Minutes of December 2, 2010 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order.The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Ferry Building, Second Floor in San Francisco, California at 1:05 p.m.
2.Roll Call.Present were Chair Sean Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners, Baird (represented by Alternate Vierra), Bates (represented by Alternate Balico), Brown (represented by Alternate Carrillo), Chiu, Gioia, Goldzband, Gordon (represented by Alternate Groom), Jordan Hallinan, Hicks, Lundstrom, Maxwell, McGlashan, McGrath, Nelson, Reagan, Sartipi, Shirakawa (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato), Wieckowski and Ziegler. Legislative member Charles Taylor was also present.
Not Present were: Department of Finance (Finn), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), U.S. Alameda County (Lai-Bitker), Governors Appointee (Moy) and Napa County (Wagenknecht).
3. Public Comment Period. Chair Randolph asked for public comment. Seeing no public speakers he moved on to Item 4.
4.Approval of Minutes of 18, 2010 Meeting. Chair Randolph entertained a motion and a second to adopt the Minutes of November 18, 2010.
MOTION: Commissioner Lundstrom moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to approve the November 18, 2010 Minutes. The motion carried by voice vote with Commissioners Balico, Carrillo, Goldzband, Groom and Reagan abstaining.
5. Report of the Chair.Chair Randolph reported on the following:
a.Next BCDC Meeting. Our next meeting will be on December 16th. We will be meeting at the Metro Center Auditorium in Oakland.
At that meeting we will take up the following matters:
(1) We will hold a public hearing on an application for a large mixed-use project on the Oakland waterfront called the “Oak to Ninth”.
(2) We will consider the selection of a local government partner for our Adapting to Rising Tides Project.
(3) And if we decide to close the public hearing on proposed amendments to the Bay Plan to address climate change today, we will begin considering policy language possibly at our next meeting. But if we decide to keep the hearing open that would continue to the 16th.
That completes my report and I think we’ve already had a couple of volunteers for written or oral ex-parte communications. If there is anything else that Commissioners would like report now please do so. Seeing none, we will move on to the Executive Director’s Report.
b.Ex-Parte Communications. Commissioner Carruthers mentioned that one of his constituents in Santa Clara County had contacted him about Item 8 on the agenda and her letter is enclosed in our packets.
Commissioner Reagan added he has also had meetings with constituents in Suisun about Item 10.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Travis provided his report, as follows: As I reported in our last meeting, we’re moving ahead with our plan to expand our public outreach program by having a fact sheet that answers frequently asked questions about climate change amendments.
This fact sheet has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. These translations will be posted on our website by the end of this month.
We’re also contacting Bay front local governments to determine whether it will be helpful for them to receive flyers in these languages for distribution to their residents.
We will then use the feedback from the local governments and the responses from their constituents and the general public to determine any additional steps we can take to encourage broader public participation in our work.
And we will continue to report back to you on anything that we learn from this process.
That completes my report and we don’t have an administrative listing. So if there are no questions we can move on to Item 8.
7. Commissioner Consideration of Administrative Matters.There were no items to report.
8. Public Hearing and Vote on Shoreline Improvement Project. Chair Randolph commented: Before we move on to Item 8 I want to acknowledge two Commissioners who I think this may be their last meeting, Commissioner Maxwell and Commissioner Wieckowski.
We want to thank you today for your outstanding service to BCDC.
So moving on to Agenda Item 8, we have a public hearing and a possible vote on an application from the Port of San Francisco for shoreline improvements in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and Max Delaney will give us the background.
Mr. Delaney reported the following: The Port of San Francisco is proposing to improve public access along the waterfront and on the northern shoreline of San Francisco by removing the majority of Pier 43½, constructing a new pedestrian and bicycle promenade, repairing and replacing portions of an existing sea wall and placing rip rap along the base of the sea wall for shoreline protection, constructing sidewalk improvements along the Embarcadero Roadway and installing public access improvements and furnishings throughout the site.
The Port also proposes to construct additional outdoor dining space adjacent to the Franciscan Restaurant and place movable vendor carts along the new promenade in order to activate the waterfront and replace lost revenue sources.
The staff summary raises five primary issues.
One, whether the project is consistent with the San Francisco Special Area Plan.
Two, whether the project is consistent with the Commission’s fill policies.
Three, whether the project is consistent with the Commission’s public access and appearance design and scenic view policies.
Four, whether the project is consistent with the Commission’s policies in water quality.
And five, whether the project is consistent with the Commission’s natural resource Policies.
At this time I’d like to introduce Diane Oshima from the Port of San Francisco and she can tell you a little bit more about the project.
Ms. Oshima made the following presentation: I am with the Planning and Development Division at the Port of San Francisco.
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most important public destinations for the City and the region.
The Promenade Project offers views and perspectives on many different elements of the water front.
The most visually interesting and playful thing is the Red and White Ferry Fleet operation here at Pier 43½ which is adjacent to the proposed project.
At the end of Pier 39 public access is a parking lot area just beyond the Pier 43 Arch and that’s what we’re trying to cure.
The Exploratorium Project, the Ferry Building , Pier 1 through 5, all of those kinds of projects have been able to move forward because of previous amendments but Fisherman’s Wharf has been staggered in terms of being able to move amendments through.
In 2002 this Commission and the Port Commission each created their own committees to jointly work together to try and find a way of solving some of the outstanding policy issues within Fisherman’s Wharf related to public access and open space and fill removal.
This resulted in this Fisherman’s Wharf Planning Committee Recommendations. A lot of good work came out of this.
The Pier 43 Promenade Project was put into a General Obligation Bond Measure, Proposition A, The Clean and Safe Park Bonds, which was approved and awarded $33 million to the Port of San Francisco of which $8 million was allocated for the Pier 43 Project.
This project is a win/win situation in terms of having a concerted policy discussion about what are the public objectives that the public and BCDC and the Port share for this area.
Commissioner McGrath commented: You did mention ADA accessibility. Will you show us if there are any barriers that remain for full accessibility across the frontage.
Ms. Oshima answered: This is a completely ADA compliant facility.
Commissioner Halsted stated: This project will enhance the Trail and the connectivity of the Promenade along the waterfront for everyone.
When I look at these carts I want to make sure what I’m approving and make sure that I’m not saying yes to something that will occupy that whole Promenade.
Ms. Oshima replied: We believe that they are very modest. These are five carts that would come in at night. They would not be permanent facilities on the Promenade. They would operate on 800 feet of the Promenade for daytime usage only.
Commissioner Halsted answered: If they happen to be distributed correctly then there’s no problem. If they are not they can create a blockage and that will diminish the Promenade in a major way.
Ms. Oshima responded: The specifications of spreading them out versus grouping them together will be worked on.
Commissioner Halsted stated: I just want to make sure I’m not approving something that implies something that I don’t want to happen.
Dan Hodap with the Port of San Francisco added: Commissioner there is design criteria specifically for the vendor carts that we have submitted to BCDC staff to alleviate the concern you’re bringing up, to make sure that they are transient, to make sure they go away every night, to make sure they’re very small, they’re not over so high, they don’t block views, they stay within a very limited dimension and they do not become what you may see in some adjacent sites where the vendor carts are really not carts, they’re structures.
Commissioner Carruthers added: I want to thank you for addressing the funding for Alternative A and B. This area is one of the jewels of the Bay and it’s enjoyed by the entire region.
However, one of our Commission watchers has raised a question about the potential safety issues for the way in which the Promenade overhangs the water and the angled rip rap with the concern that somebody could fall over the edge or over the railing.
That somehow people, small animals or trash could become entrapped underneath the Promenade. This is a concern I feel obligated to raise and see how you deal with it.
Mr. Hodap answered: The existing pier has been somewhat destroyed by the very wave action you mentioned. There are a number of things that have been done to look at this issue as well as sea level rise as well.
We are designing and evaluating the Pier with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.
One of the biggest things we can do is to look at structure life span to make sure that this is not a temporary or a throw-away structure that is only going to last 30 or 40 years.
So this is designed for a 75 year life in consideration of the wave action that could cause uplift underneath it and just the design integrity of the whole structure.
Also the bottom of the railing we bring up a bull rail which brings design continuity of the adjacent railing and also offers another foot of splash protection and a little bit more usability of the structure because there are times with sea level rise that this will flood. This is more down the road, maybe 2050 or so.
We also built it up over the water instead of chasing it inland because when the tide goes out we don’t want people to walk to the edge and look down at the rip rap which is often green and it collects trash and it is undesirable looking. So when you do walk out to the edge, you have a pleasant view.
Boaters do know the depth of water conditions and we hope all of them have good enough sense (laughter) not to bring a boat up to the edge of this.
Commissioner Halsted asked: What is the minimum width of the shore side Promenade?
Ms. Oshima answered: It’s a 35 foot –
Commissioner Halsted replied: It’s a continuous 35 foot –
Mr. Hodap added: We are now coming out with new design standards that are being reviewed by BCDC’s Design Review Board and the Port’s Waterfront Sign Advisory Committee that ensures a clear path in the middle of at least 16 feet.
This section of the Promenade we are doing at about 35 feet and it gets down to about 33½ feet in some areas.
Commissioner Halsted said: So then my question is, can we insist that these carts be located outside that 16 foot Promenade?
Mr. Hodap replied: Absolutely.
Commissioner Chiu stated: This has not been an easy project over the years. The question I have is, what are the thoughts around the accommodation of cyclists versus pedestrians and how is all of that going to fit in this overall plan?
Ms. Oshima responded: There are two elements of this.
One is, the Embarcadero Promenade to the south is not a sidewalk per se and so it does allow for the recreational bikers to circulate on there. We anticipate that we would see bikers on the Promenade as well.
There is actually more options for bikers here in the Fisherman’s Wharf area than down to the south.
Mr. Hodap added: The Project is part of the Bay Trail and the facilities will be available for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Chair Randolph opened this item up for public comment and the following speakers addressed the Commission.
Mr. Kevin Carroll, Executive Director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District commented: We are definitely in support of this project. We urge you to support this project and thank you for your work on it.
Mr. Joe Bungard, Vice-President of Operations with the Red and White Fleet commented: We wanted to express our support for the Project. We believe that at some point it may be necessary to put in a sea wall to preserve the passenger access to our fleet.
Chair Randolph welcomed a motion and a second to close the public hearing.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Chiu to close the public hearing. The item passed by a voice vote.
Chair Randolph then asked Mr. Max Delaney to present the staff recommendation.
Mr. Delaney made the following presentation: The staff recommends that you approve the Pier 43 Promenade Project.
The Base Project will result in a net increase of Bay surface area of approximately 57,515 square feet of open water, that’s 1.32 acres by removing the existing parking lot.
The recommendation includes a number of conditions designed to minimize project impacts to the Bay and the surrounding areas.
Finally, a plan view condition would require the Port to submit a final set of plans for review and approval by Commission staff to ensure that the outdoor dining areas and vendor carts, specifically placement and distribution, would not impede the movement of the public and bikers along the new Promenade.
The staff believes that the Project is consistent with the Commission’s laws and policies and should be approved.
