooking the whole marsh. The amount of public access trail currently is 6.2 miles of brand new trail. The public access will be constructed during phase 2, which is when the public will have access after the heavy equipment and all of the industrial operation is completed on the site.
CDFG has been working with Napa County, Napa Open Space District, the Sheriff’s Department and the city of American Canyon to coordinate locations and access points. There will be a launch ramp that the public will have access to for hand launched, non-motorized watercraft canoes, kayaks, etc. The site access road will be realigned, which will require some of the fill to make contiguous wetland units, one in the center of the area of the wash pond area and to the south and to the north.
Chair Randolph asked the significance of lowering the levees as opposed to breaching. Ms. Demgen said that when levees are breached, they are cut all the way down to the level of river so that there is a continuous plain between the bottom of the river and the bottom of the wetland. When the levee is lowered, that top couple of feet is taken off so that the highest tides can go over that levee and eventually wash it down through the action of the tides. Chair Randolph referred to a previous recommendation of public access outside of Ponds 9 and 10 and asked if the trail on the map was added. She confirmed that it was.
Commissioner Balico asked about phase 2 and building the public access in American Canyon. Ms. Demgen said CDFG will build the public access that is on their property. They are cooperating with the city of American Canyon to link to the existing and future trails that are in the city.
Commissioner Kondylis suggested that they look at the public’s ability to access the marsh without vehicles.
Commissioner Waldeck asked if the airport space is protected and respected. Ms. Demgen said they would like Napa County Airport to extend the runway safety areas off the western end of the runway. The criteria would be to have nothing that is tall or large or that would harm an airplane or be harmed by an airplane, it would be an open space area.
Commissioner Nelson asked about the access roadway and if the fill is on existing upland or in salt ponds. Ms. Demgen said they will be using the existing road, filling an existing channel, and adding a little fill to the edge of salt pond. She said that in Pond 10, it looks like any other salt pond with non-native vegetation on crescent of the levee, some vegetation on the inner bank of the levee, and none at the toe where the water is. Commissioner Nelson asked about the issues regarding mercury on the salt. Ms. Demgen said CDFG has done some baseline work and Darrell Sloughton of USGS has performed analysis on species uptake and fish uptake of mercury. CDFG has requirements within the waste discharge to continue monitoring with their first preference being the use of a regional program that exists to get the most comparable data. She said that the concentrations in the Napa plant site area are less than in other areas in that watershed and far less than in the Petaluma watershed.
Commissioner Balico asked about the impact of the attraction of birds to the area and how to mitigate. Ms. Demgen said that the mitigation has two primary parts: (1) the basis for one of the fill volumes that is included in the permit, is material that has been taken out of the large channel over the years and is available for use on-site. It will be placed in Pond 10 in order to raise the elevation so that the marsh plain is closer to the elevation where plants will grow. This will have an affect on the size of birds that will be present. She also suggested that an airplane that sucks in a larger bird has a bigger problem than one that sucks in a smaller bird; (2) to monitor that area and see how fast that vegetation comes in, and also coordination with the airport and see if there are issues that arise. Commissioner Balico asked about the West Nile Virus with mosquitoes in the area. Ms. Demgen said CDFG will work cooperatively with the Napa Mosquito Abatement District. Larry Wykolf said that CDFG works very closely with Napa Mosquito Abatement District and the area was designed to cut down on mosquitoes.
Cynthia Ripley, Project Manager for the City of American Canyon, said she is in favor of granting the permit for this project. This will be an extension of the efforts that the city of American Canyon has made to put the Bay Trail through the city, along its wetlands and then working in conjunction with Napa County Open Space District to continue this trail north to Napa City. She thanked BCDC staff and CDFG for their reconsideration of the inclusion of
Ponds 9 and 10, because these ponds make the potential connection northwards. The city of American Canyon passed resolutions to approve its route of the Bay Trail and will be going to the Bay Trail Steering Committee in December for their approval. She said they passed an alignment of a river to Ridge Trail from the Bay Trail which is significant because it will provide a sequence of open spaces and trails developing in that area.
