November 1, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes

Approved Minutes of November 1, 2007 Commission Meeting

  1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Halsted at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California at 1:05 p.m.
  2. Roll Call. Present were Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Baird (represented by Alternate Potter), Bates (represented by Alternate Balico), Bourgart (represented by Alternate Sartipi)), Brown (represented by Alternate Smith), Fernekes, Gibbs, Goldzband, Gordon, Jordan-Hallinan, Kniss (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom, McGlashan, Mossar, Moy, Wagenknecht and Waldeck.

    Not Present were: Governors Appointee (Randolph), Department of Finance (Finn), Contra Costa County (Gioia), U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers (Hicks), Senate Rules Committee (Nelson), San Francisco County (Peskin) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn) and State Lands Commission (Thayer).

  3. Public Comment Period. Lesa Gutenkunst, Commodore of the Tiburon Yacht Club, said throughout the entire year they have had numerous events during the development of the harbor and she is ecstatic about this improvement and is looking forward to its completion.

    Bill Hopstock said he wanted to comment on what he has seen over the last 4 to 5 years. He first went to the marina in 1960 and he has had his boat there for 12 years. In his opinion, some significant milestones have been established:

    1. the dredging is fabulous;
    2. the old docks have been removed and the new docks are coming along;
    3. the marine life in the marina is nothing like he has ever seen with fish, pelicans and seals. In this regard, to do anything to hinder this project would be a disaster. He asked the Commission to consider a completion phase be added to this project.

    Peter Flaxman said he put a comment card in just in case he needed to respond or rebut any comments made, but since there were none, he has nothing to add.

  4. Approval of Minutes of October 4, 2007 Meeting. Vice Chair Halsted entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.
    MOTION: Commissioner Kondylis moved, seconded by Commissioner Balico to approve the October 4, 2007 minutes. The motion passed with 3 abstentions.
  5. Report of the Chair. Vice Chair Halsted provided the following update:

    1. Today’s Meeting. There is one change in the final agenda for today’s meeting. Item #10 will be postponed because John Kirlin, the Executive Director of the Delta Vision effort, is ill and will not be able to attend today’s meeting.
    2. Harbor Safety Committee. Commissioner Joan Lundstrom serves as BCDC’s representative on the San Francisco Bay Harbor Safety Committee. Because of her excellence she has received awards for her contributions to the Committee. Her current term expires January 12, 2008. She is willing to continue to serve on the Committee and with the Commission’s concurrence, Chair Randolph will re-appoint Commissioner Lundstrom as BCDC representative to the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region.

    3. Next BCDC Meeting. It will not be necessary to hold the regularly-scheduled meeting on November 15, 2007. Therefore, the next meeting will be held on December 6, 2007. At this meeting, which will be held at the Ferry Building, the following matters will be taken up:
      1. A public hearing and vote will be held on an application to replace a bridge across the channel between the Oakland Estuary and Lake Merritt in Oakland.
      2. A public hearing and vote will be held on an application to undertake maintenance dredging the San Francisco marina yacht harbor.
      3. Consider a report on the progress the Commission is making in carrying out the strategic plan that is scheduled to be adopted today.
    4. Office Terms. Because the next BCDC meeting will not be held until December 6, 2007, today will be the last meeting for two commissioners whose terms of office end within the next several weeks: Joe Fernekes and Clifford Waldeck. Vice Chair Halsted expressed her appreciation to both Commissioner and directed staff to prepare resolutions of appreciation for each of them.
    5. 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.

      Commissioner McGlashan reported that he has had a series of e-mails regarding today’s closed session item on Paradise Cay. Most of these discussions were between himself and Peter Lane, as well as internal e-mails within Marin County.

  6. Report of the Executive Director. Mr. Travis provided the following report:
    1. Personnel. Mr. Travis introduced Tim Eichenberg, as the new Chief Counsel for BCDC. Also, Erin Bomkamp has transferred from the enforcement unit to the permit section. To replace Erin, it is intended to hire Juanita Bacey. Unless the Commission objects, she will join the BCDC staff on November 19, 2007.