Commissioner McGrath asked: I don’t see any condition relating to the location of these carts. Is that in the findings as a specific criterion where the staff would have the discretion in reviewing the plans or how is that going to work?
Mr. Delaney responded: Basically the Plan review process will involve the staff’s discretion in determining the final location and distribution of the carts.
Commissioner McGrath replied: But I don’t see a clear standard in the conditions.
Mr. Delaney answered: That’s correct. We didn’t actually establish a standard.
Commissioner Halsted added: Then I would like to ask that we do that, not impeding pedestrians and that the location of the carts and outdoor dining not be such that it’s within the 16 foot access way as described by the Port.
Mr. Delaney replied: Staff will be happy to do that.
Chair Randolph then asked for a motion and a second on the staff recommendation as amended.
MOTION: Commissioner Halsted moved, seconded by Commissioner Chiu that the staff recommendation be approved.
Chair Randolph asked the Port representative whether he had reviewed the staff recommendation and agreed with it.
Mr. Hodap replied: Commissioners the staff recommendation and its amendments is acceptable to the Port.
Chair Randolph then asked for any further discussion of the motion.
Commissioner McGrath responded: I really appreciate the staff’s concern and attention to the many issues involved with this project and I salute them for that.
Chair Randolph then had Assistant Executive Director Lai conduct a roll call vote on the item.
VOTE: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 20-0-0 with Commissioners Vierra, Balico, Carrillo, Chiu, Gioia, Goldzband, Groom, Jordan Hallinan, Lundstrom, Maxwell, McGlashan, McGrath, Nelson, Reagan, Sartipi, Carruthers, Kato, Wieckowski, Vice Chair Halsted and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions.
Chair Randolph then moved on to Item 9 which was a briefing by Steve Goldbeck on BCDC’s overall program dealing with climate change.
9. Briefing on the Commission’s Climate Change Program. Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck began by stating: I will give you an overview of the Commission’s Climate Change Program.
I will start with what we’ve done in the past, and go through what we’re doing now and our proposed work going forward.
And as I go through it I am going to address the partnerships that we have established and some of the grants that we have, which is information that the Commission requested of the staff your strategic plan.
In response to Climate change and sea level rise in San Francisco Bay, back in 1989 you considered and adopted Bay Plan Amendments to address sea level rise.
These Bay Plan Amendments looked at the sea level rise occuring at that time used a straight line assessment of the past sea level rise into the future. The adopted policies state that new development should either be moved out of areas subject to potential inundation from sea level rise, be built above it or be built to be resilient to sea level rise.
Sea level rise continues to be of concern and recent scientific research showed that the levels likely will be higher than the past projections.
So the staff prepared a vulnerability analysis of the Bay to sea level rise to looking at the impacts on the Bay systems, both to the natural and built environments and the adaptive capacity of the Bay and the shoreline.
We don't know how much sea level is going to rise because we don't know how much greenhouse gases are going to be released in the future, so we used scenarios from the California Climate Action Team. And the numbers we used are 16 inches of sea level rise at 50 years and 55 inches at 100 years.
The actual analysis and technical work was done by the USGS, Dr.Noah Knowles, using the scenarios from the California Climate Action Team and resulted in the famous inundation maps on San Francisco Bay, which we used to do our vulnerability assessment, the Living with a Rising Bay document. It showed over 280 square miles of Bay shoreline potentially inundated at 16 inches going up over 330 square miles at 55 inches.
The inundation of residential development around the Bay would have the consequence that over a quarter-million of the Bay's residents could potentially be flooded, with all the things upon which they depend, including a lot of very valuable development.
The Pacific Institute estimated the cost to just replace everything at risk under these scenarios at over $60 billion.
The vulnerability assessment also recognized that certain areas of low economic development around the Bay Area face a special challenge because they would have less capacity to be able to plan for and respond to sea level rise.
Of course the Bay may go back to looking much like it did before we started filling and diking it. But turning to the natural environment, we also found as a part of the vulnerability assessment, that the Bay's natural environment is also at risk. The tidal wetlands, are at risk of drowning, and all of the diked and support habitats in the inundation area could be affected as well.
We also found that these impacts are not just 50 and 100 years out; because when sea level rise is put on top of seasonal flooding and El Niño and other climactic events the flooding is going to come much sooner.
At the statewide level, the Governor and legislature have been very proactive in addressing climate change, both addressing greenhouse gas emissions that are leading to climate change and also adapting to climate change.
The Governor gave an Executive Order that called for a state climate adaptation strategy to look at all of California, with the California Natural Resources Agency leading this effort.
A state sea level rise strategy was prepared for the coast that was led by the Ocean Protection Council along with the involvement of other state coastal agencies including BCDC staff, the California Coastal Commission, the Coastal Conservancy, Department of Fish and Game, and the State Lands Commission as well as Caltrans.
The state sea level rise strategy also calls for the state to reassess building in areas that are subject to potential inundation and calls for adaptation planning by state agencies to address climate change impacts.
The strategy was released last year, but the state planning goes on. There is a Coast and Ocean California Action Team, the so-called COCAT. And BCDC staff continues to participate as a part of this in planning for sea level rise and climate change going forward. So that's the statewide level.
On the regional level the Commission has joined with the other regional agencies in the Joint Policy Committee. Two main goals of the JPC in regards to climate change are to address and reduce the release of greenhouse gases into the environment and also to adapt to the impacts of climate change going forward.
A major aspect of the program to address greenhouse gas emissions is the Focus Program to focus growth around transit centers.
The sustainable communities strategy that was mandated by SB 375 is also looking towards regional planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by driving. This JPC initiative is led by the MTC and the ABAG, but the BCDC staff participated in these efforts on a continuing basis.
The staff realizes and recognizes that it is not only sea level rise that is going to be threatening the region. There is also going to be higher heat days, increased wildfires, water quality and water supply issues for the state. And so partnering with ABAG and also with the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) that is doing much of the statewide research for climate change, we have been working on looking at preparing for a regional climate action plan.
The work funded by the California Energy Commission is doing the first part of that, which is looking at the vulnerability of the Bay region and doing a vulnerability assessment across the various potential impacts that could occur.
This work is being done by UC Berkeley researchers and it has two parts. The first is using information that is already available to write a white paper of potential impacts. That's under preparation now and should be out early next year.
The second part of it is original research, led by the UC Berkeley researchers in the various impact areas. And that should be done in about a year.
The staffs of ABAG and BCDC are in a support role to that, providing information that the researchers may need. Hopefully, that vulnerability assessment can be used as a basis for the JPC to prepare a climate action plan for the region to cover the various impacts of climate change on the Bay Area.
So that's a synopsis of our regional level work. We are also working with local governments. We have a strong local government assistance program.
The idea here is that most of the local governments are already over-stretched trying to provide services to their citizens and what we want to do is to provide them with the information and expertise that we are getting from the regional, state and federal level and try to aid them in their planning. Because they actually have a lot of the mandate and a lot of the responsibility for addressing climate change impacts and particularly sea level rise.
In doing this we have been partnering with NOAA’sd west coast Coastal Services Center and also with the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
We have provided a series of workshops, outreaching to local governments, special districts and natural land managers to try to lead them through how to do vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning. This work hopefully will be funded in part by a grant from the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program(CIAP).
But we realize on staff that we don't really know how to live and build around the shoreline of an expanding Bay. So we sponsored an international design competition, Responding to Rising Tides, to have designers and interested parties from around the world help us come up with ideas. We had 130 entries from around the world, and these ideas ranged from planning, to building structures to hold back rising waters, to education for the public on the threats that we face.
But we found one of the most important outputs of this was when it was on display right outside here in the Ferry Building. The public had a really strong and positive response; because instead of just focusing on the dismal impacts of sea level rise it provided forward-looking, futuristic ideas as how you respond to it and it really inspired people.
So we curated the exhibit and have shown it at various conference, and if anyone is interested in having it at their library or their civic center please contact the staff.
In addition to needing more information on how to plan for sea level rise on the built environment we also need to understand the impacts on natural environment.
We obtained a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency for $650,000, through the SF Estuary Partnership, to look at wetlands and how they are going to respond to sea level rise. The project site we picked is at Corte Madera, Marin County.
This study is going to have three parts. The first part is already underway with USGS. Last winter they went out and obtained high resolution bathymetry and topography of the area and then measured the actual wave heights and energy coming from the Bay across to the shoreline.
They are going to use that information to measure how much the wetlands in our region help with flood control by reducing wave energy at the shoreline. This is a tool that we hope to provide to flood control agencies and planners around the region.
We also need to understand how the wetlands are going to respond over time to sea level rise. As a part of this grant we are partnering with the Marin County Flood Control District to look at how the wetlands will or will not respond to sea level rise forcings.
The local watershed will feed sediments into the creek. It is going to be very important to understand the sediment inputs to these wetlands to know if they can live with the rising Bay or whether they will drown, as the flow of sediments can help the wetlands keep up with sea level rise.
We will also core the wetlands and the mud flats to look at the sedimentation history and look at the erodability of the sediments, to try to look at how they can respond going forward.
The last phase of the study is going to look at potential ways to help wetlands persist in the face of sea level rise, whether it be placing low-offshore berms, or feeding sediments, or some other potential technique.
We're hoping the output of this study, again, will be tools that we can use to provide to local governments and other agencies to respond to sea level rise and to inform sea level rise planning.
This study shows the value of Bay sediments and sediments are important around the Bay, so we have also launched a regional sediment management study that will help us with our sea level rise planning.
The idea here is to look at the entire Bay system and look how the sediments are moving through it from the headwaters down through the Bay and exchange with the coastal ocean, in order to come up with a management strategy to maximize the ability of the system to be resilient to sea level rise and other impacts.
The idea here is to look at focused science to better understand the system and start to come up with management recommendations.
What we are going to do is use our existing long-term management strategy for dredging, the LTMS; a structure that we have for dealing with navigation dredging, which is one of the bigger aspects of regional sediment management. But we are going to also include our watershed partners like the flood control districts.
We have $175,000 from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant, and almost $300,000 from the California Coastal Sediment Management Working Group, which is doing this kind of planning up and down the rest of the California Coast. And then we have provided $580,000 in study funds from the LTMS to USGS who is measuring, even as we speak, the sediment inputs from several Bay watersheds.
So that's looking at the physical systems of San Francisco Bay and how they might help us address sea level rise.
But speaking of the tributaries of the Bay. We are also interested in something called “Head of Tide.”
The Head of Tide is the area where the salt water and the tides of the Bay push up through the tributaries and meet the fresh water flowing down from the headwaters.
Historically, these are areas of rich environmental values and also where people put their settlements because they could sail out onto the Bay and they also had access to fresh water. So that's where a lot of settlement were established and our cities are today.
We are concerned that they are very vulnerable to sea level rise. As sea level pushes up the tributaries these areas could start flooding. We will be partnering with the San Francisco Estuary Institute to try to establish a method to determine where the Head of Tide is and how it might change under sea level rise. This will also be funded by our CIAP grant.
We are also partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on their Climate-Ready Estuaries Pilot Program, along with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership as the other local sponsor.
The EPA wants to take its national science and apply it to the Nation’s estuaries to see how they can respond to climate change impacts. We are working with them to try to see what tools they have that can work for us.