Barry Christian said he spoke at the draft DRR hearing a few years ago and then again at the DRB hearing, as well as, presented letters from a number of elected representatives all in favor of supporting the concept of a Napa River Trail along the Napa River.
Maureen Gaffney, speaking on behalf of the ABAG Bay Trail Project, said the current Bay Trail alignment in Napa County is located on Highway 29, which is not the waterfront recreational experience the Bay Trail Plan had envisioned. In 2006 the Bay Trail Steering Committee provided a $75,000 grant to the county of Napa to perform a feasibility study to evaluate options for relocating the trail closer to the shoreline. The city of American Canyon joined in as well and the study has been completed. The Napa Plant Restoration Project and the associated levees play an integral role in providing precisely the type of high quality public access the Bay Trail envisioned. She thanked the BCDC and DFG for there efforts.
John Woodbury, speaking on behalf of the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District, expressed his strong support for the project. CDFG has been very responsive to the concerns of the county and park district. He suggested that the airport impacts would be an improvement. The trail plan that has been proposed would enable a continuous trail connection from American Canyon to the city of Napa. The CDFG salt plant restoration is a critical part of the project. He thanked BCDC and CDFG for being responsive.
David Lewis, speaking on behalf of Save the Bay, expressed strong support of the material amendment to the permit, to the project itself, and the multiple benefits of conversion of salt ponds to tidal marsh, which are fish and wildlife, reducing mosquito breeding area and airport safety and benefits for public access and recreation. He said this project includes conversion of crystallizer ponds to tidal marsh. This is an excellent model for the future.
MOTION: Commissioner Fernekes moved, seconded by Commissioner Kondylis to close the public hearing. Motion passed.
Ms. Davis said staff recommends that BCDC approves material amendment No. 1 of 8-04. Staff recommendation contained special conditions that require permittee to follow a variety of measures which include; the submittal and approval of a marsh monitoring plan for a period of 15 years at the completion of each project phase; and the control of invasive species and coordination with the San Francisco Estuary Invasive project. As conditioned, the project will result in a development of approximately 6.2 miles of 10 foot wide gravel levee top with public access trails for pedestrians, bicyclists and other public amenities. She said the recommendation requires the permittee to coordinate with the city of American Canyon, Napa County, and ABAG San Francisco Bay Trail project to establish a public access crossing across or underneath the existing railroad tracks. The permittee is required to maintain public access areas, including raising elevations, should future sea level rise cause them to be inundated. The protection of special status, fish and wildlife species using mitigation measures to minimize potential adverse affects associated with project and compliance with the biological opinion issued by Fish and Wildlife regarding any sensitive species on the project property. The permittee is required to develop a methyl mercury monitoring program for the project and implement best management practices to protect water quality. Ms. Davis said she would like to make a few changes to the recommendation and correct non-substantive typographical errors in the
recommendation. These are; (1) on Page 2 under the authorization the first paragraph which reads “of the Napa River in Napa and Contra Costa” it should read “in Napa, Sonoma and Solano Counties”; (2) on Page 32 the fifth paragraph there should be an apostrophe on “Commission’s”; (3) on page 20, number 1, ponds 1 through 5 there is a strike out in second sentence that says “is from” that should not be struck out; and (4) on page 23 the second paragraph there are two “woulds” under the Commission salt pond jurisdiction and would should be “will have beneficial impacts”. The second sentence should be “and will benefit and increase fish and wildlife”. Further down in the paragraph it states “the applicant” and should state “the permittee”.
Ms. Davis concluded that the staff believes that the project, as conditioned, is consistent with the law and the Bay Plan policies regarding fill, salt ponds, fish and other aquatic organisms and wildlife, tidal marshes and tidal flats, sub-tidal areas, water quality, priorities designation, methyl mercury and sea level rise and safety of fills.
