Minutes of June 21, 2012 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Wasserman at the Metro Center Auditorium, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California at 1:09 p.m.
2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Wasserman, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Addiego, Bates, Brown (represented by Alternate Carrillo), Chan (represented by Alternate Gilmore), Chiu, Fossum (represented by Alternate Pemberton), Gibbs, Jordan Hallinan, Hicks (represented by Alternate Monarres), McGrath, Randolph, Sartipi, Sears, Spering (represented by Alternate Vasquez), and Techel (represented by Alternate Levine).
Chair Wasserman announced that a quorum was present.
Not present were: Association of Bay Area Governments (Apodaca), Santa Clara County (Cortese), Department of Finance (Finn), Contra Costa County (Gioia), Governor’s Appointee (Moy), Senate Rules Committee (Nelson), San Mateo County (Pine), Secretary of Resources (Vierra), Napa County (Wagenknecht) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Ziegler).
3. Public Comment Period. Chair Wasserman called for public comment on subjects that were not on the agenda. Comments would be restricted to three minutes per speaker.
Seeing no speakers, Chair Wasserman moved on to Item Four, Approval of the Minutes.
4. Approval of Minutes of the June 7, 2012 Meeting. Chair Wasserman entertained a motion and a second to adopt the minutes of June 7, 2012.
MOTION: Commissioner Vasquez moved, seconded by Commissioner Addiego, to approve the June 7, 2012 Minutes. The motion carried by voice vote; Commissioners Monarres and Randolph abstained.
5. Report of the Chair. Chair Wasserman reported on the following:
a. Building Move. We are pursuing parallel paths. The staff is working with the Department of General Services, looking at how we would configure space in a state building. I have contacted the Governor’s office to request an exemption from the general policy direction to move into state office space or, most importantly, if we do move to a state building, to include a provision in our lease that would let us leave without the penalty of having to continue to pay rent there. We will keep you informed.
b. Next BCDC Meeting. We will not hold our July 5th meeting. Our next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on July 19th. At that meeting, which will be held at the MetroCenter in Oakland, we will take up the following matters:
(1) We will hold a public hearing and possible vote on a permit for a section of the Bay Trail in Redwood City.
(2) We will not have a closed session today on the search for an Executive Director. We do expect to have one on the 19th. We are still in the process of reviewing applications and interviewing candidates.
c. Joint Policy Committee (JPC). The JPC sponsored a meeting 10 days ago, on preparing the Bay Area for a Changing Climate. This meeting was on what we are studying, and what can we do practically on dealing with climate change adaptation. Not so much on reducing climate change, and more focused on the built environment. And one of the very helpful things was a list of reports addressing various aspects of this issue. If there are any commissioners who are interested in this, you may contact staff – they can get you the minutes and the report. This is the beginning of efforts to organize a committed set of leaders to determine what we can and should do, and how we are going to pay for actions to protect our built environment from the inevitable impacts resulting from climate change. Two of us were there from the Commission, Commissioner Gioia and myself and Steve Goldbeck and several other staff members were there.
d. Ex-Parte Communications. That completes my report. I will disclose one ex-parte communication I have had. The Orton Development is a subject of an enforcement proceeding and has been issued a letter on a potential compromise on fines. I did go out and meet with Mr. Orton and toured the old Ford Factory out on Point Richmond. We talked mostly about the facility but somewhat about his perceptions on the enforcement proceeding.
Commissioner Chiu reported: I have had ongoing conversations with numerous parties regarding the America’s Cup.
Chair Wasserman asked if anyone else had anything to report. He received no further ex-parte reports so he moved on to Item 6.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Goldbeck reported:
a. State Budget. The Legislature passed a budget for the state by the statutory deadline last week; however, it is our understanding that the final state budget is still in play and we will keep you informed as this goes forward.
b. Go Dark Fridays.To help address the ongoing state budget deficit, the Governor has announced a five percent reduction for state employees in working hours and pay, starting in July. To implement this and achieve further cost-savings, state agencies are directed to close on Fridays. We are provided flexibility in how to implement the directive, particularly those that serve the public. To implement this directive we plan to close the Commission’s office two Fridays a month. This will allow us to support mailings for Commission meetings, while still implementing the Governor’s plan. “Go dark Fridays” will need collective bargaining approval and we are waiting for further guidance from the Governor’s office.
c. Personnel. Jessica Davenport has accepted a more senior position at the Delta Stewardship Council, helping the Council complete and implement the Delta Plan that you will be briefed on today. The position is a for a one-year limited term, and she has a right of return, so you may see her joining our staff again, and while we are happy for her promotion we would be happy to have her return. Tim Doherty has accepted a position as a Coastal Management Specialist at the NOAA Coastal Services Center where he will be working on coastal and marine planning efforts for the West Coast and supporting NOAA's role in the West Coast Governor's Alliance on Ocean Health. We wish both of them success in their new endeavors.
