Draft Minutes of October 7, 2021 Virtual Commission Meeting
- Call to Order. The virtual meeting was called to order by Chair Wasserman at 1:01 p.m. The meeting was held online via Zoom and teleconference.
- Roll Call. Present were: Chair Wasserman, Commissioners Addiego, Ahn, Beach, Burt, Butt (represented by Alternate Arreguin), Chan (represented by Alternate Gilmore), Eckerle, Eisen, Eklund, El‑Tawansy, Gioia, Gorin, Gunther, Hasz, Lee, Lucchesi (represented by Alternate Pemberton), Moulton-Peters, Peskin, Ranchod (represented by Alternate Nelson), Randolph, Showalter, Spering (represented by Alternate Vasquez) and Wagenknecht. Senator Skinner, (represented by Alternate McCoy) was also present.
Chair Wasserman announced that a quorum was present.
Not present were Commissioners: San Mateo County (Pine), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Vacant), Department of Finance (Vacant)
- Public Comment Period. Chair Wasserman called for public comment on subjects that were not on the agenda.
Chair Wasserman gave the following instructions: Now, I want to quickly share some instructions on how we can best participate in this meeting so that it runs as smoothly as possible. First, and this applies to everyone, please make sure you have your microphones or phones muted to avoid background noise. For Commissioners, if you have a webcam please make sure that it is on so everyone can see you. For members of the public, if you would like to speak either during our open public comment period or during a public comment period that is part of an agenda item you will need to do so in one of two ways. First, if you are attending on the Zoom platform, please raise your hand in Zoom. If you are new to Zoom and you joined our meeting using the Zoom application, click the Participants icon at the bottom of your screen and look in the box where your name is listed under Attendees, and find the small hand to the left. If you click on that hand, it will raise your hand. Second, if you are joining our meeting via phone, you must press *6 on your keypad to unmute your phone to make a comment. We will call on individuals who have raised their hands in the order that raised. After you are called on you will be unmuted so that you can share your comments. Remember, you have a limit of 3 minutes to speak on an item.
Please keep your comments respectful and focused; we are here to listen to everyone who wishes to address us, but everyone has an obligation to act in a civil manner. We will not tolerate hate speech, threats made directly or indirectly, and/or abusive language.
Every now and then you will hear me refer to the meeting "host" — our BCDC staff is acting as hosts for the meeting behind the scenes to ensure that the technology works and we can keep meeting in this wonderful virtual fashion.
BCDC has also established an email address to compile public comments for our meetings. Its address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have received one email that has been shared with all the Commissioners prior to the meeting. If we receive any emails during the meeting they will be shared with the Commissioners and be made available on our website bcdc.ca.gov along with the public comment emails we already have received. If anyone wishes to address the Commission on any matter which is not on today’s agenda or we have not yet held a public hearing you will have three minutes to do so.
Mr. David Lewis of Save the Bay addressed the Commission: Good afternoon, Commissioners. This is David Lewis the Executive Director of Save the Bay. For the sixth year in a row we are celebrating Bay Day, a region-wide holiday and opportunity for everyone to appreciate the great natural treasure in our midst.
And for the second year in a row in consideration of Covid this year Bay Day is Bay Month and we are celebrating throughout the month of October.
And I want to invite you and your contacts and communities to celebrate San Francisco Bay along with us by taking the Bay Trail Challenge. The simple opportunity is to get folks out to the shoreline, enjoy the Bay Trail and the spectacular parks and other places along the Bay.
All of you know how important the Bay is and it is always surprising to discover people who haven’t actually taken advantage of the spectacular places on the shoreline.
If you go to bayday.org we have a special website set up where people can actually register to take the Bay Trail Challenge and log their miles walking or biking or jogging on parts of the Bay Trail in the month of October.
We actually have teams from many of the area’s leading companies and local community groups who have signed up as teams to challenge each other to do this.
It is a family-friendly, fun, safe, flexible activity that everybody can enjoy.
I’m very pleased that Supervisor Pine and several other Commissioners have already shared this opportunity with their networks. It is not too late. We encourage all of you to do that as well. We know many of you are prominent leaders with big networks in the community and we encourage you to share this opportunity with everyone that you know by going to bayday.org and to help us to get everyone to appreciate the Bay. Thanks very much.
Chair Wasserman moved to Approval of the Minutes.
- Approval of Minutes of the September 2, 2021 Meeting. Chair Wasserman asked for a motion and a second to adopt the Minutes of September 2, 2021.
MOTION: Commissioner Eisen moved approval of the Minutes of September 2, 2021 seconded by Commissioner Gunther.
The motion carried by a voice vote with no opposition and Commissioner Eklund voting “ABSTAIN”.
- Report of the Chair. Chair Wasserman reported on the following:
I have a number of announcements to make regarding several Commissioners. First, I would like to formally welcome Novato Mayor Pat Eklund to the Commission. Mayor Eklund has been appointed by ABAG to fill its North Bay seat. Commissioner Eklund, if you would like to say a few words by way of introduction, the floor is yours for a minute or two.
Commissioner Eklund addressed attendees: Thank you very much, Chair Wasserman. I first wanted to say, thank you to President Arreguin for the opportunity to serve on BCDC.
It feels like this is the hand in the glove. If you don’t’ know anything about me – I started working the day after high school graduation for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I worked for them for eight years. And then I worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 35 years all of which I went to undergraduate and graduate school working full time and going to school full time.
My second master’s degree is a Masters of Science from the University of San Francisco.
At the Army Corps of Engineers I started working with them when the Clean Water Act was passed and giving the authority the Corps for our permitting program.
So I got to work with the colonel and trying to tell the Indians up north that we regulated them and their activities on the river. That was not well received. And we had some very interesting experiences which is a separate chapter in my book that I am writing.
Then I went to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where I had a variety of jobs which I just absolutely loved. That was the best move I ever made because since I am not an engineer and I’m female – obviously at that time at the Army Corps of Engineers from 1969 to 1977 they – women may not necessarily have advanced as well as men did during that time.
I first worked in the Water Program in water quality planning. And then I was in charge of the Oceans and Estuary Section for E.P.A. where I actually designated San Francisco Bay and Santa Monica Bay as estuaries, part of the National Estuary Program.
And then I was director of the Office of Groundwater. And then I was also in charge of Underground Storage Tanks Program where I was the one that, along with water agencies in Southern California, discovered MTBE in groundwater which really demonstrated that even E.P.A. that the different hands don’t really talk to each other. The Air Program and the Tanks Program really didn’t talk to each other. So adding MTBE to gas, it moves a lot faster than benzene did and MTBE was contaminating groundwater all originating from underground storage tanks.
So a fascinating career at E.P.A. – I retired in 2013 after serving the federal service for 43 years, seven months and 11 days. (On screen laughter) But who is counting?
My dad had just passed and my mom needed some extra help. She turns 95 in January. She is a kick in the pants. In fact, she will probably sit in with me in one of these meetings and she might tell us all a thing or two. She is really on top of things.
I had the honor of having served on the city council for over 26 years. I first ran for election in June of 1995. I set all sorts of records in the city of Novato. We rotate the mayorship. I have been mayor seven times.
I have done a variety of different things. I’m the only elected official in Marin County that has served as president of the League of California Cities. And I have served on the Environmental Policy Committee for the League of California Cities since 1996. I’ve been chair of the Committee twice which is very uncommon.
I really led the effort statewide on Prop 1A which saved the property tax, the sales tax and it came under my watch as president and I’ve also set a lot of environmental policies for the League and continue to do so.
So that is a brief conceptualization of who I am and what I’ve done. And my passion is I have three cats. And my passion is helping people and protecting the environment.
Oh – one more thing – it was a culmination of so many years when we breached the dike out at Hamilton; I was there. I was there right when the water was coming through and I have to tell you all those years of watching the Coastal Conservancy put dredged material into Hamilton and working with Olive School after getting a PG&E grant to collect the seeds and then plant all the wetlands material – it is the best experience in your life.
And I’m really looking forward to having Bel Marin Keyes Five completed for wetland restoration. Obviously getting wetland material is a challenge right now.
So I am really excited about using my experience and my knowledge and my passion for the environment on BCDC. So thank you very much for allowing me to say a few words. Again, thanks to President Arreguin for the opportunity to serve.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged the introduction: Thank you very much.
Related to Commissioner Eklund’s appointment, Dan Hillmer, who was Commissioner Techel’s Alternate, is no longer a member of the Commission. Dan has been a steadfast attendee of Commission meetings and I think that the entire Commission would like to thank him for his lengthy service to this Commission and to our Bay.
In addition, Sonoma County has selected Supervisor David Rabbit to be Commissioner Gorin’s Alternate.
With the passing of Anne Halsted we have a vacancy for Vice Chair of this Commission. We are in communication with Governor Newsom’s Office. He has not yet appointed a Commission Vice Chair.
Unless there is an objection I would name Commissioner Eisen to serve as the Commission’s Acting Chair in those circumstances where I cannot be present through travel or illness or occasional recusal so that our process can go on smoothly. Commissioner Eisen has graciously agreed to serve in that role.
So unless I hear an objection we will make her Acting Chair or the other thing that happens from time to time for any of us is our connection to the internet goes out. So that can happen at any time.
Hearing no objection, it shall be so.
Now to the Seaport Planning Advisory Committee. Unless I hear an objection, I will appoint Regional Water Quality Board Alternate Jim McGrath to chair the SPAC. He has served well on that committee and will make an excellent chair.
We do have a vacancy to fill on the Committee due to the passing of Anne Halsted. And this is one of the many things where she has left a significant gap behind. I would be very pleased to hear of any Commissioners or Alternates who would like to take part in the SPAC’s deliberations as BCDC’s second appointee.
You can contact me or Larry if you are interested in that to get more information. Hopefully we will be able to fill that position with a volunteer.
I also have the enviable task of proposing new appointments to our Engineering Criteria Review Board, or ECRB. You’ll remember that it is the ECRB that advises us on the engineering and safety aspects of proposed projects.
You have received a staff recommendation that discusses the makeup of the ECRB and the eminent credentials of the proposed appointees and the new process that our staff has undertaken to do outreach and create a new and forward looking ECRB.
Unless I hear objections, I would appoint Dr. Gyimah Kasali, Dr. Ramin Golesorkhi, Dr. Kris May and Professor Nicolas Sitar as members of the ECRB. I would also like to appoint the following Alternate Board Members: Dr. Thaleia Travasorou, Mr. Gayle Jonson, Dr. Dilip Trivedi and Mr. Justin Vandever.
Finally, I would like to appoint current ECRB Board Member Rod Iwashita to be ECRB Chair and current member Jim French as Vice-Chair. Are there any objections? (No objections were voiced) Hearing none, those people are appointed and I thank them very much for their service and will continue to do so. It is a very important part of our process.