Commissioner Goldzband inquired as to the relationship within CDFG, BCDC and all of the different agencies that have jurisdiction or are interested in this salt pond area and the salt pond area in the southern portion of the Bay and what can be applied to one another. Mr. Wykolf said that the general answer is in the north Bay one of the tragic mistakes was that the property was purchased and then nothing happened so the salt ponds continued to make salt, which caused catch up to take place. He said that those lessons went to the South Bay and there was immediate planning performed. The Coastal Conservancy is the lead agency in planning the massive project in the South Bay and in the North Bay there is CDFG, Fish and Wildlife, and BCDC. There is a lot of knowledge being exchanged. He said there is a small cadre of people that are involved in all of the projects, and in some cases, they are the same people.
MOTION: Commissioner Kondylis moved, seconded by Commissioner Peskin to adopt staff recommendations with correction of non-substantive typographical errors. The motion passed.
Mr. Wykolf agreed with staff recommendation.
Commissioner Nelson clarified the connection between the permitting decisions being made on the site and how those permit decisions may apply elsewhere because this is salt pond jurisdiction, which is different from Bay jurisdiction, particularly with regard to the fill for roadways and fill related to the airport safety area.
Mr. McAdam commented that there are a different set of policies that apply to the Bay, including requirements for water oriented uses. In terms of the salt pond policies, when there is a development in a salt pond policy, substantial portions of those salt ponds should remain in open water, or otherwise converted to habitat, and in this instance from a public safety standpoint, it became apparent to the department that it should include some fill at the end of that runway as part of the project. He said it is a very small percentage of the overall project that will remain in open water/habitat types so it is consistent with salt pond policy. The relocation of the road is such that it will make the habitat better.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan commented that she is excited that there has been so much coordination on the public access and expanding the Bay Trail.
Commissioner Potter asked about methyl mercury and if the implementation of the monitoring and adaptive management plans are contingent upon getting core funding. Ms. Davis said that she did not believe so, as it is required as a condition of the permit to do the methyl mercury monitoring.
MOTION: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 17-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Balico, Sartipi, Fernekes, Goldzband, Hill, Jordan Hallinan, Kondylis, Messina, Mossar, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Kato, Wagenknecht, Waldeck and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions
12.Public Hearing and Vote on Whether a Substantial Issue is Raised to Appeal No. 1-07 to Solano County Marsh Development Permit No. MD 07-01 Issued to Zentner & Zentner for the Dittmer Ranch Season Wetlands Project. Ming Yeung provided the following information:
This agenda item is a public hearing and vote to determine if an appeal of Solano County Marsh Development Permit MD 07-01 raises a substantial issue as to the conformity of a project with the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act, the Marsh Protection Plan, and Solano County’s local protection program.
Solano County’s Permit MD 07-01 authorizes a four acre seasonal wetlands project, located within both the primary and secondary management areas of the Suisun Marsh.
The portion of the project within the primary management area has been listed for administrative approval for today’s meeting and staff recommends approval of this portion of the project.
The Commission has the authority to issue marsh development permits in the primary management area, and local governments have the authority to issue marsh development permits in the secondary management area. The local marsh development permits can be appealed to the Commission.
Solano County authorized the four acre seasonal wetlands project at Dittmer Ranch. The Commission received one appeal of the county’s action by Ms. June Guidotti. If the Commission determines that the appeal does not raise a substantial issue, then the appeal will be dismissed and Solano County’s permit will become final. If, however, the Commission determines that the appeal does raise a substantial issue, then it must hold a de novo hearing and decide whether to issue a permit for the project.
The appellant raises six separate appeal points regarding the proposed wetlands project. BCDC staff has determined that three of the six points raised in the appeal are non-appealable matters because they fail to raise an inconsistency of the project with the Act, the Protection Plan and the county’s local protection program.