      Joe Starkey is a new GIS intern in the planning section. He will be working with BCDC until the end of the year.

    2. Reports. The Montezuma Wetlands Project report responds to a request from Commissioner Kondylis regarding a status update of this project. This report has been sent to the Commissioners and should any Commissioners have questions they can direct them to Bob Batha.

    The second document is the annual regional maritime cargo monitoring status report. This report shows that the amount of cargo moving through the Bay Area is slightly higher than was projected, but it can be accommodated with the facilities that are now online and planned for the next decade. Virtually all of the cargo that was once unloaded a few items at a time is now being shipped in containers, with the exception of newsprint, steel, and automobiles, more of which are now moving through the ports. There was a sharp increase last year in the shipment of dry bulk materials, such as sand and gravel, but over the long run the throughput amounts are tracking pretty close to staff’s projections. It does not appear necessary to make any updates or changes in the seaport plan at this time. Should Commissioners have any questions about the cargo report they can contact Joe LaClair.

  7. Administrative Listing. On October 5, 2007 staff sent Commissioners a listing of the administrative matters that staff prepared. Steve McAdam is available to respond to any questions the Commission may have about the matters on the listing. There were no questions posed.

    Commissioner Waldeck asked for background information on the new General Counsel. Mr. Travis mentioned that he had provided extensive background information on Tim Eichenberg to Commissioners before hiring him. He was the Regional Director of the Ocean Conservancy, he has taught in the area of coastal and environmental law at a variety of universities around the United States, and he has published many journals, books, and articles on ocean and coastal management.

  8. 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. Vice Chair Halsted explained that Item #8 is a vote of proposed revisions to the sections of BCDC’s Bay Plan and Suisun Marsh Plan dealing with managed wetlands. A public hearing on this matter was held on September 6, 2007. Caitlin Sweeney will present the staff recommendation on this matter.

    Caitlin Sweeney presented the staff’s report and final recommendation as follows:
    On August 3, 2007, an extensive staff background report on managed wetlands and the staff’s preliminary recommendation for proposed amendments to the Bay Plan and Marsh Plan were sent to the Commission and public for review.

    Public written comment on the proposed revisions was received and on September 6, 2007 the Commission held a public hearing on the proposed changes.

    Staff is proposing several changes to the findings and polices in response to public and commissioner comment, primarily to refine and further clarify the intent of the preliminary recommendation. The changes to the preliminary recommendation that are proposed are:
    In the Bay Plan, the staff proposes minor additional revisions to Policy 2 (on page 4 of the staff recommendation) to more clearly describe and define the options for restoration and enhancement of managed wetlands.

    In the Marsh Plan, in the Water Supply and Quality section, in Finding 4 (on page 7 of the staff recommendation), the staff proposes deleting the previous addition of watergrass in the listing of desired waterfowl food plants that are supported by existing salinity standards.

    The staff proposes several additional revisions to the Land Use and Marsh Management Section of the Marsh Plan: First, in response to Commissioner and public comment the staff proposes adding new Finding 4 (on page 11 of the staff recommendation), to address the importance of levee system integrity, and to acknowledge the importance of using repair and management methods that accomplish dual goals of avoiding adverse effects on resources as well as protecting property.

    Several comments were received from the public, primarily private landowners in the Suisun Marsh, expressing concern over perceived additional regulatory requirements over activities typically undertaken on managed wetlands. To address the concerns, the staff proposes several additional revisions to the Land Use and Marsh Management Section of the Marsh Plan: First, proposed new Finding 3 (on page 11 of the staff recommendation) describes the content and the role of individual club management plans for waterfowl hunting clubs.

    The corresponding Policy 4 (on page 12 of the staff recommendation) has been revised to reflect that individual management plans, and the water management schedules contained in the plans, should reflect current biological, technical and management challenges, and should include provisions for adaptive management to better address these challenges.