I am pleased to announce that we have chosen Erik Buehmann to fill our open position in our permit section. Erik is an attorney, having earned his law degree from the University of Michigan. He also has a master’s degree in Social Psychology from Ball State. Since moving to California, Erik has served as a law clerk for several judges in San Francisco. Since November of last year, he has served as an environmental services intern at the California Coastal Commission in its Enforcement Program.
We also have chosen Jenny Quay to fill an analyst position in our sediment management section. As I am sure you remember, Jenny has been working with us on sediment management as a Sea Grant Fellow. She received a PhD in Ocean Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and is a recipient of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation Distinguished Alumna Award. Unless you have objections, both Erik and Jenny will be joining our staff.
Our current NOAA Fellow, Heidi Nutters, is completing her fellowship and will be joining the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as their Coastal Training Program Coordinator; our congratulations to Heidi.
BCDC has once again successfully competed for a replacement NOAA Fellow to work with us for two years starting this August. Maggie Wenger has a Masters of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning at the University of Michigan where she was awarded a prestigious Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship and worked on a masters project evaluating institutional relationships and collaborations for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington state. Maggie also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Nebraska, served in the US Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Extension Officer in Zambia, interned with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C. and worked for the National Youth Science Foundation as a Natural Science Coordinator. She will be working on the Adapting to Rising Tides project.
7. Consideration of Administrative Matters. Executive Director Goldbeck stated that there were no listings on administrative matters.
8. Consideration of Acceptance of an Authorization to Implement the California Sediment Management Workgroup Grant for San Francisco Bay Regional Sediment Management Program. Chair Wasserman announced that Item #8 was for a contract with the California Regional Sediment Management Workgroup to work on Regional Sediment Management in the Bay and that Brenda Goeden would make the presentation.
Ms. Goeden presented the following: You have before you today a recommendation to authorize the Executive Director to enter into an inter-agency agreement with the Department of Boating and Waterways to accept and expend a portion of a $100,000 grant to assist the Commission in developing a regional sediment management plan for the central part of San Francisco Bay.
This grant differs from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant you approved in January, in that it is focused primarily on the sand portion of the Central Bay, shoreline erosion, beach nourishment potential and appropriate management measures for each.
The Commission’s Strategic Plan includes the development of a regional sediment management plan for the Bay in recognition of the change in sediment supply to the Bay from one that was considered sediment rich to one that is more erosional in nature when compared to the patterns of the last 150 years.
The over-arching program will evaluate and develop recommendations for dredging, aggregate mining, flood control, watershed, restoration and beach nourishment activities throughout the San Francisco Bay. This planning effort will take a regional approach to sediment management beyond that of the LTMS program, which is focused solely on navigational dredging.
Regional Sediment Management planning is called out in the governor’s Ocean Action Plan, the statewide Sediment Management Plan and the Ocean Protection Council’s Plan.
This grant will use existing sediment science recently updated by the US Geological Survey and the San Francisco Estuary Institute and several other regional experts to develop management options at the local and regional scale.
The staff recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to execute an inter-agency agreement with the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) to provide up to $100,000 for assistance in the development of the San Francisco Bay Regional Sediment Management Plan and to enter into the contracts necessary to expend up to $35,000 of the $100,000 in Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup (CSMW) funds awarded to BCDC by the California Department of Boating and Waterways for the Commission’s Sediment Management Program. The staff also recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to make minor, non-substantive changes to these contracts.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I certainly support this. I would like to make sure that these documents are very transparent and widely available. I would urge you to put them on our website.
Ms. Goeden responded: We actually have a sediment section on our website so I can easily put them there.
Chair Wasserman asked for any other comments from the Commission and received none. He also asked for any public comment on this item and received none. Chair Wasserman also mentioned that a public hearing had not been scheduled for this item but if anyone wished to have one then it could be done. Receiving no such request, Chair Wasserman entertained a motion to approve the staff recommendation.
MOTION: Vice Chair Halsted moved, seconded by Commissioner McGrath to approve the staff recommendation. The motion passed by a voice vote with no abstentions or objections.
9. Briefing on Delta Plan. Chair Wasserman continued: Item Nine is a briefing on the Delta Plan by the Honorable Phil Isenberg, who is the Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council. Previously, he served as Mayor of Sacramento (1975-1982) and as a member of the California State Assembly (1982–1996). He served as chair of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force and served as chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. He holds a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. in Social Science and Government from Cal State Sacramento.