The remaining three appeal points raise appealable matters; however, the staff believes that none of the issues raises a substantial issue that should be heard on appeal.
The three issues are: (1) that Solano County failed to disclose certain information about the project, thereby not allowing the public to fully participate in the decisions in the marsh; (2) that the project is inconsistent with the wildlife polices of the Marsh Protection Plan; and (3) that the project is inconsistent with the erosion control policies of the local protection program.
Mr. John Zentner, with Zentner and Zentner, provided the following presentation:
This project will build less than two and a half acres of seasonal wetlands. The site, as well as some of the surrounding sites, has been designated by the county as being especially suitable for seasonal marsh and vernal pool restoration.
The site is near the tidal marsh and seasonal wetlands near tidal marshes are tremendously important.
As a willing rancher, Jeff Dittmer and his family are interested in developing and maintaining good native habitat.
June Guidotti circulated a document and said her appeal raises a substantial issue and until each and every Commissioner reads the document she handed out they cannot make a decision. This document is part of her appeal on the Potrero Hills landfill. The county requires a 60 foot easement for the use of Emmington Road and she would like to have, in writing, exactly where Mr. Dittmer will get this footage from. She has had to have her gate replaced five times.
She believes Emmington Road should be put back to tidal action in order to have more circulation on the ponds and reduce mosquitoes. In addition to the mosquito issues, she has had to put up with dust and fires. It is her hope that all the state agencies will stop using their authority to gain access to the uplands using this property.
Ms. Guidotti said she has pictures if the Commissioners would like to look at them. She reiterated that a decision should not be made today because the Commissioners have not read the 100 page document that she circulated.
Ms. Yeung presented the staff recommendations as follows: Staff recommends that the Commission find that the appeal does not raise a substantial issue with regard to the conformity of the project with the Marsh Act, the Marsh Protection Plan, and the county’s local protection program. Staff believes that the appeal points raised by the appellant have all been addressed by the county and that the project meets the applicable findings and policies of the Act, the Protection Plan, and the Local Protection Program.
MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Fernekes that based on findings set forth in the staff recommendation the Commission determine that Appeal
No. 1-07 raises no substantial issues as to the conformity of Marsh Development Permit
No. MD 07-01 with the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act, the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan, and the Solano County component of the Suisun Marsh local protection program and that the Commission dismiss the appeal.
VOTE. The motion carried with a roll call vote of 17-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Balico, Sartipi, Fernekes, Goldzband, Hill, Jordan Hallinan, Kondylis, Messina, Mossar, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Kato, Wagenknecht, Waldeck and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions
13.Public Hearing and Vote on Endorsing a Strategy for Financing San Francisco Bay Wetland Restoration. Jessica Hamburger noted that David Lewis presented a briefing report to the Commission on September 6, 2007. At that meeting, the Commission directed the staff to evaluate the report so BCDC could determine whether to support the recommendations. Staff has analyzed the report and recommends that the Commission endorse the following three policy recommendations:
1) To establish a regional special district to oversee Bay wetland restoration funding;
2) Target state and local resource bonds and other public sources to provide significant funds for Bay restoration;
3) Work with the San Francisco Bay Area congressional delegation to make adequate funding available for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Ms. Hamburger stated that these recommendations are consistent with the Commission’s laws and policies regarding wetland restoration. Staff further recommended that any priority setting and funding mechanism for wetland restoration in the Bay Area should be governed by representatives from the Bay region.
Arthur Feinstein said that he has been working on wetland issues for 25 or 30 years. This is an exciting document that is timely. The most desperate need for wetland acquisition restoration is dollars. He is supportive of getting money from the region in order to improve the region. He disseminated a document regarding the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, a partnership of non-governmental organizations, environmental groups and other NGO’s, utilities, landowners and resource agencies working to acquire, restore and enhance wetlands on SF Bay and the coast of San Mateo and Marin and Sonoma counties. He said they are one of the 14 joint ventures operating under the Fish and Wildlife Service North American Waterfowl Management Plan process. The sole mission is to restore and acquire wetlands around the Bay area or facilitate the acquisition. The Coastal Conservancy, as well as other agencies, looks to them for priorities when they decide on funding. The resolution should include Bay Area representatives that will work in cooperation, or coordination, with existing wetland restoration entities.