    Revisions are proposed to Policy 14 (on page 14 of the staff recommendation) to clarify the original intent of that policy. Language has been added to make it explicitly clear that those activities that are covered by a certified individual club management plan do not require any additional authorizations from the Commission and, therefore, Policy 14 would not apply to those activities. And, further, that Policy 14 is meant to apply to those managed wetlands no longer needed for private waterfowl hunting purposes.

    Finally, minor additional revisions are proposed to Policy 8 (on page 13 of the staff recommendation) to add flexibility to how permanent ponds are managed, and minor additional revisions are proposed to Policy 13 (also on page 13) to more clearly describe and define the various options for restoration and enhancement of managed wetlands.

    Ms. Sweeney pointed out a letter from Steve Chappell, Executive Director of the Suisun Resource Conservation District. Mr. Chappell spoke in support of the staff’s final recommendation at the October 4, 2007 Commission meeting. Mr. Chappell’s letter, dated October 26, 2007, reiterates his support of the final staff recommendation.

    Staff recommends that the Commission adopt Resolution 07-05 that would: (1) Amend the San Francisco Bay Plan managed wetlands findings and policies as identified in the final staff recommendation; (2) amend the Bay Plan Maps managed wetlands designations as identified in Resolution 07-05, Figures 1 and 2; and (3) amend the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan findings and policies regarding managed wetlands as identified in the final staff recommendation.

    There were no public comments.

    Commissioner Kondylis said she has a concern with Policy No. 12 on page 13 because it is now saying that, where feasible, historic marshes should be returned to wetland status either as tidal marshes or managed wetlands. She said in the Delta Vision Project separating ecological water from human drinking water is the only thing that has kept salt water from intruding into the Suisun Marsh. If the Suisun Marsh is returned to a historical salt water tidal marsh, and given the fact that the Suisun Marsh provides 53,000 acres of habitat for wildlife, the idea that this might disappear is alarming to her. She asked if this policy could address salinity by saying: “Where feasible historic marshes should return to wetlands status either as tidal marshes or managed wetland as long as the salinity standards are kept.”

    Commissioner Carruthers said he does not know enough about the science regarding salinity issues to weigh in on this issue one way or the other. However, he recently read an impressive report about the Delta that recommended that portions of the Delta be allowed to return to brackish waters so that the native species of fish and plants would be benefited from more variety of salinity rather than maintaining the Delta as an entirely fresh water system. Because this is complicated he is not prepared to vote on this matter today.

    Commissioner Kondylis said the problem with the report that Commissioner Carruthers is referring to is that the history is inaccurate. She said there are two things to be considered: (1) what is the historic status of the Suisun Marsh; and (2) what does the Commission lose if it makes recommendations that these managed wetlands should be turned into salt water tidal marshes? She would like these issues addressed because it does have huge implications for the ecosystem for the San Francisco Bay.
    Commissioner Carruthers asked what difference this policy will make; how will it affect the Delta; and how will BCDC use it in the debate. Ms. Sweeney said Policy 14 addresses the policy change, in that it outlines the various criteria and the various aspects of an analysis that must be undertaken in any restoration proposal that is put forth. She suggested adding language in Policy 14, specifically on analyzing the potential effects of changes in salinity.

    It was noted that any project that would develop as a result of the proposed policies would be brought to the BCDC Commission for perusal. Mr. McAdam said that this policy will help to implement the habitat goals project. This policy would actually allow areas that are now behind dikes to be restored to wetlands and actually stay behind dikes.

    Commissioner Kondylis said she would like to get answers to some of the questions that have been raised by both Commissioner Carruthers and herself and to see if BCDC can come up with a policy that speaks to the value of the Suisun Marsh as a fresh water habitat. Mr. McAdam said he believes that the findings and policies do talk about the importance of the Suisun Marsh as a fresh brackish water habitat. Whether there are saline, brackish or fresh water marshes, the habitat goals project states that wetlands themselves are valuable and are needed in the Bay Area.