My own Report will be very brief. Of some interest to me in preparation for my remarks, I usually do some Google scanning on new reports on sea level rise, particularly in the Bay Area.
And one of the things that struck me is I did that for this meeting. It’s not so much that there is something new but there are now repeated and very frequent entries from a variety of sources which says to me that this there is a growing awareness that this is a very major problem. And I take a little bit of comfort from that despite the huge challenges we face in adapting to rising sea level.
I am pleased in that same regard, however, to say that next week will be what is the last meeting in this phase of the Leadership Advisory Group on the preparation of Bay Area Adapt. So in October we expect to present the Bay Adapt Plan to this Commission for adoption.
It has been endorsed by BARC and it is starting to be widely circulated. It has taken a long time and it is really just the beginning of the next phase which is actually developing the specific plan which will include and knit together the projects to respond to rising sea level and allow us to adapt.
One very brief remark on what I think is going to be an interesting educational opportunity. I am sure that many of you have seen some reference to some interest in exploring a tidal barrage or other mechanism at the Golden Gate Bridge to minimize water coming as part of adaptation.
Commissioner Gunther along with Jeremy Lowe authored a very excellent and illuminating op-ed piece in The Chronicle on that proposal. I look forward to it because I think it will help raise attention to the critical problem we face with rising sea level and the corresponding issue that anything we do to adapt will have consequences that we need to evaluate as we build and allow those adaptations.
So, we have some interesting as well as difficult challenges ahead of us.
Now, I would like to ask Commissioner Ahn to give a brief report on the Commissioner Environmental Justice Working Group meeting that was held this morning.
Commissioner Ahn reported the following: Yes, indeed. We had a pretty full meeting today. All four EJ Working Group Commissioners and five of the six EJ Advisors were in attendance.
And we got an update on all their progress to date. So the EJ Advisors have met over 10 times to discuss and gain alignment on things like decision making, shared principles, and objectives.
They’ve done project pitches and after deliberation they’ve specifically settled on things like a CBO directory, a racial equity plan and convening benefits metrics as their top three priorities for their current term which is up until spring 2022.
We also heard on the Racial Equity Action Plan and the progress behind that and met with the consultants called World Trust. They attended the meeting and facilitated discussion with Commissioners and EJ Advisors on implicit bias which will inform the upcoming training.
And finally I know there are some new Commissioners here today. And if you have an interest in joining the Environmental Justice Working Group – the water is warm. So follow up with us offline and we’d be happy to discuss your further involvement in these meetings too if you are interested.
That is it for the report.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged: Thank you, Eddie. And certainly any Commissioners who aren’t in that please feel free to contact Eddie and talk about what it means and join that group which is doing very important work to make sure that our actions and Bay Adapt and the future project plans are fair and equitable and protect all of us including, in particular, the most vulnerable.
- Next BCDC Meeting. Our next Commission meeting will be held on October 21st. At that meeting we may:
- Consider adopting the Bay Adapt Joint Platform;
- Hold a briefing on the San Francisco Estuary Partnership Blueprint; and,
- Hold a briefing on our Enforcement Program.
Commissioner Gunther was recognized: Thanks, Zack. I just want to follow up briefly to say that I had a chance after publishing that article in The Chronicle to speak to Mayor Liccardo who was the person Mayor of San Jose who put this idea out in a manner that ended up in the newspaper to begin with and I just want to let the Commissioners know that I took the opportunity with meeting him to thank him for speaking out about this issue.
And he was quoted in the newspaper as saying that he wasn’t a hydrologist but, and I told him the hydrologists aren’t going to find the solution to this problem, that it’s going to be the mayors who are willing to take on the challenges.
And while I have written down along with Jeremy the problems I see associated with constructing some kind of facility at the Bridge even if we can do it – whatever other visionary solutions we might devise is going to have all sorts of associated challenges with it.
And I think it’s – while many of these challenges are 40 or 50 years hence – we have the opportunity now to really think about them and to discuss them as a community. I really hope we take advantage of that.
It’s not our normal procedure on our political cycles to be engaged with things 50 years from now but this is not a normal issue and I hope that we will be able to continue to further this discussion both at BCDC and every venue where all of us are engaged. Thanks.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged: Thank you.
- My last item of substance is to reiterate some instructions about the closed session that we will hold later in this meeting.
This morning between 10:00 and noon each of you should have received an email from Grace Gomez of BCDC’s staff. That email includes specific instructions about how to call into the closed session. As we are continuing with these virtual meetings we are experimenting with a variety of ways to most efficiently conduct them and we are doing this one for our closed session today.
The closed session will not be by Zoom. It will be by phone. When we go into closed session you should NOT leave this meeting – keep it up. However, make sure that your camera and your microphone are muted and call in.
After the closed session we will return here and then you can turn those on. If you by chance leave you can join by the link that got you here in the first place. Hopefully this will work smoothly.
If you do not see that email from Grace please put something in the chat to the host or to Peggy Atwell and we will have them send it to you again.
That brings me to Ex Parte Communications.
- Ex Parte Communications. Commissioners, if any of you have received an ex parte communication about an adjudicatory matter, a matter of public hearing or an application that they have not previously reported through the website now is the appropriate time to do that recognizing that you still need to put in writing through email on the website.
Does anybody have an ex parte communication they wish to report? (No reports were voiced) Hearing and seeing none we will now turn to our Executive Director’s Report. Take it away, Larry.
- Next BCDC Meeting. Our next Commission meeting will be held on October 21st. At that meeting we may:
- Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Goldzband reported: Thank you very much Chair Wasserman.
Our family went to the movies a couple weeks ago for the first time in at least 18 months. We really missed sitting in a theater with popcorn and peanut M&Ms and becoming engrossed in a good movie.
Movies, of course, can reflect the sensibilities of their release dates. For example, on this date in 1959 the romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” was released with Rock Hudson and Doris Day. A dozen years later on October 7, 1971, “The French Connection” premiered, whose taut dialogue, realistic New York City settings, and thrilling car chase is about as different from “Pillow Talk” as “Candyman” is to “In the Heights.” I hope that you find the vibe of today’s Commission meeting somewhere between the fluff of “Pillow Talk” and the grit of “The French Connection” but as interesting as both in its own way.
- Budget and Staffing. So, combining budget and staffing, I am very pleased to let you know that we plan to hire Daisy Kaur as our new budget manager.
Daisy currently works at the State’s Department of General Services as a budget analyst and previously worked at the California Department of Veterans Affairs and in the private sector handling procurement and contracting. She has degrees in economics and accounting, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix and we look forward to her coming on board this month unless we hear otherwise.
Also in the good news category is that Anniken Lydon, our relatively new Bay Resources permit manager will be hiring current BCDC staff member Schuyler Olsson to take on the Bay Restoration Regulatory Integration Team (BRRIT) role at BCDC next week.
Schuyler joined BCDC over three years ago as an Enforcement Analyst and then became a Coastal Program Analyst on the Bay Resources Team.
Schuyler is a Jumbo from Tufts and an Eagle from American University which is one of the oddest combinations of any BCDC staff member.
He has worked on a number of projects during his tenure, and we look forward to Schuyler representing the Commission on the BRRIT Permitting Team.
And finally with regard to staffing, we have hired Alex Ritchie to supplement our small administrative team. Alex is a Cal Golden Bear with a degree in history who has worked in the Office of the Governor and at CalOES in Sacramento.
He recently moved from Sacramento with his partner, dog and cat and is passionate about climate change and habitat restoration and likes to travel. He’ll provide two much-needed additional hands for Peggy’s team.
- Policy Issues. Lots of news to report this week. At its September meeting, the BARC Governing Board, comprised of members from MTC, ABAG, the Air District and BCDC adopted a resolution endorsing the Bay Adapt Joint Platform and committing to help implement it individually and collectively. On October 21st we will bring the Bay Adapt Joint Platform to you for your consideration, and hopefully, adoption.
Late last month I was delighted to send to you a copy of an op-ed co-written by Commissioner Gunther on the possibility of constructing some kind of tidal barrier underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
I did so in large part because the Bay Area Council has started prodding discussions among various parties to determine whether such a barrier would be a feasible and an appropriate response to rising sea levels. As part of those discussions, I have told the Bay Area Council that perhaps designing and constructing such a barrier would be the easiest part of a comprehensive analysis that would include its ecological, economic, and social ramifications in and around the Bay, along San Francisco’s and Marin’s shoreline outside of the Bridge, and within the Delta and up to the lower Sierras.
The Council is deciding whether and how to form a diverse scoping group to determine what such a study should include and our staff has recommended several individuals to be part of such a team. We’ll keep you informed of the Council’s progress.
Next are a couple real good pieces of news. First, last month, our enforcement team led by Priscilla Njuguna submitted a letter of intent to apply for a grant from the NOAA’s Marine Debris Removal Grant Program to remove the abandoned commercial derelict vessel, the tug Polaris from the Bay.
You’ll remember that the Polaris ran aground around 2013 in the Carquinez Strait, has remained there despite various local collaborative efforts to fund its removal, and the Enforcement Audit included a picture of the vessel.
BCDC and the State Lands Commission have been working together to figure out how to rid the Bay of the vessel given limited funding available for marine debris removal across the country.
BCDC paid for a marine survey of the vessel earlier this year; it concluded that the tug’s structural integrity is deteriorating. Why am I letting you know this now? Because BCDC has a chance to expend approximately $46,000 from our Bay Fill Clean-Up and Abatement Fund and secure cash and in-kind support from other agencies such as the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Cal Fish and Wildlife, Contra Costa County, the East Bay Regional Park District, and the Coast Guard, and to rid the Bay of the vessel.
And today you will hear from Brad McCrea about the two funds to which BCDC has access to improve the Bay, including the Bay Fill Fund.
We will keep the Commission informed when NOAA decides if BCDC qualifies to submit a full grant application. If BCDC succeeds then, grant funds will be made available in September 2022.
I should note that the State does not have a funding source to abate abandoned derelict commercial vessels similar to its program for abandoned derelict recreational vessels. Our staff plans to work with the Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature to address the abandoned commercial vessel funding gap.
Also, with regard to the beneficial reuse of sediment; we learned last week that the U.S. EPA has selected a grant application for funding that BCDC submitted earlier this year. The application, titled “New Sediment Management Policies for Wetland Restoration and Climate Change Resilience in San Francisco Bay,” is designed to enable BCDC to begin working on a possible Bay Plan amendment on the beneficial reuse of sediment.
Brenda Goeden and her sediment team led this effort in collaboration with Erik Buehmann and the Long-Term Planning Team. The proposal includes three parts, working with stakeholders to create a roadmap; a background policy development for a proposal; and a financing strategy. We’ll let you know more about the staff’s nascent proposal to move forward with such an amendment later this year.