We quickly found that the tools they wanted to apply were not very useful because they were too site-specific and would take way too long to help us with management.
So they suggested we try a tool called Expert Elicitation, which uses technical experts to address areas of uncertainty through a facilitated process to try to provide guidance on what the best science would suggest about a given question.
In this case we looked at sea level rise and worked with Bay experts going through preparing conceptual models for the Bay in terms of sea level rise forcings; looking at community interactions and influence diagrams such as for waterfowl and good resources, and use that to come up with an analysis of on how the system is going to change and how that might affect management.
We have already held these workshops and the EPA is writing up the results of the study, which should be out early next year. But we have already found just coming out of the workshop that the participating technical experts were very enthusiastic about using this tool.
For example, we looked at shore birds and found that sea level rise would push the tidal flats closer to the shoreline. So that would increase the impacts of hazing and other disturbances from the shoreline on shorebirds use of tidal flats that right now don't really occur as much, because the flats stretch out so far in the Bay.
In addition to our science studies is we are also partnering in the Bay Area Ecosystem Climate Change Consortium, BAECCC, which is a partnership of the natural resource managers and scientists in the region to try to look at climate change impacts and management on the bay natural environment.
And it's spearheaded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USGS, the Coastal Conservancy and a host of other partners, including BCDC.
Which brings us to the Dutch. Since we want to understand how to respond to a rising Bay, we thought that we would partner with folks who have been dealing with coastal flooding for hundreds of years. The Dutch are interested in looking to see how other estuaries in the world are addressing climate change and maybe on the way sharing some of their technical expertise.
In our partnership we worked together in a project to compare and contrast our two estuaries in regards to sea level rise. This was funded by the Dutch government.
The product was a workshop in September of 2009 called, San Francisco Bay, Preparing for the Next Level.
One of the outputs of that collaboration was a new concept for planning the shoreline in the light of sea level rise where we would looking at the types of shoreline and consider the adaptation approaches that would be appropriate to those shorelines, as opposed to trying to look at the whole region en masse.
We are continuing to partner with the Dutch as a part of the Delta Alliance program of International Estuaries. Again, trying to work together to face this new threat and share our knowledge and expertise.
So the last project I want to talk about is our Adapting to Rising Tides or “ART” Project. And this project will use this approach that we talked about with the Dutch and apply it to the Bay shoreline.
In our Living with a Rising Bay we looked at the entire region's vulnerability, but that is too coarse to determine what you need to do on a specific shoreline.
So we will pick a sub-region of the Bay with a variety of shoreline conditions, on the scale of a county in size. We will then focus in on the vulnerabilities of that shoreline; look at the various shoreline types it has and then start coming up with adaptation strategies that are appropriate to them.
We have a $140,000 grant from NOAA Coastal Services Center to kick off the first part of the project. And we also have a $300,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to look at the vulnerability of transportation facilities within our sub-region.
The lead for the grant is our partner, MTC, and we are also partnering with Caltrans, NOAA will also be working with us on the project.
Now the other aspect we want to address with this is community-level planning. So as a part of this we are going to choose a community in the sub-region to work with on community level planning.
ICLEI, an international non-profit organization of local governments working for sustainability, has chosen whichever community it is that we choose for our project, to be one of their eight inaugural adaptation communities in the entire country. As part of this they will be providing their expertise and work with us on this project as well.
The first workshop to kick off this project was on October 22nd where we show cased the project to the region and asked for communities to nominate themselves to work with us as a sub-region.
We had a wonderful response. We're going through right now trying to figure out how the sub-region’s meet the criteria we laid out for doing this project. And at your next meeting you will be considering which community of the Bay sub-region we ought to choose.
So that's my whirlwind tour of all the projects we are doing. I think you can see that we have covered state, regional and local planning.
We are looking at the built environment and design, the natural and physical environment, and what science to bring to bear. And looking at what partnerships and linkages we can use with local, state, regional, and federal partners to address the challenges we face of sea level rise and climate change.
So with that I would like to conclude and answer any questions you have. And I think we have most of the project managers here if you want to get down into the details.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: I think this is the most important work probably that we have done since the inception of the Commission and I was around when the Commission was incepted.
First of all, our policy that we are considering has as a major unit the creation of the regional plan that the local governments can participate in and use and actually working with those policies, as painful as it may seem to them now.
So my question is, you have done a really great job, I think, if I understand it, of identifying the building blocks, both in terms of the agencies and the information to be the basis for the regional plan.
But I don't have a picture of what gaps there might be. Is what is happening now what it is going to take to put together the kind of plan that our policies conceive of, which still in my mind is a little bit hazy. And then the next question. If not, what's missing?
Additionally, when is that going to coalesce to actually create the basis for doing the plan that we're talking about? That's one question.
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: There are a lot of gaps in knowledge. And so the studies that we have entered into and are planning to enter into are just the start to hit the things that we feel are the most pressing.
COMMISSIONER CARRUTHERS: But how long will it be? That line from Saint Joan, when will the world be ready to receive your saints?
You see, all these people are sort of waiting and they're saying, oh God, we can't do anything until we have the Plan. That may be right or wrong. But how far away in terms of time likely are we from having this Plan that we're talking about?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: Well, if we were to wait for completed, adequate science we would probably never do a plan.
So what we need to do is start to do the planning now. And that really is in part, for example, what the ART project is all about is to start trying to apply some of the tools that we think are going to be appropriate for doing a regional strategy.
But as much as to get the tools, it is also to see what works and what won't so that we can take the next step of saying, okay, we tried this, that was a blunt tool, let's do something different.
So I think what we will need to do is take an iterative approach where we do a first cut and then keep refining it. Because as we go forward we find that the numbers, for example, of how much sea level rise we are likely to face changes and we're likely to see a lot of other parts of the equation start to come into focus going forward.
We don't know anything about ocean acidification and how that might affect the Bay and as the Bay acidifies how that would affect the Bay, much less can we do anything in response.
So there's a lot of areas that we could address. What we have tried to do is pick out the things that we think are the most important and move on them.
And you realize, of course, that we can't fund these out of the General Fund and our ongoing budget other than use our existing staff as we can to work on these studies and instead we apply for grants to do the work. So we are somewhat creatures of what grants get funded, frankly. But I think you will find that we have a rounded program even with these challenges.
But we think that coming up with a regional strategy in part will be figuring out what we need to find out, which is what I also talked about in the regional sediment management. It was as much trying to figure out what we need to do to manage the system as to come out with the final plan.
Commissioner Carruthers added: When I listen to that from the point of view of local government as they are engaging with this draft policy, that sounds like a long way off before there's material that they can use.
What will the Sustainable Communities and the Regional Climate Action Plan produce that local government can use? Because I can see the possibility of this proceeding as sort of a two level thing.
One is kind of an overall regional thing, very gross, very rough, and then it being filled in with these more detailed, specific, tangible kinds of things that may vary quite a bit around the Bay because conditions around the Bay are different.
At what point would a regional product be available that could provide a context for this?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck responded: Going back just for a second. We believe we already have tools that local government can apply and that's part of our Local Government Assistance Plan that we've already been holding workshops on. But I think you are speaking to is a coherent, regional strategy.
Commissioner Carruthers queried: What does our policy mean when it talks about the region? What is that?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: That is an integrated approach that local governments and regional governments would take to respond to climate change in the Bay Area, sea level rise and also other climate change impacts.
So we need to prepare this with our JPC partners. Given that we can't tell you today, here is the exact plan that ought to be done because we need to prepare it together with our JPC partners, our local governments.
But we do think that it needs to include a comprehensive framework of what further studies need to be done (while not waiting for them); what regional planning needs to be done; and based upon that, what legal or other changes might be needed in funding flows or anything else to implement it.
So I don't think I can really tell you all what needs to be in it now because we really need to sit down with our partners and prepare it.
Commissioner Carruthers asked: Five years?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: I would say five to ten years probably before we can actually get this plan. Hopefully the state economy is going to come back and that will help.
Executive Director Travis stated: I think if everyone were committed to doing it and it was fully funded today it could be done in five years. As you're hearing, there's not a full commitment and the state of California and the federal government don't have the money to do it. So realistically it's a decade out.
Commissioner Lundstrom commented: I also sit on the Flood Control Board for Corte Madera Creek. I think while it sounds nebulous in the out years, our city is going through a general plan amendment now, and up until now communities haven't recognized sea level rise. So that's the first part. And I think what BCDC has developed even now is very helpful to local government.
While you don't have the firm answers, regarding what shall be the number at a particular place at a particular time, it is still helpful.
I think that the emphasis is on translating from the regional standpoint of BCDC taking the leadership and working with the local flood control managers, because the whole of the Bay Area isn't just one single government, it's nine counties, it's all these cities, it's flood control districts, it's water districts, it's sewage agencies and on and on. We are a mosaic of government.
So that this will not wind up being a stamped plan sitting on a shelf, BCDC needs to share the knowledge as we go through it so that each of these agencies, this mosaic of local agencies who actually make all the decisions on this, the planning decisions, they can start in at ground zero and plan for it. As studies move forward that's the benefit now, I feel, that BCDC is doing.
Commissioner Reagan made a request: Trav could you share with us the negotiating you’re currently doing with the Delta Stewardship Council regarding an MOU on climate change.
Executive Director Travis replied that as he recalled, he said that yes, we needed to do that but we're having such a hard time planning for the Bay I'd prefer not to further complicate it right now.
But we are working on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Delta Stewardship Council that we will be bringing to you to establish how those two organizations work together.
And then there's a Delta Conservancy and a Delta Protection Commission, which also have to be integrated into this.
Commissioner Reagan added: And many of us, because of what's going on in the Delta, are looking at coordination. Not a cooperating agency, but a coordinating agency agreement with the federal government which basically has things move forward at the speed that all three, local, state and federal government, can move in a coordinated fashion.
I think we've heard amply that at least most of the smaller communities in the Bay Area have not been monitoring the last two years of work by the Commission to any significant extent.
So there's an awful lot of communication that needs to be done in a much more focused way to catch people up to where we are now. And then all of us are going to have to learn what the feds are doing in order to figure out where that's going to go. I think your estimate of five years is optimistic.
Commissioner Gioia commented: I think people are forgetting the document that came out in 2009, Living With a Rising Bay, Vulnerability and Adaptation in San Francisco Bay and on Its Shoreline that this Commission approved.
There was a lot of detail setting forth the lay of the land on this issue and the idea that the leadership here at BCDC is intended to really jumpstart regional planning on this issue.
I think this document acknowledges that BCDC understands that as a state agency it's providing leadership on this issue but also working with other entities, including federal, state and local government.
And I think it's important to clarify this because there continues to be this allegation that everything BCDC is doing is intended to take away local jurisdiction. And that's not what the document we approved says. So I think as several have noted, it is about continuing with the leadership and continuing in all of these climate change programs.
And I just want to briefly acknowledge here because I think people are sometimes misrepresenting what the Commission is trying to do. I'm just reading from what we all approved and what's out there in the public for the last year and a half.