    Mr. McAdam said the Commission does need to address the fresh water infill policies of the Bay Plan and it is part of the Commission’s strategic plan. He noted that the Commission can always return to these policies to update them, or if they are found to be outdated or inappropriate they can be revised.

    Commissioner Carruthers said he is concerned that Sacramento will make the decisions about what the water flow patterns in the Delta will be before the Commission can weigh in on it.

    Commissioner Balico asked if all the landowners’ questions have been addressed. Ms. Sweeney said she has not received any further comments from the landowners. She has, however, received comment from Steve Chappell who represents the private landowners in the Suisun Marsh and he is supportive of the final staff recommendation.

    MOTION: Commissioner Kondylis moved, seconded by Commissioner Wagenknecht to approve staff’s recommendation on the Managed Wetland Policies. Motion carried unanimously through a roll call vote.

    VOTE: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 19-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Balico, Sartipi, Smith, Fernekes, Gibbs, Goldzband, Gordon, Carruthers, Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom, McGlashan, Mossar, Moy, Peskin, Wagenknecht, Waldeck, and Vice Chair Halsted voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions

  9. Public Hearing and Vote to Adopt the Strategic Plan. Vice Chair Halsted explained that Item #9 is a public hearing and vote to adopt the updated strategic plan that was developed by consensus at the strategic planning workshop on October 18, 2007.
    Mr. Travis presented staff recommendations as follows:
    If the Commission adopts the three year goals and objectives, staff will assign leads to each of these and report to the Commission on a monthly basis.

    A number of the objectives in the strategic plan refer to the staff report on a regional climate change strategy. Mr. Travis emphasized that this is not a proposal for legislation, but a beginning of conversations with other institutions.

    Mr. Travis said staff recommends that the Commission adopt the strategic plan.

    Ellen Johnck, Executive Director of the Bay Planning Coalition, made the following comments in support of the strategic plan: (1) She acknowledged BCDC’s continuing emphasis as one of its core values on partnerships with agencies and groups; (2) the proposal for the conversation on climate change is very interesting and important. In looking at a regional sediment management discussion she encouraged the Commission to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and USGS on this issue; and (3)one minor editorial on page 2 – Bay Planning “Commissions” should be changed to read “Coalition”.

    MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Lundstrom to close the public hearing. Motion carried unanimously.
    Commissioner Waldeck said he was not able to attend the strategic plan meeting, but he applauded the goals as presented.
    Commissioner Goldzband said he also was unable to attend the meeting but in reviewing the strategic plan he was struck by its completeness and vision.

    MOTION: Commissioner Goldzband moved; seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to amend the policies to include transparency as one of the core values. Motion carried unanimously.

    MOTION: Commissioner Wagenknecht moved; seconded by Gordon to approve staff’s recommendations on the Strategic Plan with the two changes (transparency and the word change to Coalition). Motion carried.

    Commissioner Lundstrom commended the recommendation that in year one BCDC will prepare a detailed map of the areas around the Bay and Suisun Marsh that is likely to be inundated by sea level rise within the next 50 years. This is a unique role for BCDC and one that is very important and of great public value.

  10. Briefing on Delta Vision. (This item has been postponed.)

  11. Closed Session on Litigation.Vice Chair Halsted explained that Item #11 is a closed session item to discuss a possible lawsuit to enforce a cease and desist order that was issued to deal with violations of BCDC’s permit for the Paradise Cay marina in Marin County. It will be necessary for everyone except members of the Commission, BCDC staff, and the Attorney General’s staff to leave the room before this matter is taken up.

    After the conclusion of the closed session Vice Chair Halsted announced that the Commission had agreed on a settlement of a lawsuit that will enforce a cease and desist order BCDC issued to deal with violations of a permit for the Paradise Cay marina in Marin County.

  12. New Business. There was no new business.

  13. Old Business. There was no old business.

  14. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Potter, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers, the meeting adjourned at 2:48 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Will Travis
Executive Director

Approved, as corrected, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of December 6, 2007

Anne Halsted, Vice Chair

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