But first Jessica Davenport will provide us with some background.
Ms. Davenport presented the following: I am going to provide a little bit of background on the staff’s work on Bay-Delta issues and then our perspective on the Delta Plan.
We have an ongoing program to track Bay-Delta issues. BCDC’s perspective on these issues focuses on the need for adequate freshwater inflow to the Bay and to have a coordinated approach to ecosystem restoration.
In our comments on the sixth version of the Delta Plan we had several issues where we stated that the draft has definitely moved in the direction that we requested in our letters.
The Suisun Marsh is one of five priority areas for wetland restoration.
There is now more discussion in the Delta Plan of the need for freshwater flows that serve the ecosystem processes in the Suisun Marsh and the north part of the Bay.
There is now a recommendation within the Delta Plan for our two agencies to collaborate on addressing climate change in the Suisun Marsh Plan.
Sediment management is one area where we think the Delta Plan could speak more about sediment issues.
The Delta Plan is very strong in adaptive management and discusses a holistic approach to adaptive management.
Mr. Phil Isenberg presented the following: We’re a new state agency and we got started in early 2010. Our most important duty is to develop a Delta Plan and to adopt it and commence implementing it.
We are about to look at and make some changes in the final staff draft Delta Plan. By next week we will take the vote to approve the final staff draft with changes.
Because our plan contains some regulatory elements we are circulating these regulations through the Office of Administrative Law concurrently.
By November or December of this year we will adopt a Delta Plan and start struggling to enforce it.
The comments we have received have two broad general themes. One is, you’ve gone too far and two, you haven’t gone far enough.
Some of the issues that BCDC focuses on are also ones that we are focusing on as well.
The state has adopted a statutory mandate that it’s the policy of the state to decrease reliance on the Delta for future water needs. This is a powerful but untested theory.
One of the major and most controversial elements of the Delta Plan is the notion that state and local agencies who are required under law to be consistent with the Delta Plan when they’re proposing a covered action as defined in the statute; they have to do something about the decreased reliance language. The Delta Plan proposes that the agencies show that they are doing a reasonable job of complying with the state conservation laws before they make requests for whatever it is they want to request.
Folks who want the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, want the facilities discussion to be completed first, and would prefer to have new water standards if ever, after that.
The folks who don’t like the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and don’t want to build any new facilities or even improve the ones we’ve got, would prefer that you do nothing on facilities and wait for the water quality standards.
Another question is, what do you do with the Delta ecosystem itself. The real issue here is the question of what we’re going to do in California in an era where the public seems startlingly unwilling to increase taxes on themselves and not greatly enthusiastic about taxes on anyone else. We’re running into severe budget problems at all levels of government.
Insofar as state and federal monies are concerned, is it possible to have these funding mechanisms without talking about legal guarantees on the amount of water that will be exported from the Delta?
Everybody wants what they are in favor of to have legal guarantees and so the water debate in California has been about people demanding legal guarantees whether the water is there or not.
We ought to tamp down our enthusiasm for spending money that does not exist. I do not think state general obligation bonds are going to be as large or as frequent as in the past.
If you are a manager or staff, how do you operate when you cannot assume that endless amounts of money are going to be available for needed water infrastructure?
Chair Wasserman thanked Mr. Isenberg for his presentation and moved on to Item 10.
10. Briefing on Plan Bay Area, the Region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. Chair Wasserman stated: We will now have a briefing on the work being done to address the Commission’s comments on Plan Bay Area, the Sustainable Communities Strategy. Joe LaClair will present the briefing.
Chief Planner LaClair presented the following: The Plan Bay Area is in the notice-of-preparation stage of the EIR so this is a good opportunity for the Commission to provide some input on the formulation of the EIR alternatives and any other points you may want to make.
Ms. Marisa Raya of ABAG said Priority Development Areas (PDA) are a critical component of the Plan Bay Area Sustainable Communities Strategy. She said the BCDC and ABAG staff have initiated an analysis of the consistency of PDA land use designations with the Commission’s Bay Plan priority use area designations and PDA exposure to sea level rise. This initial study is helping us drill down on the geographic scale of potential conflicts and make for a more manageable approach to both the priority uses and sea level rise.
BCDC approached ABAG about looking at priority development area boundaries and also the land uses in PDAs to see if there are conflicts with priority uses and sea level rise.
With regard to priority uses, the Commission designates these to ensure that future fill in the Bay is not necessary to accommodate priority uses such as port activities or recreation.
With regard to sea level rise, there are 19 priority development areas within the Commission’s jurisdiction that are potentially exposed to sea level rise and five that are outside of the Commission’s jurisdiction. With regards to earthquake and hazards planning ABAG has been doing a study looking at liquefaction, landslide and faulting areas. Our recommended approach today is to bring these studies together in planning land use decisions.