"Under current law the responsibility for regulating development in areas likely to be flooded by sea level rise rests largely with the nine counties and 46 cities fronting on the Bay. BCDC does not have any planning or permit authority over many areas at risk of inundation, therefore, BCDC has no authority to prohibit such development or require flood protection measures‑‑"
And it goes on. Then it goes on:
"The region needs a bold, new strategy to meet the challenges of climate change head on."
And the report talks about the myriad levels of government, federal, state, local, sewer, water, all these agencies. And that what this agency is doing is trying to provide leadership on this issue working with all these other agencies.
And I just think it's important to acknowledge all the different climate change strategies that the Commission is working on with others. And I think that leadership is really needed. There has been a vacuum out there.
The report also acknowledges that cities and counties are overworked and need help and that the work of this Commission in conjunction with them is intended to help provide that guidance, knowing that local land use decisions are still made locally.
It's a global problem but it's a regional problem here in the Bay Area. And we can't solve this issue one jurisdiction at a time.
So I just wanted to point out and remind folks of the report that we all approved that has been out there for the last year and a half.
Commissioner Reagan commented: And I think that's really important to do, to have people follow the leadership that we're trying to exert.
What are the criteria that you're using to select the community that you're going to be trying to refine your tools on? Is that square miles of exposure? Is it dollar value of real estate at risk or what?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck answered: We have several criteria. One of the key criteria is a willing participant, if you will, people who want to work with us on it, which is why we held our workshop.
We are looking for a couple of things. We are looking for a sub-region that has a mixture of shoreline types so that we can apply these principles that we've talked about. We want to have some communities that we can work with.
We also want to look at transportation and other key infrastructure at risk in the area. Obviously for the FHWA grant we need to have that. So things like bridge landings, freeways, rail, and having a range of those kinds of things is important to us.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: I hope that everything you said gets recorded in the minutes. This has been a tremendously useful overview and I think it has great application, great use spreading out to our local governments. So I'd like to see like a handout that outlines this material. I think it would be to our credit to have that out and available.
You talked about local assistance. I'd like to hear more about the specifics of local assistance. What kind of local assistance, how many local governments. How is that working?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: We held a series of workshops. One of the workshops was for local governments just to basically alert them to the issues; and this was done a while ago.
We walked through the Living with a Rising Bay study and the kind of impacts that the Bay might face, to try to show local governments what they're up against.
We have also done workshops where we go through how to prepare a vulnerability assessment for your community and what adaptation planning means and how you might go about doing that.
We also held a workshop for land managers walking them through this, more focused on the natural environment and how you approach that.
And I believe right now we're working on an analysis, based on feedback from the workshops and talking with local governments, to look at what the needs are out there at the local level for assistance going forward.
We're also hoping to set up, if we can get the funding of course, a website that will have these tools and that will make them more accessible so people don't have to come, necessarily, to a workshop.
Commissioner Carruthers requested: I would hope that when you schedule more of those in the future you could let Commission members know so that the little bit of influence that we might have we can talk them up at the local level and get our people in.
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: We'll be sure to do that. If nothing else, we will include them on the listing of upcoming meetings.
Chair Randolph added: And you might also want to be in touch with the media. I think there's not much understanding about this process with the media. At some point maybe a media briefing about what's happening and the plans would be helpful to clarify where the Commission is going.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: The studies that are being done that you describe seem to be of tremendous utility. And my question is, how do you get that information out to, for example, local government?
See, the thing I find so appalling is that the local governments in my area have just not attended to whatever has been happening in the past because they just have been so otherwise occupied.
I tried to get our Board of Supervisors a couple of years ago to put on a workshop. I got the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which is a big industrial group, to agree to participate in a workshop. I got our water district to agree to participate in a workshop to describe what they were doing to prepare for sea level rise because it's going to have a tremendous impact on our area.
Unfortunately our Board of Supervisors was so preoccupied with other things at the time they couldn't bring themselves to sponsor the workshop. So at any rate, in the future I would like to have a more proactive process, at least in Santa Clara County.
So my question is on these studies. How do you plan to get the findings from those studies out to the flood control districts for local governments and such?
Chief Deputy Director Goldbeck replied: Well we will be doing this, obviously, through our Local Government Assistance Program.
And if we can get our website together it will have that information there and links to it.
We will also be working with our partners in the Joint Policy Committee and ABAG to work with them to try to get the information across to local government as a part of our work on a regional adaptation strategy.
We will likely use a variety of different methods, both through the Internet, through workshops, through working with our partners and going out and proselytizing through the meetings.
If nothing else we will continue many talks that Trav and I give to any local government or civic group who are willing to listen to us on this, in order to get the word out. But any other suggestions would be most appreciated.
Executive Director Travis mentioned: Our staff has done a sensational job, I think, on using the website. I had a request from Commissioner Groom's staff member yesterday, a highly technical question about climate change and some of the projections, which I frankly couldn't answer.
And I simply went in to our website, looked at it and I sent him three links. And I said, here is where you can gain the access to the technical studies and the statistical modeling and everything you need. And within about an hour he contacted me and said, I have everything I wanted.
So whenever you have a question about climate change and what we're doing and what studies are available, the website is a wonderful portal because it will take you to what we're doing, and also makes references to what somebody else is doing. When you go into those links it will actually send you their site. So there is just a wealth of information available.
Chief Planner LaClair added: Another thing that we'll be doing as part of the ART project is to conduct a symposium to bring the science that the Berkeley researchers are doing through the PIER-funded program that Steve described for you. And that symposium will probably be held in the sub-region that we choose for doing the ART project.
But we'll make it a regional symposium so that we'll invite folks from around the region to share the science that the UC researchers have done, but also by others, because we recognize that there is a lot of work that is going on out there by non-governmental organizations, by the USGS and other universities besides Berkeley and so we want to take advantage of that as well.
Commissioner Carruthers continued the conversation: Also along that line, that would be tremendously helpful if you could have from time to time progress reports to which all of the Bay Area cities and counties be invited to come, so that they could get some of the benefits that the target county and community are getting
Also if there is some way of showcasing the city of San Jose. Their staff tells me that they are doing planning for incremental sea level rise.
The city of Sunnyvale is doing their general plan right now. If we can use them or the Santa Clara County Water District; we can showcase their efforts and let them be seen for what they are doing. The successes will be seen, the ones that are inadequate will be seen. But we need to get more of this information around to all of the network.
Commissioner Balico commented: I think the presentation and all the information you have here is wonderful. I think BCDC is very rich in data but my observation is not enough information is getting out.
I think it's the outreach that we need to take care of. I think that we actually have to start thinking about promoting the advantage we provide and why we have BCDC.
I think insofar as local government is concerned, the key there is understanding what the local people are doing and what their planning process might be.
I really don't know if there is such a thing as local government assistance. And those are things that you really have to share with everybody. I know that ABAG is trying to do the best they can to get information out. But again, if you are not in a coastal community, you're not in the Bay, you're not very interested. That's the observation I have.
Commissioner Gioia stated: Just to follow-up on something Commissioner Balico said. I think it is a good idea, frankly, in a broad way, to do outreach about the role of BCDC to jurisdictions around the Bay Area, even at times when there is not a pressing issue.
Commissioner Balico mentioned that those communities not on the coast or shoreline will probably not be as engaged as those that are and consequently less informed. I agree with that.
This agency was formed by Democrats and Republicans and by citizens to protect the Bay, a regional asset. And I think that's essentially what we are all trying to do as part of this new effort in a different way with different complexities, and it is important to provide some level of history about this agency and what it achieved and the challenges that we face with sea level rise.
Commissioner McGrath commented: As a hydraulic engineer it's not always apparent to non-engineers that what happens in flooding is determined by downstream elevation.
And a 16-inch increase in flood elevation in the Bay will basically make it very difficult if not impossible for many of the streams to actually drain. So in fact what happens on the Bay probably goes up into cities quite a ways from the Bay.
I think that needs to be part of our educational message here. Not that BCDC should dictate what happens, but we should kind of ring the bell.
Chair Randolph continued the hearing : We didn't have a public hearing scheduled but one person has asked to speak so we'd welcome you to come up now, Jean Sweeney.
Ms. Sweeney commented: Is there someone on this Commission that represents Alameda County?
Several Commissioners informed her that it would be Commissioner Lai-Bitker who was not present.
Ms. Sweeney continued: We are an island community. I think that our community, where the Alameda Naval Base closed ten years ago, is not 16 inches above sea level.
They are planning a lot of development out there that I think will be flooded unless we have tall seawalls or we fill in the land which is already filled. And I think that Alice Lai-Bitker ought to be notified that this project should be stopped. We need wetlands out there.
For a potential deep pocket to help you, I know from the Navy Times that the Navy is also studying sea level rise for their ports and docks and that's a deep pocket you might explore. And I think that because we have the Ready Reserve here in Alameda that provides transport ships for the Navy in times of need that we could qualify for Navy funding for studying Alameda.
And we have a variety of shorelines. A lot of fill, a lot of natural shorelines, a lot of manmade estuary. We would be a good community to study.
Chair Randolph thanked Ms. Sweeney and moved on to Agenda Item number 10.
10. Continued Public Hearing on Bay Plan Amendment No. 1-08 Which Would Revise Various Sections of the San Francisco Bay Plan to Address Climate Change and Add a new Climate Change Section to the Plan. Executive Director Travis began by describing six optional approaches the Commission might be able to use to address the concerns that have been expressed about amending the Bay Plan.
So today in addition to getting input from the public on the amendments themselves we think it would be helpful for you to ask for their recommendations on which optional approach they think is preferable. And in brief the six options are:
First, to continue the course we're on now and consider revisions in the proposed amendment language to respond to the comments of the public.
Second, to simply abandon the process. Leave in place the current sea level rise findings and policies that, that generally discourage development in areas vulnerable to flooding.
The third option is to delete those existing sea level rise findings and policies from the plan. But since the existing policies employ more of a one-size-fits-all approach this option may be raised, therefore, we think it is wise to consider it.
The fourth option is to continue the amendment process with a clear intention of adopting policies that are clearly limited for your use only in making BCDC regulatory decisions within your permit jurisdiction.
A fifth option is to limit the amendments so that they call for preparing the long-term regional strategy we discussed earlier but don't include any interim policy guidance that you would use while the strategy is being prepared.
And the final option is the one that a number of critics of the process we're engaged in now have advocated. Develop an informal guidance document that does not include any enforceable policies.
When we considered this option we realized that it can't be pursued on its own. You would have to do it in combination with one of the other five options.
Now, none of these options is perfect. Each has its benefits and its drawbacks. We tried to identify the most obvious pros and cons of each in the memo. We also recognize that there may be other approaches or variations to the six that we've identified that you might want to consider.
Again, we recommend that you invite the public to tell you which option they think is best and after the hearing today discuss the options and tell us which one you want our staff to pursue.
Now our staff has not offered you any recommendation as to which option we think best. But I believe it's fair to say that a combination of options 4 and 6 has three important advantages.
It would address the many concerns that have been expressed about possible unintended consequences of the proposed amendment.
Second, it would ensure that the policies you use in making your regulatory decisions are based on the most current climate change science and incorporate the best current, latest thinking on how to best respond to the climate change impacts.