Two final bits of good news. First, there is a new page has appeared on BCDC’s website. It is dedicated to the Commission’s new Climate Change Policy Guidance, which you adopted this past July.
And a final bit of good news, the Ocean Protection Council has started a new small public-education campaign on rising sea level. Please keep a look-out on your television screens for a number of what we think are pretty cute ads and pretty good public-service announcements to inform the public that indeed rising sea level is coming.
BCDC is working with the campaign’s media consultants and linking to various news outlets concentrating specifically on environmental justice. And we will keep you informed should the campaign actually get traction in the Bay Area which we imagine it will.
Finally, Chair Wasserman, I want to buttress a reminder that you will see in my Executive Director’s Summary Report this afternoon – please – we want each of our Commissioners and Alternates to register for, and attend, your November 4th implicit bias training.
You’ll remember that the Commission will not meet on that day. Rather, we’ll split the Commission in two and you’ll participate in a two-hour training during one of two time slots that afternoon.
Earlier this week I sent to each Commissioner and Alternate who has not registered for the training a reminder with a link to do so. That link also will be on today’s Commission Summary. Please work with your Commissioner or Alternate to attend the same session and we look forward to your participation.
That concludes my extended Report, Chair Wasserman, and I’m happy to answer any questions.
Chair Wasserman asked: Any questions for the Executive Director? (No questions were voiced) I do not see any.
- Budget and Staffing. So, combining budget and staffing, I am very pleased to let you know that we plan to hire Daisy Kaur as our new budget manager.
- Consideration of Administrative Matters. Chair Wasserman stated: Item 7 is the Consideration of Administrative Matters. We do not have any this month so that brings us to Item 8.
- Public Hearing and Possible Vote on an Application by the Bay Area Council and the Port of San Francisco for the Klamath Historic Ferry Project at Pier 9, in the City and County of San Francisco; BCDC Permit Application No. 2021.001.00. Chair Wasserman announced: Item 8 on our Agenda, a public hearing and possible vote to permit allowing the mooring and use of the historic ferry boat Klamath at Pier 9 along the San Francisco Waterfront. Katharine Pan will introduce the proposed project.
Commissioner Randolph recused himself from hearing and voting on the item.
Principal Shoreline Development Analyst Pan presented the following: Good afternoon, Chair Wasserman and Commissioners. I am Katharine Pan, your Principal Shoreline Development Analyst. I am going to provide you with a brief summary of this application, Application Number 2021.001.00 for mooring the Klamath historic ferry at Pier 9; then we will give the applicants an opportunity to share some more details of their project with you.
On September 24th you were mailed the summary of an application and a staff recommendation for the mooring of the historic ferry boat the Klamath at Pier 9 in the City and County of San Francisco. Pier 9 is located on the Northeastern San Francisco Waterfront between Broadway and Vallejo Street.
The project would involve mooring the Klamath in the Bay off of the south side of Pier 9 and also include a portion of the southern Pier 9 apron.
The pier is currently closed to the public but it is used by a number of port tenants including Autodesk, the San Francisco Bar Pilots, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority or WETA and some other businesses. Pier 9 is also located in the Broadway Open Water Basin as designated in the Commission’s San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan.
The applicants for this project are the Bay Area Council and the Port of San Francisco. The project would moor the Klamath at Pier 9 through July 2046, which is the maximum duration of the Bay Area Council's lease with the Port.
Mooring would involve dredging up to 5,000 cubic yards of sediment from a roughly 0.32 acre area alongside the pier to ensure adequate draft for the ship to remain afloat at all tides and also removing eight existing steel piles from the water and installing four new steel guide piles to stabilize the ship.
The Klamath would be used as office space and event space operated by the Bay Area Council and would provide access and historical interpretation on all three decks for the public.
Three ramps would provide ADA-accessible access to and from the fore and aft of the ship, two fore and one aft, and a fourth ramp would provide an emergency exit at midship.
The project would also include some public access improvements to the Pier 9 apron.
If this project sounds familiar it may be because the Commission approved a related amendment to the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan on November 5th of last year.
Prior to the amendment, the Special Area Plan restricted the mooring of historic ships in open-water basins to just those that were permitted as of July 20, 2000 and allowed four additional historic ships in open-water areas of the Northeastern Waterfront.
BPA 1‑20 included three policy revisions that allowed one additional historic ship to be moored in the Broadway Open Water Basin at Pier 9 and reduced the number of new historic ships allowed in open-water areas to three, ensuring that the maximum number of new historic ships on the Northeastern Waterfront would remain at four.
The project would result in new Bay fill but would also reduce the amount of solid fill in the Bay. The Klamath itself constitutes about 10,960 square feet of new floating fill. About 1,115 square feet of new cantilevered fill would be required to provide ADA and emergency access between the ship and the pier. Four new steel mooring piles would need to be installed in the Bay to stabilize the ship, amounting to about 50 square feet and 37 cubic yards of new solid fill.
The project would remove eight existing derelict steel piles from the site, about 56.5 square feet and 52 cubic yards, resulting in a net decrease of solid fill of about 6.5 square feet and 15 cubic yards.
The project would provide approximately 19,500 square feet or almost half an acre of new public access, including about 7,400 square feet of access on the Pier 9 apron and 12,200 square feet of access aboard the Klamath. Along the apron, access would include the area between the entrance gate from the Embarcadero and the San Francisco Bar Pilot security gate. New guard rails would be installed along the edge of the pier for public safety.
Public access amenities, including interpretive signage, have been proposed for the apron, but the exact types and configuration would need to be determined with the San Francisco Fire Department to ensure adequate emergency access in case of an evacuation.
The ship and apron would only be accessible during the Klamath’s operating hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, excluding specific federally recognized holidays.
Aboard the Klamath, public access would be provided across all three decks, accessible by elevator or stairs. On the main deck public access would include the approximately 1,600-square foot entryway, which will include some seating and some interpretive elements.
The upper deck would include the 1,000-square-foot open air terrace, which will provide views of the City and Waterfront, and a 1,000-square-foot reception area. The upper deck also includes two multi-stall public restrooms for public use as well.
On the roof deck public access would include a 500-square-foot museum and 7,400 square feet of outdoor space, which includes a 3,800-square-foot deck and 3,600 square feet of landscaping with views of both the City and the Bay. Two accessible restrooms would also be available on roof.
And I want to note that the roof deck exterior area would be closed to the public every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for activities such as special events and maintenance. During that time, the rooftop museum and restrooms and all other public access areas aboard the ship would still be publicly accessible, and this regular closure would be clearly noticed in the project signage program.
The project would include up to 5,000 cubic yards of new work dredging over approximately 0.32 acres to a depth of 20 feet below mean lower low water in the proposed berthing area to accommodate the Klamath’s 16-foot draft.
Sediment testing for the site showed that the dredged sediment would be appropriate for beneficial reuse; that is, use as cover material in a habitat restoration project. Therefore, the dredged sediment is planned to be reused at a wetland restoration site, most likely the Montezuma Wetland Restoration Project near Suisun or the Cullinan Ranch Restoration Project near Vallejo.
It is anticipated that some amount of disturbance and alteration of the habitat at the project site is unavoidable, including temporary disturbances from dredging and in-water construction, the presence of solid fill from new piles, and new shading from the Klamath and its ramps.
The project does include some components that would help to mitigate these impacts, including the removal of eight existing piles from the Bay that would result in a net reduction of solid fill, the beneficial reuse of the dredged sediment at a restoration project in the Bay, and the ultimate removal of all newly placed fill at the end of the project's life.
As a floating vessel, the Klamath itself is not vulnerable to sea level rise, but it does rely on fixed infrastructure including, the mooring piles and Pier 9, for stability and access.
Based on the Ocean Protection Council's 2018 Sea Level Rise Guidance, these assets would be resilient to the projected 100-year storm condition at mid-century, as the mooring piles were designed to an elevation that accommodates the projected rise as well as the vessel’s range of motion, and the pier would remain above projected sea levels as well.
In projected end-of-century storm conditions the project could experience some impacts from sea level rise. At projected levels, the mooring piles would still be above water but would not be able to accommodate the ship's full range of potential motions, and the pier could be vulnerable to flood levels of nearly five feet.
It is assumed that the functional life of the project will end by mid-century with the end of the Bay Area Council’s lease with the Port of San Francisco, so adaptation may not be required. However, should sea level rise higher or more rapidly than projected, or if the project should remain in place beyond 2046, the project includes a trigger to prepare and implement a sea level rise adaptation plan at the first instance of coastal flooding that would impact the project or close public access.
In terms of environmental justice, it may be useful to know that the project site is in a census block group identified as having high social vulnerability by BCDC’s community vulnerability mapping tool. It is also just north of a census block identified as having moderate social vulnerability.
In designing the project, the applicants conducted a number of outreach activities and incorporated feedback from stakeholders into various aspects of the project, including the content of the museum's exhibits and how it would be presented, and how many conference rooms would be provided. As noted here, outreach included neighbors, neighborhood groups, environmental justice and social equity nonprofits, elected officials, ferry industry leaders, commercial groups, and academics and researchers.
The staff summary highlights relevant policy issues raised by the project, including whether the public access proposed as part of the project is the maximum feasible consistent with the project and whether it is otherwise consistent with the McAteer-Petris Act, the Bay Plan, and the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan in terms of the Commission's laws and policies on Bay fill, dredging, mitigation, sea level rise, and environmental justice.
Now I would like to introduce John Grubb, the Chief Operating Officer of the Bay Area Council, to present their proposal in some greater detail.
Mr. Grubb addressed the Commission: Hello. My name is John Grubb, again, the Chief Operating Officer at the Bay Area Council. Thank you, Katharine, for the presentation.
Today, I am joined by Keith Garner and Ellen Johnck who are helping on my team and then also Patrick Foster and Dominic Moreno from the Port of San Francisco who can help answer any questions if I cannot get to them.
I would like to thank Chair Wasserman for allowing us to be on the Agenda and Executive Director Goldzband for also having us on the Agenda and for your support in meetings that we have had and really helping us figure out the right way to do things. In particular though I want to thank, and you all should thank, Katharine Pan, Ethan Lavine, and Andrea Gaffney. You all should be very proud of the staff that you have at BCDC. They are very professional. They are pleasant to work with. They are also a pain in the neck (on-screen laughter) and they dragged us much farther than we thought we were going to go, we thought we could go in serving the mission of BCDC. We believe they did a good job and I think we have put together a pretty good project for you.
Two other quick points that I will make before I jump into my presentation that are not in the presentation. One is that we are all electric on the Klamath. The Klamath ferry used to, of course, run on lots of diesel when it was a ferry. Then they stopped that and then they ran on a lot of natural gas and pumped Bay water through the hull of the boat to do cooling and heating. The natural gas, of course, was used for boilers to heat this water system and then it used tremendous amounts of electricity to do all that.