David Lewis said Save the Bay is in the process of going out to stakeholder groups, agencies, other bodies to brief them on the recommendations and to hear from them on specific implementation steps. He just returned from Washington, D.C., talking to House and Senate staff and members of Congress. He briefed district directors from the delegation, spoke to the Bay Area Open Space Council, is scheduled to speak to the Regional Water Board, spoke to Santa Clara Valley Water District, and is going to Sacramento soon. Additional support from BCDC is welcomed.
Amy Hutzel, the San Francisco Bay Area Program Manager at the State Coastal Conservancy, said the Conservancy is facilitating and leading many of the large wetland restoration projects around the Bay, the South Bay Salt Pond Project, the Napa Marsh, the west side of the Napa River, Hamilton and Bel Marin Keys, and is involved in many other smaller projects. As stated in the report, the goal is 100,000 acres of tidal wetlands around the Bay. Approximately 40,000 acres already exist, and 30,000 to 40,000 are going to be restored in the next decade or two. There have been a series of state bonds that have enabled much of this activity to occur and allow the acquisition of the South Bay Salt Ponds and planning and restoration of some projects. She said significant funds, more than is available in Prop 84, are going to be needed in order to implement the projects, as well as managing and monitoring the projects. A wide variety of funds are needed.
Commissioner Potter asked Ms. Hutzel if the Conservancy has formally endorsed the report. She confirmed that is not the case.
Commissioner Waldeck asked Mr. Lewis about there being three parts to restoration:
(1) acquiring the land; (2) the restoration; and, (3) the maintenance.
Mr. Lewis said the Bay needs more money in all three of those areas and the report specifically addresses restoration on about 36,000 acres that are already in hand for that purpose. He said tidal marsh is not the only habitat that needs to be restored around the Bay, but it is the one that the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals report set as most urgently needed for Bay species. Once the restoration has begun it is relatively self-managing. The O & M costs for tidal marsh are much lower for managed salt ponds. However, they could be higher if sea level rises, and they could be lower if the tidal marsh turns out to provide most of the flood protection that is needed. He said that in the report the polling showed regionwide support throughout the Bay Area to fund these projects and not just support for local projects. He said Prop 84 just provided $108 million dollars for the Bay Area, but not limited to the Bay, and that money is already spent.
Commissioner Goldzband said he is really concerned about the idea that the Conservancy could actually have the ability to raise taxes. He said that the Bay project of the Conservancy is a marvelous project, but stressed that it would be a mistake if they were to add on to the Conservancy responsibilities and authority the ability to levy a tax that will ultimately change the nature of that which enables the Conservancy to do so much good work.
MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Kondylis to close the public hearing. The motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Mossar asked for clarification about the three recommendations in the report which included: 1) establishing a regional special district specifically, what will be voted on today.
Ms. Hamburger said staff recommends the BCDC support the general goals of the report. She confirmed that staff has not made specific recommendations.
Mr. Travis said that staff decided it is premature to define the exact specifics.
MOTION: Commissioner Mossar moved, seconded by Commissioner Peskin to endorse the general concept of the Save the Bay report. The motion passed unanimously.
Chair Randolph said that unfortunately the Commission does not have a quorum to vote on Item 9 and will carry this over to the meeting on November 1, 2007.
14.New Business. There was no new business.
15.Old Business. There was no old business.
16.Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Balico, seconded by Commissioner Goldzband, the meeting adjourned at 3:13 p.m.
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of November 1, 2007
R. Sean Randolph, Chair