And third, it would provide an opportunity to combine guidance on planning for sea level rise with other guidance that's being developed by our regional agency partners on energy and water conservation, public health protection, wildfire prevention and a host of other climate change reduction and adaptation measures that will be helpful to local governments, to institutions, to businesses and to the general public.
Finally, if you decide to close the public hearing today on the proposed Bay Plan amendments we recommend that you continue to accept written comments from the public through Friday, December 17th.
Should you do this you will have provided 15 weeks or 105 days for the public to comment on the staff recommendation that was released on September 3rd.
Also our staff is meeting with local governments throughout the Bay Area on the Bay Plan Amendments. And although some of these workshops will occur after the close of the public comment period our staff will incorporate any feedback and input we receive at the workshops when we develop the next revision on our proposed amendments for your consideration at a public hearing next February or March. Thank you.
Chair Randolph asked: Could you just state again for everybody's benefit, what the combination of 4 and 6 is.
Executive Director Travis reiterated: In essence BCDC would move ahead, we would amend the Bay Plan. But we would clearly and explicitly state that the policies in the plan are for BCDC's use only.
You need this under state law to carry out your regulatory authority. They aren't offered as advice to anybody else.
We would then work with the other regional agencies and a broad cross-section of the regional community in developing a stand-alone document. The San Diego region did this and it was very effective.
You may all be familiar with the guidance that USGS has put out on dealing with earthquakes in the Bay Area. It tells you how to prepare, how to limit the damage when there is an earthquake and what to do afterward.
So a document like that that could have a wide variety of guidance on a whole variety of impacts could fill the gap between this first starting point and that regional strategy that we talked about that may be five to ten years or more away.
So this would clearly address the concerns that people have as to where do these policies apply. Are they advisory? Could they be misused? Could somebody else misuse them? It would clearly be off in another document but you would have still your Bay Plan.
Chair Randolph replied: I would just add to that, I thought it was a very productive and useful conversation we had with the other agencies, that was MTC and ABAG and the Air District.
We had particular concerns, especially from ABAG, about the possible effects of what we would be doing on the Sustainable Communities Plan on focused, priority development areas, on infill.
And the resolution of that conversation ended in a pretty solid working consensus. There was a good level of comfort or complete support for BCDC acting to amend the Bay Plan within its jurisdiction, because that's our job.
They're comfortable in support of the idea that there would not be a separate advisory document from BCDC but that this would move across to the Joint Policy Committee which is tasked with developing the Sustainable Communities Plan under SB 375.
And that would be vetted there. There could be interim advice coming from JPC that that would then be geared to the SCS, which is a priority for all the agencies.
That would help to inform the long-term strategy that will be quite a long time in the making. So there would be interim advice and guidance but it would be with an explicit linkage to the Sustainable Communities Plan and the long-term strategy.
So with that I'll open the public hearing. We've got about 11 people who have asked to speak so please limit your remarks to three minutes each. So first up, Ian Wren. And after Ian Wren, Wayne Miller.
Mr. Wren: My name is Ian Wren, staff scientist at San Francisco Baykeeper. And I wanted to endorse the proposal that Mr. Travis just suggested, the combination of Options 4 and 6.
I didn't know that these discussions were going on as to what the best mechanism was going to be but I really think that is the best way to move forward and it would really help alleviate a lot of the tensions associated primarily from local government over whether or not BCDC will be extending its jurisdiction.
It just seems like a good way to delineate what's in and what's out of the proposed amendment.
Mr. Wayne Miller: Hi, my name is Wayne Miller, I live in Newark, California. I have worked for a number of years as an analytical biochemist and researcher and graduate student of oceanographic sciences, in particular ocean chemistry.
Previously I sent an email to BCDC and provided 11 pages of documents and testimony regarding the BCDC amendments with updates on climate disruption and sea level rise. Here is a copy of that. And you did acknowledge that you did receive it.
Basically my feeling is that there should be no further new developments in areas vulnerable to sea level rise, especially if they require extensive and expensive protections such as armoring and landfills, levees, hard structures such as concrete walls, that eventually will be vulnerable.
We know that the IPCC projections for sea level rise are already out of date. There are hundreds and even thousands of peer reviewed publications supporting much more catastrophic impacts of ocean and bay environments since we are not even beginning to do enough to mitigate our influence.
Recently the most important conditions that we are just beginning to address that are closely connected are climate disruption and ocean acidification, which was mentioned earlier, from increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and in the sea.
As an oceanographic student and a chemist I believe that we are only beginning to observe the effect of ocean acidification on alkaline earth complexes of calcium and magnesium, which bind shells, bones, teeth and most other biological processes for the evolution and survival of most, if not all, organisms.
Also we must consider another item that has not been written to any great extent about and it's that ocean environments, as they become more acidic, we can demonstrate what will happen to sediments, landfills, levees, clay liners, even concrete structures that contain alkaline earth complexes such as calcium and magnesium complexes.
As the buffering capacity of ocean and Bay environments are weakened and become more acidic, other naturally occurring ionic species can become more corrosive and can accelerate degradation of both inorganic substances and organic life.
This condition further demonstrates that we have hardly taken into account what impact changing ocean chemistry will have on our proposed protective devices and armoring. The rest of the world will experience the same impacts.
These chemical forces and many others will come into play as our climate impacts unfold. Both terrestrial and ocean environments will be affected and it will affect our adaptive planning.
Consequently, we need to include scientific evaluation and research covering so many other changing properties of our environment when considering developments close to the Bay as climate disruption accelerates.
The College of Marine Science in Delaware has published a number of papers on changing ocean chemistry with more to be published on the impact of these chemistries in the near future. Thank you.
Mr. Scott Zengel of the Bay Area Council stated: I wanted to start out with saying thank you for all of your hard work over this hundred and however many day period we've had the hearing open.
We're really happy as a coalition, the Council, the BIA and BPC to support the recommendation that Trav and Chair Randolph have mentioned today.
We think it's a great strategy. Of course with any strategy there comes execution so we would like to continue our involvement as much as possible.
Two quick comments on the proposed strategy. We want to make sure that we're including the new language. We did submit our language today and it should be in some of your inboxes.
Number two, the guidance document. I would like to stress that the integral component of working with this is working with JPC on our side. That is our recommendation so thank you for mentioning that and we'd like to strongly support that.
The last part is that I think we really do want to support but we did not hear today is creating the long-term sea level adaptation strategy.
So the long-term part of the document, which was part of finding or Option 5, I didn't hear that mentioned. But we would support the long-term, the long-term strategy.
Lastly, the local government, the nod to including their language once the outreach is taken to them. I think that's absolutely integral as well so thank you for acknowledging that.
Commissioner Gioia commented: I assume the recommendation on this 4/6 combination is a process recommendation not tied to accepting any language that's been submitted by anybody.
This Commission independently is going to look at all of that and make a decision about what language to incorporate, what kind of changes to make. But that what we're talking about here is a process as opposed to the substance of the amendments.
Executive Director Travis replied: That's correct. I was very careful to say that the staff hasn't made a recommendation on this and we’ve now had three people endorse it.
As I tried to point out, I think the advantages of it are very, very clear. It is a process issue.
If you agree with this approach what you would be doing is telling our staff is, take all the comments that have come in, look at all of them, come up with improved language.
But make sure you make it very, very clear in some form that this language is for BCDC's use only and it's not offered as advice to anybody else. So that would be the direction that you would be giving us.
The second part of that is in that policy language we would still include that there should be a regional strategy and that there should be interim policies that the Commission should use while that strategy is being prepared.
And the third idea is that any guidance that anybody else would use should be something that comes out of the Joint Policy Committee.
And I would like to expand that to be not just the Joint Policy Committee but a coalition of institutions and businesses.
And we hope we get financial support from the Bay Area Council on this, to put together a document to address what we can be doing. What's the best thinking for dealing with a whole range of impacts, both to reduce the impacts of climate change and to be preparing for those impacts that we can't eliminate.
Chair Randolph commented: And the only thing I would add to that is this approach would effectively eliminate the concerns raised or greatly reduce them about extended jurisdiction that many people have commented on, the Coastal Zone Management Act, federal consistency, CEQA.
It doesn't eliminate them entirely but it greatly reduces the likelihood that what we are doing could be misinterpreted or misused.
So if we end up talking about what is within our jurisdiction that does bring us back to the language which is the most important thing going forward if we choose to take this approach in the end, is to really focus in now on the precise language.
Commissioner Nelson joined the conversation: Travis, it wasn't clear to me whether you were saying that we would adopt what is in our plan and then we would defer interim guidance to be prepared by the Joint Policy Committee or whether we'd adopt some initial interim guidance that would go to the Joint Policy Committee and then we might subsequently change our interim guidance. But that we would at least send our staff into that process with some initial interim guidance.
Executive Director Travis added: I think it's better for any interim guidance to not come from BCDC. Even though we would be involved in drafting the interim guidance on sea level rise it would be better for that to be in a document that has interim guidance on a whole variety of things. So that's both in terms of utility to the general public.
But the other thing is, we now have in the law and in the Plan statements that say, anything that's in the Bay Plan outside of BCDC's jurisdiction is advice only.
And yet it's causing confusion. People are saying, even though it's advisory it could be misused. So I think the best way to deal with that solution is that maybe we should put the policies in the Bay Plan and nobody can read them until you're sworn in to the Commission. Only you would know what they are and only you could use them. But they aren't used by anybody else.
But if there's a good idea in the Bay Plan somebody is going to copy it. You're not going to sue them for plagiarism.
And if it's something that doesn't make sense to them they will ignore it. So it truly does try to get at this issue of how that advice could be misconstrued and misused. And one way of making sure your advice is not misconstrued or misused is, don't offer any.
MR. David Lewis of Save the Bay added: I understand the origin of the suggestion to take this different approach. I don't think it's the best approach; I think the best approach is Option 1.
I think the alternative approach you're suggesting, you actually just made the best case for not doing it and so did Commissioner Carruthers and other local government officials.
Local governments are looking for advice. BCDC's jurisdiction is BCDC's jurisdiction. You've developed great advice starting two years ago. And hiding it or saying it's not really there is not the way for the Commission to continue its leadership that it's so clearly showing and that Steve's presentation underscores.
But whichever approach you take, my suggestions could be pursued under either one. Which is, close the public hearing today finish taking the written comments. And as soon as possible incorporate those comments and come back and approve the changes to the Bay Plan that apply within your jurisdiction.
Whichever approach you take I encourage you to do that as quickly as possible. We've had without constrained time limits an extra year of delay from the guidance that you gave to the staff a year ago, which was to take the state's climate adaptation strategy that Steve explained, underscore in the draft policies at that time more strongly what the Commission was encouraging and discouraging in its jurisdiction; discouraging additional development in its jurisdiction that didn't have adequate protection and discouraging development on undeveloped areas that contained habitat or could be restored to create habitat.
That's what the state adaptation strategy says. That's what most of you agreed as guidance to the staff a year ago. And that's what we want to see in the final policies, whichever of these approaches you take.
The other reason not to take the approach that you're suggesting is that some other set of people who were supposed to have developed some other broad guidance will take as long as possible.