I wanted to point out to you that we have stripped out, at significant cost, all of those systems and now have hyper-efficient air conditioning that we are going to have in here as well as, of course, our lighting will be very low electric use, et cetera. We were at more than 600 amps of power and we are down below, generally we will be below 200 and even most of the time operating at about 100 amps of power; so a super-efficient operation.
The second thing I would just mention is that this project is 52 percent public access, which when we have looked at comparable projects that are out there with respect to all of them we think we offer something pretty compelling. Without any more of that preamble let me jump into my presentation.
This is a really exciting day today. The Klamath, by the way, is actually right now passing under — it just passed underneath the Antioch Bridge traveling from Stockton and headed to Vallejo to get to a shipyard. So it is a really big day to also be in front of you at BCDC.
Context of ferry boats, you probably know a lot of this, but I will go over it relatively quickly. Between 1850 and 1939 was a golden era of ferries on San Francisco Bay. We are hoping to bring that back. But there were 120 ferry boats which were in operation during that time.
They came in lots of different shapes and sizes and carried all sorts of different things, of course passengers and cars, but also horses and livestock, agriculture, they were the connection of the Bay Area.
They also had a ton of community on them. They hosted marathon card games. They had dancing and live music and bars and pinball machines and then, of course, lots of children got their first real views of San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area while riding on these ferries.
But as we all know, the bridges brought about the demise of the golden era of the ferries, particularly the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge, but the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge also played a role. Which, by the way, the Bay Area Council had a strong role in helping to get built and had a strong role in the Klamath’s history. I will get to that in a second.
So those 120 boats, one by one lost. They sank, burned, were scrapped, they were sold and then lost otherwise.
By 1979, only 14 could be accounted for in various locations in the United States. Since 1979, we have lost another nine of these historic boats and so there are just five today.
Three of them are in the Bay Area. Actually technically four it just became, in the Bay Area. But the Santa Rosa, which you can see, is down on the Bay at Pier 3, the Eureka, which is at the Maritime Museum. The sort of very beat up one there is called the Sausalito. That is actually in Antioch, it’s a sports club. There is one in San Diego and then the fifth is the Klamath here shown in Stockton.
Klamath has had a fascinating history. She was built in San Francisco at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in 1924; went into the water for the first time in December of 1924. Carried 1,000 people and 78 cars — so very sizable. Originally she went between San Francisco and Oakland then did for a little bit San Francisco to Sausalito but most of her life ran between Richmond and San Rafael for 18 years and was, as best we can tell, the last major boat to operate on San Francisco Bay.
Unfortunately, put out of business by the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Although there is a little bit of karmic justice, I believe, for the Bay Area Council to help bring this boat back, in that we feel a little bit responsible for helping put her out of commission.
There is the Klamath right there on one of her last journeys across San Francisco Bay as a ferry.
But her history was not done. She became the headquarters of Landor Associates, which is an historic company in San Francisco and the Bay Area. This is what is now the world's largest branding firm.
Walter Landor bought the Klamath and turned it into an office space; it was at Pier 5 in San Francisco. On this very boat was created the Levi's logo, the MUNI logo, the current Coca Cola logo and many, many others, Bank of America and lots of others.
Of course, they didn't just have the business operations there but it was a cultural watering hole. People like Andy Warhol and Tom Wolfe and Marshall McLuhan, et cetera, gathered on the Klamath and maybe even some of you were on the Klamath during those times.
Landor was bought by a larger firm and forced then to let go, much to their regret, the Klamath, which was bought then by Duraflame.
Duraflame makes fire logs that are in some people's fireplaces. A little bit of trivia, I forget if I told you this before, but actually Duraflame is the world's largest pencil maker and it is actually the sawdust from the pencils that they put into the fire logs mixed with wax that they make their fire logs.
Anyway, Duraflame has moved out of California, in the past few years moved to Nevada, and wanted to sell the boat and the surrounding property, couldn't find any buyers and was in danger of being lost, another ferryboat lost to history.
But the Bay Area Council has purchased her, and proposes to dock her at Pier 9. That is a picture of our staff at the Bay Area Council and as Katharine went over, the various uses that we will have.
And you have seen this already, this is Pier 9 where we would propose to have the Klamath and all the public access mapped out
And then these charts, again, Katharine already went over so I won't beleaguer this, although I will point out the event space here is not considered public access space, but it is a conference center and I would bet that many of you may eventually come to various events in the conference space. Maybe BCDC will hold hearings there at some point; you are invited to do it if you want to.
This is the second floor.
And then this is the roof deck. The Klamath did not have a roof deck. We built this thing. It was very expensive.
And then when we went to the DRB, the Design Review Board of BCDC, they requested a bunch of changes which we incorporated primarily into the roof deck but in other areas as well. To put tongues out to the side so that people could go look over the edge. They asked us to make the landscaping area deeper to allow for better plant life to grow there — a number of other changes that we also did; had to put a ton of structural support throughout. There is steel that travels actually all the way down to the keel to support that roof deck.
This is look and feel. This is from the Embarcadero.
Now you are walking towards the main gate. The DRB asked us to do better public shore signs so you see some representations of the signs here. We will have maps of the public access space on the Klamath to invite the public in more. This gate will be open, again, during our business hours, the Bay Area Council business hours, because our staff is going to be staffing the operation of the public aspect as well as our own regular business stuff that we do.
Another public shore sign.
Now we are walking in. This is the main lobby. We are going to put some murals on the wall in the lobby. Hopefully historic ferry pictures but we are still developing that programming.
This is a little bit more of the lobby and the sort of check-in desk there.
And then you would walk up the stairs.
This is the Bay Area Council's reception space. The rendered gentleman here is looking at the history of the Bay Area Council. We have been around for 76 years ourselves so we are going to show some of our history.
That is the sundeck or that sort of upper deck level that is out that door right there which will have tables and chairs, places for the public to gather.
Now we are headed up and now we are in the museum of the Klamath. These are interactive displays that are on the wall here and those will change over time there. Our plan is to focus on the Bay and water transit, the past, the future, the fanciful, but could do lots of different things over the 15 or hopefully 25 years that we are there.
And then some aspects of the Klamath. There is the captain's wheel. And then that is called a compass, you probably know that if you are boat people, but that is the brass power switch there to go forward or aft, that is there.
The piece de resistance is the roof deck that is here. The views will be stunning. This is a view towards downtown San Francisco. But it will rise up over the, at least certainly at high tide, over the roof of Pier 9 so that you will be able to see to the North Bay as well to Marin and Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa, et cetera. And then, of course, to the east to Alameda and the Bay Bridge and south, so 360 degree views that folks can enjoy.
This is the event center that is down below, again, on the ground floor, where I mentioned, you could host BCDC hearings or whatever, all kinds of different events can happen here.
I am going to end with this picture. Please imagine yourself, this is one of the historic pilot houses that we have preserved on the Klamath that you will be able to walk into, you will be able to grip that steering wheel of the Klamath and hopefully feel great about helping to create this opportunity and restore this history back to San Francisco.
That is it for my presentation. Thank you for the time and I am available to take any questions. Thank you.
Chair Wasserman asked: Peggy, do we have any public comments?
Ms. Atwell replied: Yes, we have a couple of hands raised.
Chair Wasserman announced: The public hearing is opened.
Mr. Bash was recognized: I am Alec Bash. Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to speak before the BCDC Commission and staff this afternoon. I am speaking in support of the proposal. I live in the Gateway apartments right across from Sydney Walton Square, about four blocks away from where the ferryboat would be moored.
This is going to be an excellent addition to the open water basin. It will be across from the sister ship, the Santa Rosa.
And unlike the Santa Rosa, the Klamath will be readily visible from the Embarcadero Promenade, which will be a real attraction for people walking along who get to see the wonderful historic, historic bulkhead buildings. But to see one of the historic ferry boats as well will be a wonderful experience for people coming to the San Francisco Waterfront, whether as San Francisco residents or people from the Bay Area or across the country coming here.
We want to thank you for considering this. The thought of being able to go on to the roof deck or the outer decks — I could actually see my apartment building from the deck in the slide that you had in front of you and looking forward to not only seeing the deck view but to also seeing it from where I live.
And again, thank you for considering this and thank you to the Bay Area Council for bringing the ferry boat back to San Francisco. Thank you.
Mr. Puglisi commented: Good afternoon, members of BCDC and all the Commissioners. My name is Chris Puglisi and I am a union representative with Pile Drivers Local 34 here in Oakland, California. We are an affiliate or a joiner union of Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. We represent organized labor. Our members have been driving pilings and building docks here in the Bay Area for over 120 years.
My question is to Mr. Grubb with the Bay Area Council. We are curious as to has there been a contractor chosen to perform the piling work and the dredging work? My other question was, are these contracts going to go out to bid? If so, when the projects may start. And then prevailing wage. Is this work subject to prevailing wage determination? That is pretty much the only questions I have right now.
Mr. Harrer spoke: Thank you. My name is Bob Harrer; I am a resident at Telegraph Landing near the waterfront and I am also a member of the Northern Advisory Committee for the Port.
I am speaking today in support of the project to moor the Klamath at Pier 9. I believe that this project will enhance the maritime character of the Embarcadero Historical District and I think, importantly, it will also provide new access for the public to enjoy both the waterfront views and walks in that area. So, in summary, I urge your support for the project. Thank you.
Mr. Moyer addressed the Commission: Yes. Hello, my name is Chris Moyer and thank you, thank you for taking, taking my comments. I would just like to say that I have also been a member of Pile Drivers Local 34 for 20 years. I was a commercial diver. I worked all up and down the pier and in San Francisco along the pier front.
I think this is a wonderful project. I love the City. I love being on the water. I love the atmosphere that this emotes and what that, the way that shows that beautiful City off to everyone that comes to visit it.
I just wanted to say for the record that Local 34 is originally, although Local 34 is in Oakland, the local was originally chartered in San Francisco in 1920. So the Pile Drivers have a very rich and involved history with the development of the Waterfront in San Francisco.
And as much as I favor this project and I favor the development and the restoration of not only the ferry but the docking facility, I very much hope that that Pile Drivers like myself who have been doing this work for a long time, are very proud of what we do, have an opportunity to be involved with this project.
Thank you for doing this. Thank you for doing this for the City, for our history and thank you again for taking my comments. I appreciate it very much.
Ms. Atwell stated: Chair Wasserman, there are no more hands up for public comment.
Mr. Grubb chimed in: Sorry, Chair, I do not know if I am allowed to respond?
Chair Wasserman stated: You may respond to the questions that were raised.
Mr. Grubb commented: We will be using union pile drivers on the Klamath Project. I just wanted to be clear about that, as well as other aspects of what we are doing in San Francisco in particular.
Chair Wasserman added: And I assume you are paying prevailing wage throughout?