Ms. Brenda Dix from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission noted that MTC staff have collaborated with BCDC and Caltrans to address sea level rise and worked collectively to improve vulnerability and risk-assessment practices throughout the region. She summarized the outputs from the Federal Highway Administration funded vulnerability assessment for Alameda County. The lessons learned are being used to inform the approach taken in the Plan Bay Area Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Sea level rise analysis for the EIR will be done using the Sea Level Rise Viewer produced by NOAA, and will reflect 14 inches of sea level rise atop a “king” tide.
The EIR process is just getting underway. MTC and ABAG are co-lead agencies for the preparation of a programmatic EIR for Plan Bay Area. The EIR will also include a set of measures to mitigate any significant adverse regional impacts identified in the analysis. The Plan Bay Area EIR does not evaluate sub-components of the proposed plan nor does it assess project-specific or site-specific impacts of individual transportation or development projects.
MTC and ABAG plan to release the draft environmental impact report for a 45-day public review period on December 14th of 2012 and certify the final EIR in April of 2013. The EIR alternatives will be evaluated using an integrated regional transportation and land use model. We are currently considering five alternatives but these are subject to change due to comments during our scoping process.
She outlined the five alternatives, including the no-project alternative; the proposed project, which focuses development in PDA’s; the third focuses development in transit priority areas, with less focus on PDA’s and, in conjunction with transit priority projects could take good advantage of transit investments and benefit from CEQA streamlining; the fourth alternative focuses on eliminating the inter-regional commute, by providing housing opportunities for everyone in the region, implementation of transit efficiency proposals, and less expansion of the High-occupancy Toll Lane network; the fifth alternative, the environment, equity and jobs alternative focuses housing in job rich areas and would restore transit service to 2005 levels.
Ms. Dix described the proposed approach to assessing land use and transit investment exposure to sea level rise in the EIR, including sea level rise map overlays with land use and transportation proposals, as well as mitigation measures. She said the sea level rise scenario used in the analysis will reflect 14 inches of sea level rise atop a king tide, or a tide 12 inches above MHHW.
She said the Joint Policy Committee in 2011 committed to three complementary projects: the green jobs initiative, the Bay Area Economic Strategy Framework and the Bay Area Climate Resilience Strategy. These efforts are intended to influence future versions of the SCS to address climate change, and regional economic and climate resilience. She said MTC and ABAG are committed to working with BCDC to replicate the ART project regionwide. They also plan to integrate sea level rise as a performance criteria next time.
Chair Wasserman asked what is a DEM, and Steve Goldbeck explained it was a laser imaging approach to developing a highly accurate digital surface model of the shoreline. Chair Wasserman asked what datum was used, and Joe LaClair said they were using NAVD 88, which is the most recent tidal datum produced by NOAA.
Chair Wasserman asked: Are the descriptions of the alternatives available on the web?
Ms. Dix replied: Yes they are.
Commissioner McGrath inquired: Looking at the PDAs and the Transit Priority Projects (TPPs), it looks like, in terms of BCDC’s jurisdiction, these are areas that are already committed to development with the exception of the area between the Port of Richmond and Point Isabel, which is a marsh. I wondered why a marsh showed up as a priority development area?
Ms. Raya replied: There are a couple of priority development areas that include substantial amounts of open space and a couple that include wetlands, however their inclusion does not mean there is intention to build in them.
Commissioner McGrath noted that historic records of the 1982–83 storms indicate storms are important, and the analysis doesn’t seem to include storms.
Ms. Dix replied there are other parts of the shoreline that were analyzed and we are looking at a 100-year storm event on top of current conditions. This does not account for sea level rise. The models that are available for doing the wind/wave generation inside the Bay are just too uncertain at this point. We wanted to look at the average sea level rise event that we would see in a typical year.
Commissioner McGrath added: You’re going to get big storms with sea level rise and 14 inches is a reasonable sea level rise. To only model the potential for over topping at existing sea levels is perhaps not as conservative as you want to consider being.
Vice Chair Halsted commented that MTC and ABAG should use more conservative estimates of projected sea level rise in evaluating risks for proposed development and transportation investments.
11. Closed Session to Discuss the Selection Process and Appointment of an Executive Director. Chair Wasserman mentioned that there would not be a closed session at this meeting.
12. New Business. No new business was discussed.
13. Old Business. No old business was discussed.
14. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner McGrath seconded by Vice Chair Halsted the meeting adjourned at 2:11 p.m.
Acting Executive Director
Approved with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of July 19, 2012
R. Zachary Wasserman, Chair