We're seeing the same delays, the same misrepresentations from the very small subset of the Bay Area community that doesn't want any guidance on development.
Especially a small number, maybe even one landowner and one developer who were particularly concerned about how this policy might affect them. They're entitled to do that but they are not entitled to engage in scare tactics, misrepresentation, all of which you're aware of.
So I underscore again. We want you to adopt the strongest protective policies for the Bay, for the important habitat restoration opportunities that provide shoreline protection and all the other benefits we know about. We'd like you to finish that as soon as possible and approve it.
If pursuing Option 4 and 6 is a faster path to that outcome, or if pursuing Option 1 is a faster path, that's the outcome we want. That's the outcome you said you wanted a year ago and we'd like you to do it as quickly as possible. Thanks.
Mr. Louis Blumberg commented: My name is Louis Blumberg. I direct the California Climate Change Team for the Nature Conservancy, where we're working on nature-based solutions for climate change dealing with reducing emissions, restoring our carbon stocks and developing response mechanisms like we're talking about here today.
The Nature Conservancy applauds BCDC for its leadership in promoting climate change adaptation through the great many efforts that we heard about today.
And I think it's important to know that sea level rise goes one direction. The time is now for action.
And the Nature Conservancy strongly urges BCDC to adopt the proposed Bay Plan Amendment and to integrate its findings and policies on climate change into the Bay Plan.
We support Option 1. We think it's the clearest way and will not obfuscate the direction and advice that already exists, acknowledging that it will improve.
We think that adoption today, closing the public comment period and moving forward would serve as an all too rare example of real action to promote adaptation of climate change.
We have submitted a letter with more detailed recommendations that we think clarify the language and would enhance protection of the Bay.
First of all we think the Bay Plan Amendment should explicitly prioritize ecosystem-based adaptation. Ecosystem-based adaptation is an approach that simultaneously builds resilience and reduces the vulnerability of both human and natural communities to climate change.
And one of the most well-founded strategies for ecosystem-based adaptation is through protection and the restoration of tidal marshes.
We support the language in the Plan Amendment that acknowledges the importance of maintaining and restoring tidal marshes and allowing for their migration to upland areas in the face of climate change.
Most importantly, the Plan Amendment should discourage development of undeveloped vulnerable land that can become part of this important line of defense. We provide some specific language in our letter.
The second recommendation is following up on the presentation that Mr. Goldbeck made. We think that the Plan Amendment should specifically reference the California Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. There is guidance in that document that we think should be incorporated into the Bay Plan Amendment and it provides guidance for others as well.
So going forward we support the development of a regional adaptation strategy. We have developed some multi-objective decision support tools. We'd be happy to share and work collaboratively on this.
And while this regional adaptation strategy goes forward, however, we think that it's time for action now. We think that your staff did a great job of laying out the groundwork for that. It's only going to get more intense and we need to move forward so we're supporting Option 1.
And we're concerned also about what might get lost. What options, what flexibility would be precluded if you don't act soon. Thank you.
Ms. Roseanne Foust stated: I'm here today as the President and CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association and that is who my comments are based on, but as many of you know I am also an elected official in the city of Redwood City.
We would like you to definitely continue the process of what I would call Option 7, the combination of Option 4 and 6. But we will be very interested in seeing the language that comes back regarding the Bay Plan Amendments and how you are going to implement it going forward.
I would also like to address something else that will combine with what you eventually adopt in the Bay Plan Amendment and that is your three-year Strategic Plan, which you will be discussing under 12. But what I am going to say reflects this agenda item.
In your objectives you have in the Bay Plan Amendment, by April 30, 2011 the staff will recommend to the Commission for action to revise climate change findings and policies for the San Francisco Bay.
Number three. Sea level rise legislation. By June 30, 2011 the staff will provide for the Commission's consideration draft language for state legislation that will empower, fund and direct the Commission to prepare a sea level rise adaptation strategy for San Francisco Bay and the Suisun Marsh.
I hope that you will take that objective and modify it to reflect the new process that you are going through with Option 4 and 6 as a combination and hold off on any state legislation that could possibly affect the local jurisdictions as well as the many interested stakeholders. Thank you.
Ms. April Wooden commented: I am here representing the city of Suisun City. I have a detailed letter from our City Manager that I would like to submit for the record as well. My brief comments relate primarily to process.
I'm a little confused, actually quite confused because there has been talk about closing the public hearing today and then submitting additional language. I don't understand how that coordinates with the idea of having these nine county-wide meetings that would provide additional input.
And I continue to be somewhat discouraged that if all the language is supposed to be submitted by December 17th what is the point of those regional meetings?
So I'd like to hear some assurance that that's not an arbitrary date for submitting language, it's simply a suggested time if you want to submit something.
I don't understand why the staff would be changing any language until after those meetings are held. That's basically my biggest concern.
So I would hope that staff would be directed to complete that region-wide outreach and then work on any additional changes, whether they're to an advisory document or to a document that only applies to the existing permit jurisdiction.
That said, I do think that there is something that's really lacking as I've tried to meet with other people at the local level that are in my shoes of being staff people and working on this.
We need a better map. We need a map that doesn't have a huge disclaimer at the bottom. We need a map that actually is useful at a project level so that's something that needs to happen.
And then finally I simply want to reiterate what's already been said before. At the local level we're looking at where growth will occur. We’re, doing a general plan and zoning ordinance update. We're working with the sustainable community strategy. We need to know that the area in our PDA, which is a waterfront district PDA, will allow for that growth to occur there.
So even in the language that's used for development within your permit jurisdiction, we need to see coordination with ABAG and MTC. The Air District already had issues with developing thresholds without thinking about that. Don't find yourself painted into a corner with that. Let's work together regionally and make sure that that happens smoothly. Thank you.
Commissioner Gioia queried: What do you mean by, a better map? I just want to understand what you mean.
Ms. Wooden replied: Your map is very provocative. It doesn't include shoreline protection that already exists. So when you look at inundation areas it's not realistic.
Commissioner Gioia answered: The map is based on science. I don't think there's such a thing as pseudo or faux science. I think the intent is not to draw maps the way people want them drawn but drawn based on whatever the science is.
Senior Planner LaClair added: The maps that are in the Living with a Rising Bay background report are based on the information that we were provided by the USGS and it shows those areas that are low-lying and would be vulnerable to 16 and 55 inches of sea level rise. It does not, as Ms.Wooden pointed out, take existing shoreline protection into account.
Our intention is in the course of doing the sub-regional planning pilot, the ART project, is to address that concern in that area. But the kind of analysis that's necessary to understand what the risks are in other areas around the Bay, we simply don't have the resources to do that at this time, to be able to prepare the map that you're requesting.
Commissioner Gioia continued: Also I imagine, just dealing with this issue in my own county, existing sea level protection may not indeed be the necessary sea level protection to prevent inundation.
So if you're assuming that existing sea level protection means that area is not going to be inundated, that would be a false assumption.
Because FEMA is changing a lot of the standards with regard to what protection exists and what does that really mean. So I assume that's where the additional analysis needs to occur, is whether that protection indeed is true protection for what has been projected in terms of sea level rise.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: Another important thing to note is that out of a request that was made at the public hearing we are preparing some case studies of projects around the Bay, around the country and around the world that have analyzed this issue that we'll be posting on our website in a sort of consistent format, so that we are providing some additional assistance to projects, to those preparing plans and so on; to help them understand how this analysis has been conducted elsewhere.
Local governments haven't been waiting for us entirely in the Bay Area and neither have project sponsors.
The Treasure Island Development Authority, the Hunters Point Project, are both examples as well as the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority and the Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Authority have all been conducting sea level rise vulnerability analyses independent of work the Commission is doing.
That work will be highlighted in these case studies that we'll be posting on the website, which we think will be helpful for those who are trying to approach this problem.
Chair Randolph added: And I think the other thing that's important about the maps is that they are not intended to show where the water will or should go but where it could go, absent protective measures. Protection would be a factor to that.
Ms. Wooden stated: Also absent existing protective measures.
Commissioner Gioia rejoined the conversation: ABAG has on its website maps where potential liquefaction will occur and every house is going to be designed differently. So it shows in a particular geographic area.
It's interesting, I haven't heard a lot of complaints from the community saying the property value has gone down because there is potential liquefaction, knowing that the whole purpose was to highlight where problems existed and where there may then be precautionary measures taken in new construction.
Chair Randolph asked: Let me ask Trav while we're on this if you could just clarify or address that question about the sequencing, the timing of keeping the hearing open or closed and the submission of written comments and future comments that might come from these county meetings.
Executive Director Travis replied: Again, we recommend that you close the public hearing today. Keep the record open for written comments until Friday the 17th.
That's two weeks and a day from now. But that as we hold these workshops we are finding some local governments saying, I'm sorry, we can't accommodate you until January or maybe it'll be February.
And knowing that we will continue to be having workshops and outreach to the public, anything that we learn, even though it's not part of that public record that comes out of that process, we want our staff to be able to listen to it and incorporate that into the draft that we bring back to you the next time.
So we think this is the best way of accommodating both closing the hearing, closing the record, having a firm deadline. Today comments were queued up on the Internet as I was leaving.
So I think by having that deadline we will get some more. But then if something comes up at these workshops we shouldn't be able to just close our ears, we should take that into account.
Commissioner Reagan added: I guess the question is, these processes for putting in comments after today, in writing by the 17th or at one of these meetings that are going to be held in the nine counties will that be incorporated into another draft which would then go through another public hearing process?
Are you planning to take the comments that you have already gotten and put it into one of those matrices that we're all so fond of?
Executive Director Travis replied: Probably not. And the reason is we're finding that there's sort of general categories of comments; we think you ought to do this on this policy. And there might be seven or eight or nine slightly different revisions but they're all trying to get at the same thing.
So what we're going to do, in all probability, is kind of summarize those.
We'll still give you all the comments. You can look at the raw data. But we'll try to bring that together so that you can digest it and say, you can do this, this or this. And then there will be refinements of language as to how you can handle it.
Commissioner Reagan responded: And then we start the public hearing process on Draft 4, whatever it is.
Executive Director Travis replied: Exactly.
Commissioner Reagan continued: And then you've got a stated deadline of having something done by September, right?
Executive Director Travis responded: No. You've given us direction that you would like to vote --
Commissioner Reagan interjected: No, we've given you a deadline but I'm wondering, do you have an external deadline from the state?
Executive Director Travis answered: No.
Mr. Jason Garben the Economic Development Director for the City of Suisun commented: And it's clear that something does need to be done to address this issue of sea level rise. What I don't understand is why it seems to be this mad dash to implement policy on a problem that is going to take decades and decades to develop.
I think that BCDC should certainly be commended for raising awareness on the issue. You've certainly got our attention.
I do think a coordinated effort among all the federal/state regulatory agencies is necessary to create consistent policy and regulatory framework.
I think it seems that other agencies are awaiting on the completion of science that's being done at a federal level. And it seems that many of the other agencies aren't implementing any policy; you're at the forefront.
So if there are other agencies that are trying to do this anywhere in the United States I'd like to see it.
From an economic development perspective, creating policies ahead of and out of sync with other state and federal agencies will create yet another disincentive for investment in our area.