Mr. Grubb answered: I believe so. Certainly, with the pile drivers. I will have to just double check. I am not sure of all those technical answers so if it is okay I will get back to you. But I know we are using union workers.
Chair Wasserman opined: Prevailing wage may be more than technical.
Could I have a motion to close the public hearing, please?
MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved to close the public hearing, seconded by Commissioner Showalter. The motion carried by a voice vote with no abstentions or objections.
Commissioner Peskin commented: Thank you Chair Wasserman, just as a matter of clarification. Insofar as this is on San Francisco Port property, as a matter of law prevailing wage applies under San Francisco law so that question is, I think, answered.
This has been a long time coming. We all passed the Special Area Plan Amendment back in November. And I think as you heard from my constituents nearby, the Barbary Coast neighbors and Mr. Bash formerly of the Planning Department and now a retired resident at the Golden Gateway a couple of blocks away, this is going to be a lovely historic addition to the Northeastern Waterfront of San Francisco.
I want to thank staff for the Staff Report. I called Director Goldzband yesterday or the day before over one, I think, small but important issue. I think as to the three policy matters that it raises for the Commission there is only one where I would suggest that we might be able to make some slight improvements to public access.
In that regard, insofar as the Embarcadero Promenade in the wake of the removal of the Embarcadero freeway structure post, the Loma Prieta has become a bustling spot, primarily for those of us who are still like myself in the stage of life where we work between nine and five or longer, you will see a lot of people consuming that beautiful space in the mornings and after work and on weekends and those are precisely the times that public access to the Klamath will not be available.
I realize that it is easier to say all of this than to pay for additional public access. But I think in talking to Director Goldzband, there is an accommodation that the Bay Area Council generously is willing to make, which would be to have an additional public access condition to have the public areas of the Klamath open on one designated Saturday per month, which would be reflected in the signage program and people who are going to the Ferry Building Farmers Market a few blocks away and the Exploratorium directly to the north could actually go and experience the Klamath not only from the Promenade but on the boat itself. I would like to throw that out for a little public discussion and thank you, Director Goldzband, for actually doing the negotiating on that.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged: Thank you both for those comments and the effort on behalf of public access.
Other comments or questions?
Commissioner Showalter was recognized: I think that the suggestion that Commissioner Peskin made is a very good one. And if it is, if it has been agreed with the applicant it is certainly fine with me.
But what I was just going to comment on is to thank the staff and the Bay Area Council for making a plan that reuses Bay dredged material beneficially on site. I was just very delighted to see that. I would really like to see it on every project. I know that is not possible, but kudos for getting this included.
Commissioner Gunther commented: I really appreciate that as well, just following up on what Pat said, the effort made in the project. I really also want to thank the staff and Bay Area Council for such a great presentation. I still can't get used to the idea that I can walk through something that does not exist yet and it is really helpful to understand it.
I just had a quick question for Katharine. I am sorry; maybe I misunderstood how you said this. It has to do with the plan to address sea level rise impacts. What I thought I heard you say is that when the impacts arrive, we will figure out what to do about it, kind of. I am assuming that I just misunderstood that and in fact as we can project impacts will occur we will figure out ahead of time what to do about it?
Ms. Pan responded: Yes. The condition in the Staff Recommendation speaks to a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan so it is sort of an adaptive pathway forward. I think the idea is not that we are trying to avoid a situation where there is regular flooding but that there needs to be some kind of a trigger.
We like to have some kind of a trigger there so that we know when such a plan needs to be put into place. When that works is when, at the first sign of a potential flooding issue. If there is an impact to part of the project or if some aspect of the public access ever has to be closed then that is the time where there must be a plan put together and put into place. It is possible to do it before then but this the trigger that we selected for this one.
Mr. Grubb interjected: Katharine, if I could just add really quickly. Our plan for the piles and the whole structural system there is for 100-year flood at 2050 sea level rise and a king tide in terms of the structural support surrounding the vessel. That has all been accounted for throughout what is anticipated to be the most extreme circumstance that we would face.
Commissioner Gunther acknowledged: Great, thank you, Mr. Grubb. That is great. I was just responding to the idea that this is a hazard we can project will occur so there is no need to wait until something happens when we can project not exactly when it will happen but that we know it will happen eventually. Thank you.
Commissioner Moulton-Peters spoke: Thank you. I just briefly want to also acknowledge the beautiful work in this project and the staff for bringing it forward.
I want to support Commissioner Peskin’s request for some additional public access time. It did register with me as I listened to the hours that the public would have access that it was a little less than desirable and so I think that access one Saturday a month would be a good addition and frankly build support and increase the enjoyment for this project. Thank you.
Commissioner Lee was recognized: Yes, thank you. First of all, I just want to say thanks to staff for a very great report and also for Bay Area Council for coming up with a very amazing proposal to do really good justice to the Waterfront there on Pier 9. And also to preserve these boats that have been disappearing by converting to diesel to electric clearly is the right way to go and thanks for the effort to make that happen. I look forward for this to be a successful project. I think the suggestion earlier regarding the additional public access is certainly a good idea so I urge my fellow Commissioners to approve it. Thank you very much.
Commissioner Eckerle commented: I will also reiterate my thanks to staff and the Bay Area Council for the presentations; it looks like an exciting project.
I just wanted to put a finer point. Thank you, Commissioner Gunther, for your question about the adaptation Plan, just following up on that. The conditions in the Staff Recommendations say that I believe the applicant has 180 days to bring that adaptation plan to the Commission for review and approval.
I am just curious and a little bit concerned about the timeline for approval of that adaptation plan and then implementation of the measures that would then protect the public access. So maybe someone could give us a little bit of insight as to the range of adaptation measures that could be put in place so we have a better understanding of whether that timeline is sufficient to protect the public access. Thank you.
Chair Wasserman asked: Who wants to take a shot at that one?
Ms. Pan fielded the question: I can start. One of the things about this project is the limited time frame. We are looking at the draft permit, which as conditioned would expire in 2046 or when the project ceases use. By that time, with the projections that we have, we are really looking at, really any potential impacts would involve the piles and would involve the pier.
And so any sorts of adaptation measures, whether they are some sort of a physical measure, would involve either replacing, raising, something with the piles or some solution to improve the stability of the ship or some kind of plan for the entirety of Pier 9 or at least whatever portions would be flooding at the time. It is kind of unclear what those would be.
So that is what I would picture or envision. I think that I would like to push the Port to maybe respond to this a little bit or the Bay Area Council to talk about the types of things they might be thinking of, although at this point, we are really only looking at a mid-century time frame for this particular project.
Mr. Grubb chimed in: I will try and go first. We are responsible for the Pier 9 south apron, that half of it that is there. Raising the elevation of it would be the most obvious thing that we could potentially do. We would need to partner with the Port of San Francisco on that. The Port of San Francisco is working on the seawall along the Embarcadero.
I am not fully versed on all the aspects of that project so there may be some way to incorporate those sorts of elements into it.
We are not anticipating flooding of the Pier 9 apron in the timeframe that our lease operates but I would want to talk to some creative engineers and others about the solution set that we would come up with them and what is permissible in all those different pieces for a full, full answer. But getting higher is going to be our answer for the apron; the boat, of course, will float higher.
Mr. Foster commented: Hi, this is Patrick Foster with the Port of San Francisco. Yes, I would just express that we would definitely collaborate with Bay Area Council on the adaptation plan. It is unclear exactly what the measures would be at this time.
As John said, there is an evaluation underway for the seawall as a whole so I suspect any measures taken would be incorporated into what that plan is looking like at the time. But we are excited about the public access that the project provides and definitely want to make sure it is maintained going forward.
Commissioner Gioia spoke: Thanks to the Bay Area Council for I think what will be a win-win project and an innovative project and thanks for the staff for working through the conditions on this project to benefit the public as well.
I just want to add my voice to support Supervisor Peskin’s additional request on public access on Saturday; if there is a motion on that I will support that.
Mr. Grubb chimed in: Chair Wasserman, could I just affirmatively say that we accept that condition of Commissioner Peskin’s proposal; just to formally state that out loud.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged: Thank you very much, that is very helpful.
Katharine, will you present the Staff Recommendation and you may wish to include the suggested public access addition.
Ms. Pan read the following into the record: On September 24th you were also mailed the Staff Recommendation for the application to moor the Klamath at Pier 9. Staff would like to make a minor correction to the Staff Recommendation, which is reflected in the errata sheet that was shared with you earlier today. That is, Exhibit B that showed the dredging boundaries for the project has been replaced with an updated and improved exhibit. Notably, the original exhibit showed an outdated location of the dredge boundary which was shifted about 50 feet further away from the pier to accommodate some later changes to the design of the ADA ramps. Some other changes were also made to improve the clarity and usability of this figure.
With this correction staff recommends that the Commission approve the permit application with conditions including that the permittees maintain approximately 12,200 square feet of public access aboard the Klamath and 7,400 square feet of public access on Pier 9, remove eight derelict steel piles from the Bay, beneficially reuse approximately 5,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment from the project, minimize any potential impacts to Bay resources, prepare a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan at the first instance of flooding that impacts the project and remove all fill authorized by this approval at the end of the project's life.
In terms of the motion or the proposed change to the hours, what we would probably have to do or what we would do, there is a section in the Staff Recommendation on operating hours; this is Section II.B.3 on page nine. We would alter that to read from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday to 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday and a Saturday of the month. We may want to determine which Saturday would be appropriate. And then there are several references to the actual operating hours within the findings of the permit, which we would then need to just revise to reflect that revision.
Mr. Lavine interjected: I am just going to say, I think the exact language we could include which would allow us to work with the Bay Area Council to figure out the appropriate Saturday would be to say, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday and one Saturday per month and then in parentheses, e.g., the first, second, third or fourth Saturday of the month. That way we could ensure that the signage reflects to the public clearly which day of the month that will be but we do not necessarily have to decide which Saturday that is today.
Chair Wasserman noted: Nicely done, Ethan.
I assume that is acceptable to you, Mr. Grubb?
Mr. Grubb replied: Yes, it is.
Commissioner Peskin chimed in: Mr. Chair, I just want to be sure. I am not sure that I see it in the Signage and Wayfinding Program provision on page 12, Section 5, that all of the public access hours and days are reflected in the Signage Program.
Chair Wasserman stated: I believe that was implicitly if not explicitly included in Ethan's suggestion and accepted by Mr. Grubb and the record should so note.
Commissioner Peskin replied: Thank you.
Chair Wasserman continued: With that, any other questions or comments from Commissioners? (No further questions or comments were voiced)
I would entertain a motion to approve the Staff Recommendation.
MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved approval of the Staff Recommendation, seconded by Commissioner Gioia.