And so in closing I'd like to say that I think you're on the right track in utilizing an option of a hybrid between 4 and 6 and that we'd still be highly interested in the language that you come up with. Thank you.
Ms. Ellen Johnck, Executive Director, Bay Planning Coalition commented: I wanted to echo a couple of points that Scott Zengel made as a member of our coalition here and just tee up a couple of things for you.
I'm really glad that you had the meeting with ABAG, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and MTC because to me it really is progress.
And so I think the process of combining 4 and 6 is a good one to move in that direction.
Of course, as Chairman Randolph said, this means we really get to work and focus on the Bay Plan Amendments and the language thereto.
Because here again, this is for projects that will come before BCDC in not just the shoreline band but in many areas where BCDC does have jurisdiction.
In these local workshops you will have additional points of view and perspectives that will come out at these. And I'd really like you to work with that. Either they have already suggested to you that they would be a co-host or however that would work but we would really encourage that.
I am concerned about closing the public hearing. I understand how you're explaining it. I just want to be sure that the additional points of view and recommendations that do come out in these are really a part of the record.
You can start working on amending and looking at the language and coming up with a staff recommendation now. And I do think what this leads to is a major overhaul of the September 3rd staff report.
We started a year and a half ago saying the regional strategy was really key. This seems to be bumping down the line a bit. We do think this is still a very immediate process to begin working on and should involve a broad range of stakeholders in addition to the partnership agencies that you have already identified.
I think many of you know that Bay Planning this year held a workshop series called Keeping Bay Projects Moving.
Our most recent one had a very good presentation from about five or six entities showing what is being done in the form of tools for decision-making and adaptive management strategies.
Mr. Abe Doherty commented: My name is Abe Doherty and I am staff for the California Ocean Protection Council.
So I'd really like to just complement BCDC on working on these difficult issues of how to amend the Bay Plan and how to work on collaborations to develop the regional strategy. And I just want to put this in the context in terms of what the state overall is working on coordination.
So for those of you who don't know, the California Ocean Protection Council was established by state law about six years ago to provide coordination across the state on ocean and coastal issues, including San Francisco Bay.
And our council is made up of the head of the Natural Resources Agency, the head of California EPA, the head of the State Lands Commission, Assembly and Senate appointees and public members.
The Ocean Protection Council staff has worked with all the different state agencies in preparing the adaptation strategy which has been talked about today.
And I'd just like to highlight that a couple of the adaptation strategies are directly relevant to the discussion today in terms of there actually is a reference calling on state agencies by September of 2010 to develop plans and documents about how the adaptation strategies are going to be incorporated into state adaptation documents.
So I'd like to encourage the Commission as much as possible to move forward with taking action to address adaptation in the Bay Plan.
And also there's an additional strategy in the state adaptation strategy that calls on state agencies to work with local governments and collaborate to develop regional plans.
And then I'd also like to point out that one of the background documents for today references a sea level rise guidance document. And it's noted on that that it's a draft.
But I just wanted to clarify that that document actually is final and was prepared by 16 different state agencies working together with the Ocean Protection Council's Science Advisory Team.
So this document is available to provide sea level rise projections that can be used for doing assessments of sea level rise. So this is to be used before we can have the National Academies of Science produce their expert report, which likely won't come out until mid-2012.
So just a note that the Bay Plan Amendments in terms of the sea level rise projections, that it may be advisable to just have those be based on the best available science and note that they are going to continually be updated. The guidance document is currently anticipated we'll be updating that annually for the state. Thank you.
Commissioner Carruthers added: I just want to say I was tremendously impressed with the document that was distributed to us in our packet both in terms of its content but also its strategy about how to proceed. Very impressive; I think we ought to all read it. I'd like to see every local government in my county get it.
Mr. Mike Ammann commented: I am President of Solano Economic Development.
I support the joint plan option that has been discussed. Obviously planning in isolation doesn't get us to a sustainable community or economy.
So my suggestion in addition to the joint planning option is to include, and many of them are here this afternoon speaking to you, is the local economic development community.
We work between the developers and local government to facilitate retention, expansion and attraction of development. And with all of this impact you're really going to need our assistance.
It's pretty obvious that the economy just isn't going to stop and allow you to fix this major problem. And, in fact, the business community, as was earlier discussed, is taking action continuously to protect its corporate assets and look forward to future development in the Bay Area.
So I applaud your modified process of 4 and 6 and look forward to further participation in this process.
Ms. Linda Best stated: I am representing the Contra Costa Council.
We too would recommend that you pursue the hybrid option of 4 and 6. We think that will go a long way towards allaying many of the concerns that have been raised over the last several weeks.
And we wholeheartedly endorse the idea of doing a more collaborative strategy and process to develop a guidance document with other agencies.
So we urge you to direct your staff to move forward with this approach and we look forward to seeing the language when it comes out and the opportunity to review it. Thank you very much.
Mr. Matthew Gray commented: I'm a land use attorney here in San Francisco.
My partner Cecily Barclay and I have been attending these Commission meetings over the past three or four months and we also actually attended a couple of the Adapting to Rising Tides kickoff events and want to compliment all of the staff and the Commission on the continued hard work and effort involved in tackling these issues including things like showing up to late night community meetings out in the nine counties. We really appreciate that work.
I find the new direction in this hybrid approach of number 4 and number 6 to be a very encouraging one. It seems to us that having guidance come from the Joint Policy Committee will help to avoid any sort of concerns about harmony with sustainable communities strategies and all the efforts that are underway to comply with SB 375.
We put a comment letter in on November 17th that sought to really collect what we thought were the most compelling comments from organizations like SPUR and from the San Francisco Mayor's Office. And we put that comment letter in the guise of a guidance document, more than anything else for the purpose of trying to facilitate the discussion of what that approach might look like.
Our hope is that even as the amendments are refined in order to address the 100-foot jurisdiction of BCDC that the substance of a lot of those comments are still considered because we think a lot them would remain valid and would be helpful even in a refined set of substantive amendments. Thank you for your time.
Chair Randolph asked for any additional speakers who might wish to address the Commission. There were no additional speakers.
Chair Randolph added: There's a recommendation from the staff that we close the hearing this afternoon but continue to invite written comments through December 17th.
The staff would take those comments, incorporate other input coming from these county-based meetings and bring that back with a new draft for the Commission to consider in the new year at which point the public hearing would be reopened.
So before I ask for a motion and a second on the suggestion that we invite written comments through the 17th, close the public hearing today, is there any discussion or thoughts from the Commission about that approach?
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan asked: Are the governments that weren't able to accommodate a December workshop aware that there would be a recommendation to close the public hearing on December 17th?
Are they perhaps thinking that we're going to wait for them? And then they're going to find out, oh my God, they closed the public hearing on us.
Executive Director Travis replied: I have no idea what they were thinking. But when we contacted them we indicated it was likely that the Commission would close the public hearing today.
Chief Planner LaClair added: And I have spoken with most of those local governments and most of them are aware that the staff's recommendation was to close the public hearing today.
And they understood that if they had their meetings in January that it was likely that the public hearing would be closed but that we would incorporate their feedback into our revised recommendation.
Chair Randolph reiterated: And that's been stated for the record. He then recognized Commissioner Reagan.
Commissioner Reagan added: I'd be glad to make the motion but I did have a question. You know, basically what we are doing by closing the public hearing is we're just avoiding having to have a quorum of this body to accept additional public comment.
You’re going to be taking, in writing through the 17th and through sometime in January and February, whenever you’re done with all these other meetings, information that’s gathered at those times. And those all will be incorporated in the staff’s draft. So with that understanding I’ll make the motion.
MOTION: Commissioner Reagan moved, seconded by Commissioner Goldzband to close the public hearing on the Bay Plan Amendments. The motion passed by voice vote with no abstentions.
Commissioner Groom made a request: I want to make sure that that particular language appears in the minutes. Perhaps in boldface so that there can be no question as the workshops in the public continue.
Chair Randolph continued: So let's go on to the discussion of the six options. So we had the six options from staff.
We've got the hybrid option of 4 plus 6, which is essentially the consensus coming from the discussion with the other regional agencies with a variety of attorneys in the room to advise on that. So I think those are the options before the Commission for discussion.
Commissioner McGrath added: I'm going to speak in favor of a slight variation of the hybrid option.
I do represent the Regional Water Quality Control Board which does have authority on the waters of the state, which go beyond the BCDC jurisdiction. And we are interested in BCDC's recommendation. BCDC has highlighted this issue and has taken it to a level where it has identified impacts.
About three years ago when I was on the Board, and I'm not sure I was yet on BCDC, I attended a League of Women Voters talk by Ray Seed and he talked about the Delta.
I went to see Ray in his office at the University of California and I asked him, what would he do about sea level rise if he was a Commissioner. And he pointed out something that I think is important to keep in mind and should track through our policy.
He said, we kind of have a dry rehearsal of what's going to happen with sea level rise because we had in 1983 really severe storms.
And we know what got wet and we know that that's unlikely. That's going to happen again and again, more and more frequently. In the Bay Area people got wet, the shopping areas were damaged, but there wasn't a huge risk of life. In the Delta 30,000 lives are at risk.
So I think it's important to keep in mind what we've learned and distinguished between the flood-proofing and the management for the Bay, which is a matter of property value, and maybe larger questions, which is the larger adaptation question.
And I think it's important that we recommend something. We know two things. We know that our existing risk assessment tools are not sufficient because they're outdated. In many cases they're 20 years old. They don't take into account sea level rise. They underestimate the risk that we're exposed to.
We're not the first to say that. The Adaptation Advisory Panel very specifically said we should make the risk assessments much more explicit. And I think we would be remiss if we didn't make recommendations that said this needs to be updated.
Second, we know that we may not be able to afford, as a society, to protect everything. To just ignore that at this time, I think, would not be wise.
I do think we should make it really clear that our recommendations are simply recommendations as things that local government should consider. But they should consider their own fiscal conditions, infill, the level of protection that they already have. In recommending that they consider things it doesn't say what they should do about them.
So I think we need to strengthen Option 6 a little bit because we have done enough work to know.
I think further than that we should also encourage infill and a discussion of infill at local government without defining it. I don't think we have the tools to define it precisely. And allowing local government to do that is, I think, consistent with recommendations.
I also think it would be wise to have some reassurance on the priority use areas. I've heard concerns about that. I didn't see that when I saw those.
So I like the idea of 4 and 6 but I think we should take the two years or three years worth of work that we've done and make some recommendations to other agencies who can balance them along with their other responsibilities.
Chair Randolph replied: I think part of what appears to work well and the formula breach with the other agencies is the fact that what BCDC would formally state would be confirmed to what is within its jurisdiction. It would not be preparing a separate advisory document. And now I'm assuming that since BCDC has, in fact, led the agencies in the thinking in the region on this issue and we have thought more about this than any other agency, that in working with other agency's staff through the JPC, a lot of the thinking that's gone into our language in the Bay Plan would be delivered and reflected in those conversations.
I would fully expect that what we come up with as language for our Bay Plan, and the thinking behind that, would be carried forward in a leadership capacity into those conversations.