VOTE: The motion carried with a vote of 22-0-0 with Commissioners Addiego, Ahn, Burt, Eckerle, Eisen, Eklund, El-Tawansy, Gioia, Gorin, Gunther, Hasz, Lee, Moulton-Peters, Peskin, Showalter, Wagenknecht, Arreguin, Gilmore, Pemberton, Nelson, Vasquez, and Chair Wasserman voting “YES”, no “NO” votes, and no “ABSTAIN” votes. Commissioner Randolph recused himself from the vote.
Chair Wasserman acknowledged: Thank you all for your work. I think this is a very exciting project, as many Commissioners have suggested. I look forward to walking on the planks of the Klamath.
Mr. Grubb added: Thank you all very much.
- Briefing on Delta Adapts. Chair Wasserman stated: That brings us to Item 9, a Briefing on the Delta Stewardship Council Delta Adapts, a regional climate resilience initiative in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Planning Director Jessica Fain will introduce the presentation.
Planning Director Fain addressed the Commission: Thank you, Chair Wasserman, and good afternoon, Commissioners. BCDC and the Delta Stewardship Council, our sister agency just upstream, are increasingly working together across the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.
We have conducted joint projects such as the Adapting to Rising Tides East Contra Costa Project. We formally coordinate around issues and projects in our joint jurisdiction, namely in Suisun Marsh, and our executive leadership collaborate via the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee or DPIIC.
Today I am pleased to introduce Harriet Lai Ross, Assistant Planning Director at the Delta Stewardship Council.
For months you have been hearing me talk about Bay Adapt. You will now hear another briefing about a climate adaptation planning initiative with a similar name albeit a different approach called Delta Adapts. This is a vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning effort in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and, Harriet, you can take it away.
Ms. Ross presented the following: Good afternoon, Chair Wasserman and Commissioners. Again, I am Harriet Lai Ross with the Delta Stewardship Council.
For those of you that are not familiar, the Council was created in 2009 through the Delta Reform Act and our mission is to implement the state's coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply and restoring the ecosystem in a manner that protects the Delta as an evolving place. We were charged with developing and implementing the Delta Plan, which is a long-range management plan that contains 14 regulatory policies. All programs, projects, plans in the Delta need to be consistent with these policies.
Today I am going to give you an update on Delta Adapts, the Council's climate change study. I am going to review some key findings from our vulnerability assessment and give you an overview of our approach to the adaptation strategy.
As you all know, the San Francisco Bay and Delta are part of an interconnected estuary in terms of flows, flooding habitat, and the food web. We really are one estuary and the largest on the west coast.
The Council has authority in the Delta, which is shown on the map there in light green and we have overlapping authority with BCDC in the Suisun Marsh area.
Because we are connected and have overlapping jurisdictions it is important we continue to coordinate and work on projects such as the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Update and our work on Delta Adapts.
Our vulnerability assessment was finalized earlier this summer. We concluded a two-plus year process working with many of our stakeholders. Throughout the process we had ongoing collaboration with our state and federal agency partners such as BCDC. We built off of existing models and data and really worked hard to make sure our future flood studies are generally consistent.
We had a series of briefings where we met with stakeholders to ground truth our data and verify our results. We launched significant effort to outreach community-based organizations that helped us structure our engagement to reach vulnerable communities in the Delta and we in fact had a few meetings in the Stockton area led by youth representatives.
We also have a Technical Advisory Committee. This consists of experts in the system who provided input on our technical approach and analyses and BCDC staff was part of that TAC.
We also had a stakeholder workgroup consisting mostly of local agencies that also provided input and data into our project. We do plan on continuing this level of engagement as we begin our adaptation strategy this month.
Our study looks at a range of climate stressors. In addition to sea level rise, like your ART Project does, we also look at changes in air temperatures and precipitation and we also analyze vulnerabilities related to extreme heat, wildfire smoke, drought and flooding.
So based on these climate stressors we developed a set of key findings for a variety of asset types in the Vulnerability Assessment and there are very many findings. In the interest of time I am going to go over just a few of these asset types related to people, infrastructure, ecosystems and water supply today.
In this set of maps you will see the results of our flood analysis and this really shows the likelihood of flooding during various planning horizons. Our flooding analysis only consisted of overtopping of the levees only; it does not assume levee failure.
As you can see in the series of maps here, the likelihood of flooding in 2020 and 2030, which are the two maps on the left, are virtually the same. About 10 percent of the Delta’s land and 2 percent of the population is exposed to flooding in a 100-year event. You can see much of the Suisun Marsh is subject to flooding now and will continue on as time goes on.
At 2050 climate conditions, that is the third map, you start to see substantial additional flooding throughout the Central and South Delta. So, 35 percent of the Delta’s land area and over 10 percent of the population has the potential to be exposed to a 100-year flood.
And of those folks, of the population exposed, 65 percent are people living in communities that we consider and have identified as highly socially vulnerable to flooding. That is about 42,000 people in current population and highly socially vulnerable communities have a more difficult time responding to floods.
The very last map shows the likelihood of flooding in 2085. You can see now most of the South and Central Delta have a big chance, a high probability of flooding, all shown in dark blue. At a 100-year storm event, 68 percent of the Delta’s land area and 20 percent of the Delta’s population would be exposed to flooding. That is about 120,000 people, of which 71,000 are living in a high socially vulnerable area.
What this really highlights, we already here at the Council, and I am sure at BCDC know that flooding in the Delta is no surprise. But what this really shows us is that targeting adaptation investments in certain areas can really help us protect tens and thousands of people from flooding.
It also shows us the areas of the North Delta remain relatively secure and that includes portions of Sacramento and West Sacramento. This really highlights the value of our past flood management investments along with Sacramento and American Rivers, and most importantly the Yolo Bypass and through those investments it remains stable for our future climate conditions.
In this next slide here I wanted to show, this figure really illustrates that sea level rise not only affects the coast of California but the Delta as well. Sea level rise is the primary driver of flooding in Suisun, which is shown there, Suisun and Central Delta, and it is shown there in the dark green color. In the areas immediately north and south of the green areas flooding is partially driven by a combination of sea level rise and flows from the river.
So understanding the primary drivers of flooding really allows us to determine what type of adaptation strategies are appropriate to address flooding in different parts of the Delta. So, for example, in order to address sea level rise, adaptation in the Bay would be more impactful, while adaptation to reduce riverine flows need to occur in the Delta watershed itself.
In this next slide, flooding as well as extreme heat, have great impacts to infrastructure, a number of assets, and can result in huge economic losses and potential to disruption of service. Approximately 1,300 miles of Delta levees can be exposed to flooding, which puts stress on the entire system of flood management infrastructure protecting the region.
In this next slide here I just wanted to show that a number of electrical facilities could be exposed to flooding by 2050, as our modeling shows. Mostly those electrical facilities are shown in yellow. In the darker blue areas are the areas that could be flooded.
Natural gas and oil pipelines and welds could be exposed to flooding. Those facilities are shown in red. You can see that many of these facilities are lateral and extend into the Bay. So both electricity and natural gas infrastructure in the Delta also serve the Bay Area and flooding here has the potential to disrupt service in the Bay.
And in this next slide I just want to show that the Delta is home to regional transportation routes that if exposed to flooding really disrupt jobs and businesses that rely on them. Some of these facilities also serve as evacuation routes. You can see in red. I know the map is a little detailed so hopefully you can see. Portions of Highway 12 connect to Solano County, Highway 4 connects to East Contra Costa County, Highway 5 and 205 are all expected to flood in the future and really will impact movement of people and goods in and out of the Bay Area.
There are also miles of rail lines running through the Delta in the north through Solano County and the southern Delta that connect to the East Bay.
Flooding is also anticipated to affect the Port of Stockton. That is the state's fourth busiest port and impacts may result in job losses and other businesses that rely on the Port.
In this next slide on water supply infrastructure, some portion of water from the Delta serves nearly two-thirds of California or 27 million residents of the state. The Mokelumne Aqueduct and numerous drinking water intakes could be exposed to flooding in the future as well. The State Water Project, Central Valley Project have pumping plants in the South Delta that could be affected by floods. All of this would have consequences for the users that rely on water in the Delta, including the Bay, to varying degrees.
Now on this next slide on to water supply itself. Again, no surprise here with the current drought that we are in, climate change will continue to have a huge impact on water supply.
With increasing sea levels more fresh water will need to be released to keep the salt water out of the Delta. Higher temperatures mean more rain, less snow and a smaller snowpack in the Sierras. More variable precipitation means there will be more years that will be wet, more years that will be dry and fewer years that will be average.
The drought we just experienced in 2012 to 2016 will be five to seven times more likely to occur by 2050, so what was historically a 500-year event is now going to be more like a 70 to 100 year reoccurrence.
So, what we found is that climate change will reduce Delta exports in all year types but impacts will be disproportionately greater in the drier years. The exports are anticipated to decrease by about 10 percent on average and 20 percent in drier years.
So again, two-thirds of Californians rely on water from the Delta, including the Bay Area. All of this means, just really underscores the need to accelerate our planning for future drought conditions and how we will adapt.
On this next slide for ecosystem, some of the key findings here are that many ecosystem types will be basically at risk of drowning or completely drowning with anticipated sea levels.
However, adaptation strategies such as tidal habitat restoration at the right elevations can really allow for more sediment accretion and keep ecosystems from drowning by creating and maintaining habitat.
Sediment in the Delta primarily flows upstream through the Delta to the Bay with over half of the flows depositing sediment in the Delta itself. Actions in the Delta such as levee armoring, increasing floodplains and habitat restoration affect sediment delivery to the Bay itself. So additional restoration can also increase habitat connectivity and movement of fish throughout the estuary.
There are so many more findings and details of the vulnerability itself; I just give you the key highlights today. If you are interested the document is online.
Now I am just going to switch over an adaptation strategy that we are just beginning that process of now. I want to give you a quick overview. Basically, given its size, physical landscape and varying vulnerability exposure, we are going to be organizing the Delta and dividing it up into sub-regions and consider Suisun Marsh separately.
Based on our authority, our mission, authorities of other agencies, we are really planning on focusing on flooding, ecosystems, agriculture and water supply.
The plan is to form a focus group to discuss these four topics for each of the regions and then working with these groups to develop adaptation strategies that are relevant and work for each region.
We are also in the middle of contracting with a number of community-based organizations and hopefully a tribe to form an environmental justice group who will advise the Council on environmental justice issues and weigh in on the adaptation strategy.
Our adaptation strategies will be higher level. We are not identifying specific projects. It will be more of a range of actions that are appropriate.
We will use the SFEI Delta Landscape scenario planning tool to analyze a set of scenarios to identify tradeoffs and metrics. Some initial thoughts on those scenarios is that we might look at creating ones that maximize flood improvements to address projected water levels in some areas. We may look at maximizing ecosystem restoration activities at the appropriate elevations. We may assume all existing Ag operations continue.
And then based on these results we would likely create hybrid scenarios that look at different mixes or combinations of flood improvements, eco-restoration sites and where ag could continue.
We may prioritize flood improvements to protect vulnerable communities or where improvements will protect the most people or the most critical assets.
Then based on the metrics we define and the outputs we can understand the tradeoffs and begin really to prioritize adaptation.
It is a tall order. We have a lot of work to do, but we know that we need a starting point on really how to address and eventually adapt to climate change comprehensively in the Delta.
For next steps. For Delta Adapts we are going to continue our coordination with BCDC staff. In fact BCDC staff sits on our TAC in our working group and we plan on continuing that for adaptation. We also need to continue to share and use the best available science for our estuary, continue to explore ways to really strategically align adaptation across the estuary. And lastly, we really need to find a project to really work together and we think Suisun Marsh is the best place to start.
That concludes my presentation. I am open to answering any questions you may have.
Chair Wasserman asked: Peggy, do we have any public comments on this matter?
Ms. Atwell answered: Public comments, no public comments, Chair.
Chair Wasserman continued: Questions, comments from Commissioners?
Commissioner Eisen had questions: Thank you, thank you so much for that presentation and for all of the work that you are doing, really well done. I am wondering, when you set about trying to develop these adaptation strategies do you look to see if there are other regions in the United States or even in the world that have similar conditions, similar threats to ecosystems, and to what extent is it useful to contact the folks who are trying to deal with those other deltas? I imagined ours is unique but also similar to others.
Ms. Ross replied: Yes. It is a long process to actually find similar places as the Delta dealing with similar issues, that part is not unique. But for them to actually be going through the same process of finding adaptation is a little bit more difficult and we actually have not found exact conditions that are similar that are going through the exact same thing that we have.
We have taken more bits and pieces of other regional projects in other areas that are similar to the Delta and kind of taking pieces, understanding lessons learned, talking to folks working on those projects, but nothing exactly the same. If anybody has any ideas I would love to hear them. Thank you.
Commissioner Gunther was recognized: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Harriet, thanks for such a great presentation. I have two questions. The first question is about compound hazards. The Delta faces an extraordinary challenge. You have mentioned that the flood maps you showed us assume there were no levee failures.
But of course, levee failures are an extraordinary hazard facing the Delta. Both earthquakes and sea level rise, as I understand it, enhance the risk of levee failure and you then face a question of whether you end up with freshwater flooding or saltwater flooding. I just wondered whether you are, do you have another process or is there a future step you are going to take to look at the compound hazards that are presented to you?
Ms. Ross paraphrased Commissioner Gunther’s question: In other words, other types such as levee failures or earthquakes, as compounding hazards is what you are referring to, right?
Commissioner Gunther affirmed the paraphrasing: Right, a levee failure would compound the hazards you face from climate change.
Ms. Ross stated: Right. No, we do not. We do not have plans for that. There are a couple of things. Probably the biggest criticisms of Delta Adapts is one, we only looked at levee overtopping and not assuming levee failures. But obviously when you assume a levee failure you have to pick a spot that the levee fails at, which is very difficult to do.
And there are no, there have been some small studies on levee failures on certain islands but not comprehensively. It has not been done and we do not plan on doing that assessment. One criticism is that we are underestimating the flood risk in the Delta.
But however, the other criticism that we have gotten is that we are also not assuming changes and improvements to the levees, which would make the situation better in the Delta.
We had to pick one way to do it and that is what we picked and we do not plan on doing anything else in regards to compounding hazards. And part of it is we do not have the expertise or the modeling capabilities. They do not exist for that, looking at it comprehensively and a lot of assumptions have to be made.
We have always looked at this process in Delta Adapts as really a starting point. We are not able to study everything such as compounding hazards but it is a starting point for us to take action.
Commissioner Gunther acknowledged: Yes, thanks. I understand that you have got to draw the line somewhere. It just occurred to me and it has always been something that has been on my mind in terms of potential great ecological shift that could occur in our region based on a certain event.
The second question I have I wanted to ask you — has to do just with your process. You have a pretty, for a relatively small maybe number of people you have a pretty diverse set of interests in the region and I just wondered how are you going about seeking consensus and are there things that maybe are different from what we do in the Bay Area for what you know about or whether you have had certain steps you have taken that have been particularly beneficial, or maybe as with most things in life, your mistakes turned out to be the things you learned from the most.
Ms. Ross explained: Yes, I think we are all in the same boat here. It is very difficult to reach consensus, especially in a region such as the Delta or the Bay where there are so many other competing interests, and so many other jurisdictions. We do not even have land use authority like BCDC does so that is even more difficult for us. But we were created really to coordinate the efforts in the Delta and really with those coequal goals in mind.
We did have really good success with the Vulnerability Assessment and it took a lot of time and a lot of stakeholder outreach.
Again, no, I do not think there is any magic bullet there but to really take the time to understand the differences for each of the interest groups and what they are really most concerned with.
The Vulnerability Assessment, even as I am sure you are all aware, even making those assumptions on levee modeling and flood modeling, that was even a long road, it was not simple, you still had to get buy-in from each of the stakeholders and each of the stakeholders have different ways of doing it. Again, no magic bullet but simply to engage the stakeholders early on and throughout the process.
I would love to say at the end of our adaptation that we will reach consensus and have an adaptation strategy that everyone has agreed to. I do not know that we will get there. I think consensus with so many entities is very hard to get and we hope that we come up with a strategy that is more outcome-based and a range of strategies that are possible is the way to that will reach success. Did I answer your question?
Commissioner Gunther replied: Yes, thanks. There was not a right answer. Yes, I appreciate your clarity and your honesty in the challenges that we all face in this kind of situation.
Chair Wasserman stated: We only give passing grades we do not give letter grades.
Commissioner Nelson was recognized: Thanks, Chair Wasserman. Harriet, thank you again for the presentation, really thought provoking.
Two questions, let's take them one at a time. The Commission does a lot of work with local governments. You said in your presentation that your adaptation plan is going to be high level adaptation strategies.
Obviously, the next step is to transition towards specific site-based adaptation plans and projects and then move on to implementation. The Commission has done a lot of work in that space. But the Delta is a very different place, very agricultural, a very high proportion of disadvantaged communities, rural counties and communities that face real economic challenges. The first question is just can you help us understand how you are thinking about taking that next step from that general high level adaptation plan to really coming up with local projects and plans and moving on to implementation? It has been tough for us and we are working with wealthy communities like San Francisco. It is a very different challenge in the Delta.
Ms. Ross explained: Yes, you got it right. We are mostly, much of the Delta is rural and Ag based, yet a lot of the ecosystem restoration sites are in the Delta as well and we have really got to balance all of these needs.
But we are first looking at higher level adaptation because that is simply where our authorities lie, right? We do not have local land use authority. We are not the experts. We cannot go down to that level and I think if we were to try it just would not work.
Our hope is that we come up with these, again, outcome-based adaptation strategies that meet the priorities and what people value in the Delta.
That is why we are looking at dividing up the Delta into sub-regions. We are looking at probably about three, North, Central, South Delta and Suisun Marsh separately. And really work with these folks to understand the stakeholders that join our focus groups. Really to understand what they value, what is important to them and what they want to get out of adaptation. And designing a set of strategies that make sense; that addresses those values and priorities for each of those sub-regions.
We anticipate that the next step, again, is broader. We are looking at addressing state interests, water supply, and those islands that hold that critical infrastructure. Our assets are different too. We have to protect the state's interest, right? So kind of looking at that and then hopefully the next step.
Again, what we have been saying all along is this is really a toolkit of information for the local governments. They are involved in our process but we are not working with each and every single city and county to come up with a specific adaptation because one, they would never want necessarily the state's help on that; and secondly, they know their city best. So we hope that they will take our stuff, our information, our flooding information, the strategies that we come up with that has gone through a very robust engagement process to develop and then they would take it to the next level. That is kind of the hope.
Commissioner Nelson continued his inquiry: Thanks. Second question — and it is a little bit related. I think instinctively, most of the Commissioners or probably all of them, all of us believe that it is the right thing for us to coordinate with our sister agency in this bifurcated estuary where you guys are looking at half, we are looking at half, and then together we are looking at a piece in Suisun Marsh. But can you help us think about what that collaboration might look like? What the benefits of that collaboration might be and how we might go about doing it, just so we can think about how we might best facilitate that?
Ms. Ross commented on the collaboration issue: Yes. First of all the Council and BCDC staff meet quarterly and we just talk about everything; all of our ongoing projects that have any relationship. I think we are doing all the things that we can. We just have to really dive into it now.
As I mentioned, BCDC staff is on our Technical Advisory Committee and serving on our working group for adaptation so that is the best place to start because as we run these focus groups and as we gather input as we develop these strategies, with the representation from staff, from BCDC staff, that is the quickest way and the most efficient way to coordinate that effort. To make sure that all the interests of the entire estuary are represented. Those are the things they are actually working on, on a project together and I think, again, there are so many instances that we are working on right now although it is it is been a little bit stalled.
The Suisun Marsh Protection Plan update, for example. We obviously have an interest and our involvement — we will make sure that our interests are also represented. I am not sure what else we can do besides that.
Commissioner Vasquez chimed in: Thank you. I probably am fortunate enough or unfortunate enough to represent Solano County, which has one foot in the Bay and one foot in the Delta.
But I can tell you in the 20 years I have been at the County, nearly 20 years I have been at the County as an elected, the issues of the of the Delta itself have been talked about greatly. Many of the things that you all brought up today have been going on, whether it is habitat restoration, flood control, levee repairs, the marsh itself.
For 11 years, five counties that represent the Delta have been working together to look at these whole issues and that is Yolo, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Solano. So the process has been going on at the local level. Community leaders have been working together recognizing the impacts of habitat restoration, mitigation, the fact that 80 percent of the population gets their water from the north part of the state and it goes through the Delta and gets shipped out from Tracy.
So having heard all this and having heard it all before, I can tell you that whether it is a reclamation district that has got a project levee or does not have a project levee, whether it is under state jurisdiction or federal jurisdiction, all these questions are constantly being mulled over in looking for solutions.
And we are really working together to try to find those answers to very complex questions, you know. What is best for humanity? What is best for the communities that reside in the Delta? What is best for the environment itself? Solano County is right now the recipient of about 8,000 acres of habitat restoration for Lookout Slough and then what they call Little Egbert and some of the stuff that was done in the Marsh, Tule Red was one of the projects and there are a couple others.
I want to thank BCDC for the work it is doing with the Delta Protection and Delta Stewardship Council and the Delta Conservancy Board because it is important where those lines of demarcation are. Where saltwater ends up really starts to hamper the water quality in both the Delta and our own drinking water. I just wanted to say thank you.
I do not sit on the Delta Stewardship Council, that is a different animal, but if you are part of the Delta Protection Council, if you stay there long enough you do serve on the Delta Stewardship Council. Anyway, thank you again.
Chair Wasserman continued: This was not an action item so that concludes this. Thank you very, very much for the presentation and for the work. Obviously, our focus is a little bit closer to the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the Bay Bridge, but the effect on the Delta is critically important and affects what we do as well so thank you.
Ms. Ross acknowledged: Thank you for having me.
- Briefing on the Coastal Trust Fund and the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund. Chair Wasserman stated: That brings us to Item 10, a Briefing on the Coastal Trust Fund and Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund. Regulatory Director Brad McCrea will provide the briefing.
Regulatory Director McCrea presented the following: Thanks, Chair Wasserman. Good afternoon, Commissioners and everybody that is here. I am going to provide a high-level overview of a couple of separate funds that BCDC uses and that, particularly, the regulatory folks use to support our regulatory work. These two tools, the Coastal Trust Fund and the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund are mechanisms, two financial mechanisms that without which we would be hard pressed to carry out some key aspects of our regulatory program.
Let's start with the Coastal Trust Fund. The Coastal Trust Fund is managed by the California Coastal Conservancy. It was established in the State Treasury to receive and disburse funds paid to the Conservancy and Trust.
The Conservancy is authorized to do a couple of things with regard to the Fund. It accepts funds from public and private sources and then, in turn, awards grants to public agencies and nonprofits to help achieve the goals of the Conservancy for the program that they have here in the Bay Area.
The Trust Fund also helps the agencies participate and support each other and over the last years there has been a lot of real successes as a result of our partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy. And I should say we are joined here today by Moira McEnespy who is the Regional Manager for the California Coastal Conservancy’s Program here in the Bay Area.
BCDC typically uses the Coastal Trust Fund when the Commission issues permits requiring fee-based mitigation, to compensate for project impacts or when in-lieu public access is required for projects that cannot provide public access at or near the site. It is also helpful and used for other permit conditions involving monetary contributions.
So let me break this down a little bit. Although a fee-based mitigation has been used for a long time as has monetary contributions in permits, decades really, it was about 17 years ago that BCDC began using the Coastal Trust Fund as the mechanism for depositing and disbursing funds.
It was in 2004 that the McAteer-Petris Act was amended to provide that fees collected pursuant to a permit condition can be transferred over to the Coastal Conservancy and then deposited into one of the subaccounts within the Coastal Trust Fund.
And then a few years later, in 2008, BCDC’s partnership with the Conservancy and the use of the Coastal Trust Fund were memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines exactly how these two agencies, our two agencies, operate with regard to using the Fund. And then minor amendments were made in 2018 and the MOU was re-upped or renewed for another 10 years through 2028.
So how does it work? The Bay Plan policies on mitigation, for example, provide that the Commission may allow fee-based mitigation when other compensatory mitigation measures are infeasible.
The Bay Plan is very clear and it spells out that fee-based mitigation is really the last resort to mitigating project impacts. But fee-based mitigation has proven to be a really valuable tool. When the staff negotiates fee-based mitigation with a permit applicant the Commission then needs a place for those funds to be deposited. And that is where the Coastal Trust Fund, of course, comes in. It helps BCDC be innovative and creative and provides the Commission with some flexibility on how it applies its mitigation policies.
For example, if there was a new wharf or a proposal for a new wharf in the Bay that caused unavoidable adverse impacts from the new Bay fill, the Bay Plan policies clearly call for mitigating those impacts. And for a wharf project, hypothetically, the staff would expect to see a proposal for removal of fill, as compensatory mitigation. But sometimes it is difficult to find a fill removal site that is feasible because other property owners are involved, or the timing is not right, or for some other reason. So that is when fee-based mitigation and funding a future fill removal project comes into play.
Here is another example on how we use the Coastal Trust Fund. The Bay Plan policies on public access call for the provision of public access to and along the waterfront and on fills except where the public access would be inconsistent with the project because of public safety considerations or significant use conflicts. In those cases, the access should be provided someplace else, preferably nearby.
When we talk about public access conflicts, think about airports, and seaports, and oil refineries. There are just some places around the Bay where public access should not exist. You do not want the Bay Trail wrapping around one of the runways at the Oakland International Airport, for example, and that is where in-lieu public access is really helpful.
As an example, two years ago BCDC issued a permit to Caltrans for what they called the Highway 101 Managed Lane Project, which involves high occupancy toll lanes. Because of the limited opportunities for public access along the stretch of highway however, Caltrans deposited in-lieu public access funds into the Coastal Trust Fund just last April that will be disbursed for implementation of public access improvements at the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.
Here is a photograph of a project many of you know, you just got a briefing on this recently. It is the Terminal Four Wharf Removal Project. Several development projects contributed to this demolition project through BCDC permits that required compensatory mitigation.
Here is the overlook at Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland. Years ago Caltrans deposited in-lieu public access funds into the Coastal Trust Fund and, just recently, about $1 million was disbursed to the East Bay Regional Park District for construction of this public access amenity.
Examples of projects that contributed to various funds: the Tule Red Restoration Project is a project that some of you saw in the last couple of years for in-lieu public access, there was the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and a couple of ferry terminals in San Francisco and Richmond, and the Transbay Cable, all contributing towards Bay fill mitigation. The Caltrans freeway overcrossing across Lake Merritt Channel in Oakland also contributed in-lieu public access funding. The sand miners, as you know, have contributed dollar amounts and those moneys were put into the Coastal Trust Fund for science studies that are now ongoing to inform future Commission actions.
And then, in turn, projects that benefited from the funds, similar or related to the ones I just mentioned, the Suisun Marsh Public Access Study, which is looking for opportunities for public access throughout the Suisun Marsh for future use. Richmond Terminal Four that we just talked about, the demolition, removal and disposal of all of the deteriorated structures in the Bay. The overlook at the Judge John Sutter Park.
And here is an example of money that is still in the account and waiting – the bicycle/pedestrian overcrossing in Oakland was identified as a project in a BCDC permit by Caltrans for that I‑80 overcrossing, but the money is on hold waiting for the construction phase if that project should move forward.
I should say before I go any further that in permit recommendations that we bring to the Commission and in the BCDC permits issued administratively, we build in as much flexibility as we can to provide options for eligible funded projects. Because while it is important and necessary to identify the types of projects that best address the environmental impacts of the development and meet the Bay Plan policies, it is also important to specify in the permits, if you can, backup projects or at least criteria and expectations because opportunities change over time. This Oakland example is a good one. The money is sitting there. But if that bicycle/pedestrian overcrossing never happens that money will be spent on other public access opportunities in the future.
So that was the Coastal Trust Fund. Let's turn our attention quickly with just a couple of slides to the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund.
The Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund is also in the State Treasury like the Coastal Trust Fund. It is older. It started in 1977 when the Commission was authorized to establish and administer the Fund.
As described in the McAteer-Petris Act, all moneys from the following sources could be paid into it: any money appropriated by the Legislature to the Fund, which to our knowledge has not happened, and all moneys contributed to the Fund by any person or entity and accepted by the Commission, like a donation. As far as I know, that has never happened either. But what has happened is BCDC penalties and fines have routinely been put into the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund.
The McAteer-Petris Act says that:
“All moneys paid into the Fund shall be available for expenditure by the Commission or the Executive Director, when appropriated by the Legislature, for the purposes of removing fill, resource enhancement, or performing any other remedial cleanup or abatement actions within the commission's jurisdiction.”
Now, many of you will remember that for many years BCDC consistently requested and received approval to use these funds to pay enforcement staff due to BCDC’s budget constraints.
However, starting just in this fiscal year, in the Governor's Budget, BCDC’s five-person enforcement staff is now fully funded from the state's General Fund and that is great news. It is great news for the consistency of our Enforcement Program, but it is also great news because BCDC now has the opportunity to develop a process for disbursing moneys from the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund for the purpose of removing fill, performing cleanup actions and enhancing Bay resources.
Currently, there are $842,736.18 in the account, all of it coming from enforcement fines and penalties. We expect that dollar amount to grow given the Commission's reinvigorated Enforcement Program.
I will close by saying that we have had some real successes as a result of the Coastal Trust Fund and our partnership with our companion state agency, the California Coastal Conservancy that manages the Fund. And now we have an opportunity to do something different with the penalties and fines that are deposited in the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund. But when considered together and given the new opportunities provided by the Bay Fill Fund, the two funds may indeed leverage each other and we are eager to develop a program for disbursing those funds from the Bay Fill Cleanup and Abatement Fund and we will be bringing that back to you.
That concludes my presentation. Moira, as I said, is here, and she and I and other BCDC staff are happy to answer any questions.
Chair Wasserman asked: Peggy, any public comments?
Ms. Atwell replied: I see no hands raised, Chair Wasserman.
Chair Wasserman continued: Comments/questions from the Commission?
Ms. Atwell informed the Chair: I see no hands raised, Chair Wasserman.
Executive Director Goldzband chimed in: We wanted you to see this presentation today because at some point next year, hopefully in the winter, we will come back to you with an idea or two or three about how BCDC, for basically the first time, has started to spend some Bay Fill Abatement funds; as well as trying to figure out how to link the two funds so that they can actually work with each other so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
That to us is a real challenge from the staff perspective because, quite candidly, it has not been done before but that does not mean it can't be done, it will be done. And we will then rely on you to give us your thoughts about how we either have made our mark or missed it. This was, as Brad and I discussed yesterday, sort of the preview of coming attractions. So just be warned that next year you will actually, knock on wood — see some actual action.
Mr. McCrea acknowledged: Thanks very much.
Chair Wasserman stated: Thanks for that.
- Closed Session on Pending Litigation: Sweeney et. al. v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Solano County Case No. FCS048136 and Cease and Desist and Civil Penalty Order CDO‑2016.02. Chair Wasserman stated: That brings us to Item 11, which is a Closed Session on Pending Litigation, Sweeney et. Al. v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
For the public I will note that this is our last item. We are going to mute ourselves and turn our cameras off, although the link will still be available, and the Commissioners are going to go into closed session pursuant to a conference call.
We will come back as soon as we are finished with the closed session. Commissioners, please do not do chats during the closed session. Cameras and mutes off, call the phone number given, hopefully you have it and we will talk to each other shortly. Recording in progress.
The Commissioners entered closed session at 3:22 p.m.
The Commissioners returned from closed session at 3:48 p.m.
Ms. Atwell conducted a roll call and confirmed a quorum was present; 20 Commissioners were in attendance after the closed session.
Chair Wasserman asked: Greg, will you report out of closed session, please?
Chief Counsel Scharff stated: Yes. We have just returned from closed session and there is no reportable action.
- Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Wagenknecht, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, the Commission meeting was adjourned at 3:51 p.m.