Commissioner Gioia stated: And I just want to make sure. Sean, I understand what you're saying with regard to this change in Option 6. I want to be clear.
The way I read Option 6, of course we're talking about the 4 and 6 combination. But 6 is basically developing the stand-alone guidance document that can be used by the Commission, local government and others when dealing with sea level rise.
So maybe just to understand the process. We'd be moving forward with our Bay Plan Amendment process under Option 4, basically to say that it applies just within our jurisdiction. Then when we complete that we will continue to work for a stand-alone guidance document that would be issued by BCDC.
Executive Director Travis replied: Actually no.
Commissioner Gioia answered: Maybe I missed it. So let's be clear about that because that's what 6 says. I want to understand what we're saying.
Chair Randolph added: Yes that's important to clarify there. There would not be, under this formula, a separate, stand-alone BCDC guidance document. It would be developed through the JPC.
Commissioner Gioia continued: Through JPC, okay. And that the agency would be involved with the JPC on the development of a guidance document. But in the meantime we would complete as quickly as possible our Bay Plan Amendment and that's Option 4.
And frankly, whatever comes out of our Bay Plan Amendment, that we would apply only to those areas within our jurisdiction.
Those alone would be a starting point for others who can choose to take the best of that language and those policies or not. And so it would still allow us the opportunity to put out the best thinking on this issue as far as we know it as an agency in terms of how we apply it, but others then can choose to take portions of that. I think that's a good approach.
I do think that at some level it's sort of like exactly what's happening at the state level. The good news is that with this issue in this region, this agency has stepped forward to do a fair amount of analysis and thinking.
So we've sort of broken through I guess you could say the confusion, the cloud, the dust, to at least come out with some types of recommendations that will be fine-tuned when they come back to us that could then get utilized by others.
Because ultimately I think we said we have had this discussion for a year and a half. The belief by others, in addition to this agency, was that this agency made the most sense as the starting point for this discussion and so we'll continue with that. So I support this hybrid which is option 4 but a modified Option 6.
Commissioner McGlashan commented: I'm greatly reassured by what Commissioner Gioia just said because a couple minutes ago I was really concerned that we would end up losing our own ability to say something courageous and helpful to all of the local governments running the Bay.
And by only limiting our advice to ourselves in the context of the Bay Plan Amendment I was too worried that too many local governments would blow it off and never hear what we actually really have to say.
And I think there is a valid conflict between some of the preliminary thinking about priority development areas and our preliminary thinking about high risk development zones. And I think that's a good conflict to actually get serious about discussing.
So I like the part of this hybrid approach that puts that conflict and discussion of priorities and reality that there are conflicting problems that we need to solve.
Infill development, that's good, however, how do you avoid the risk caused by sea level rise. I think the JPC is a great place to vet that.
So when Commissioner McGrath was speaking a few minutes ago I was suddenly leaning very much back toward issuing a guidance document that allows BCDC to boldly say the truth to everybody around the Bay Area at the local level that, you know, we've got a problem, we've got to deal with it.
You at the local level if you're updating your general plan, you'd better get serious and take a look at this guidance. And the big four agencies will have to also integrate these beliefs.
If we are vigorous in communicating our final amended Bay Plan to lots of people with the clear caveat that this is for BCDC use then I guess I am reassured that we won't lose our statement of fact.
And if we offer it with some level of seriousness to the Joint Policy Committee I think then we'll initiate that difficult dialogue that we really need to have about being honest with one another about what we're really facing.
So I think under those assumptions that staff will do its usual excellent job of really communicating the force and seriousness with which we take these matters then I don't think our statement will be lost. But I did want to register that fear.
I came in here today wanting to gun for Option 1. Just say, you know, let's not let the misinformation that's been rampant dissuade us from saying something real. I recognize that there's a better, more integrative approach but I really don't want it to water down the truth of what we're trying to say to ourselves as a region.
Commissioner Nelson added to the dialogue: A couple of thoughts. The first is I've been working on issues related to the Bay for a long time and I can't think of another time when there's been in front of a regulatory agency such comparatively, in comparison, little comment on the policies as they would apply within our regulatory authority and such controversy about advisory policies over which we have absolutely no regulatory authority. I just find that a remarkable irony.
But I want to come back to that because there's actually a real advantage there that I think we can take advantage of that we haven't talked about.
I share the concern Commissioner McGlashan stated. Travis, I think you're right. A realistic time frame for a comprehensive strategy is ten years. Ten years is a fair estimate of that.
There are some tough conversations we need to have and balancing of a broad variety of interests, as all of the witnesses have pointed out to us. Ten years is a long time. We need to have interim guidance during those ten years.
And I'm concerned that developing a formal interim guidance document through the JPC may prove to be more of a challenge than we think it is. We're two years into this process within BCDC and we don't have interim guidance yet. So I have a concern there and as the staff formulates a recommendation I urge you to take that concern into account.
But there is an advantage. If we pursue this bifurcated hybrid approach of a formal amendment and a less-formal guidance document there's an advantage here. And that is that because that second document would be an advisory document it can be much more of a living document.
So what I would suggest the staff consider is separating those two, pursuing a hybrid approach and having the Commission adopt some interim guidance.
Take it to the Joint Policy Committee. The Joint Policy Committee continues that discussion. I fully expect that interim guidance would probably change. And bring that back to us at that point and we'd amend that interim guidance.
I think that would be an entirely appropriate thing for us to do with advisory policies that aren't intended to have the ability to be more fluid than a formal, regulatory Bay Plan Amendment.
Chair Randolph added: We should remember that in the middle of this, between wherever we are in our Bay Plan policies and the strategy, there's the Sustainable Communities Plan, which I think does have a real date, I think it's 2013.
And so what we would be putting forward in the way of advice and guidance would in some way be reflected in that Sustainable Communities Plan. There's a long-term horizon for the Adaptation Plan but we've got the SCS between here and there.
Commissioner Nelson stated: The concern is whether that Sustainable Communities Plan will necessarily include the sort of advisory guidance. And as I look at 375 it's not clear to me that there's a mandate that that plan within the Bay Area address those sea level rise issues.
So if we can dovetail those, that does extend that process out another couple of years to get some advisory policies out. I'm concerned about that.
But even beyond that it's not clear to me that there's a mandate that that sustainable community strategy include those advisory policies. So we could find that's a challenge. SB 375 presents plenty of challenges. And if we're expecting that process to also provide interim guidance we might find ourselves disappointed.
Executive Director Travis added: The way we envision it at this moment in time is the sustainable community strategy will reflect the state of the knowledge when it's adopted. But it has to go through a very formal adoption process, just as you are going through this process now.
And as you refer to a guidance document it can be more of a living document. It's possible that we come up with a guidance document as there were several references to BCDC's guidance that it uses for design of shoreline areas and public access but you never adopted them at all.
We drafted them, we brought them to you and we said, what do you think of these, and you said, that's pretty cool. So it could be that you have something that's never adopted by the government agencies but rather is something that reflects kind of the state of the knowledge as to where we are now.
So there's a whole variety of approaches. But I think the main one that we embrace right now is given that there is so much angst over advice that BCDC would issue, don't issue any advice. Adopt your policies in your Bay Plan. And somebody would be absolutely stupid to not take that as good advice. But they don't have to and it doesn't exist anywhere as advice.
And then the advice would come as part of a more comprehensive package of advice on preventing wildfires and where we build, how we conserve energy, how we conserve water, how we deal with the threats to public health in greater heat days and also sea level rise. And have a whole package. And how that would be adopted or presented, remains to be seen.
Commissioner Ziegler posed a question: Is there any advice contained in our current plan and policies?
Executive Director Travis replied: Absolutely.
Commissioner Ziegler queried: Are there policies that are specific as you are envisioning for climate change that are intended only to be advisory to local government?
Executive Director Travis answered: No.
Commissioner Ziegler continued: So this would be wholly unique in including policies that are advisory.
Executive Director Travis replied: Yes. Your current sea level rise policies offer advice to local governments. It says, local governments dealing with development in certain areas. They are advisory. The law says they are advisory. The Bay Plan says they're advisory. But now there's a great concern that if you issue advisory policies they could be misused.
Commissioner Ziegler responded: So I'm not clear on the answer to that.
Executive Director Travis continued: The answer is we would clearly craft whatever language we bring to you which would say, either in the resolution or in the section on climate change it says, these findings and policies are for the exclusive use of BCDC in carrying out its regulatory functions under law.
Commissioner Ziegler said: That I understand. My question is, let's say on water quality. Are there policies within our plan now that are totally advisory?
Executive Director Travis replied: Yes.
Commissioner Ziegler continued: So it's not out of the question for us to adopt other policies that are also advisory.
Executive Director Travis responded: That's correct.
Commissioner Ziegler stated: I'm most comfortable with Option 1 where we've gotten some great comment from the public. And what I haven't seen is our response to that public comment in terms of fixing and adjusting the staff recommendations that were put forward.
And in my reading of those recommendations I think we could do much better. And I really feel that the collaborative process really helps in doing that. And for example, particularly the part on what's advisory and has gotten us so much controversy.
I don't see Section 6 to reflect what I understand to be the spirit of what we mean to put forward as advisory. I think we can be much clearer in saying this is advisory.
And it says right now, new projects should be limited to. As somebody, if I was reading that I'd be quite concerned. It does not sound advisory.
But I think that there are some very reasonable things that we could be providing as advice that would result in risk minimization.
We are about risk minimization and we're primarily talking about adaptation policies. And at least from public investment I think we have a lot of reasons to be concerned that we are proceeding with making public investments that have more risk to them than they need to have due to changes in sea level rise.
And we're talking ten years until we have a strategy. And then we're pretty clear on the sea level rise that we're going to have by 2050. And so we're talking my lifetime, my children's life. You know, it's within reach now.
And I think we have a good opportunity. So I kind of have the preference of let's revise this language to make it what we want it to be because I don't think it was that. No slight meant to the good work that's been done.
The other part is that I'm concerned that we don't have enough resources to do what we want to do. We don't have enough resources right now to even describe what the strategy would be, this regional strategy, let alone provide a reasonable schedule.
Ten years sounds to me like a hope. We don't know how much it would cost, what it would do.
And what I'm concerned about is a guidance would cost more money and we're not sure how long it would take. And I think Barry was suggesting it may take a long time to develop a guidance; and we have guidances.
And I think we need to take a step out. I think some of the things we need to do is to do regional planning in a different way.
In this case it's a lot about providing tools to local government so they can make the decisions. Even the idea of us creating a regional plan that shows vulnerability down to the site level may be an antiquated approach to regional planning.
But giving Suisun the tool where they can integrate accurately the sea level rise models into their land use planning and let them see that they're going to -- my lot right here is going to be below sea level in 30 years, I start to question that.
So I think we have alternatives here. I'd like to see us come back with a revision and then move from there and it would still be we could go ahead with a guidance.
But I'm unclear what a guidance would be, what it would do, what it would give us, how much it would cost, when it would be done. And maybe it's better just not to do that and put our resources into developing a good, useful strategy.
Chair Randolph added: I might just note on this that if we do revise the Bay Plan, that's going to be the gold standard. It's the only standard out there and it will be a well thought through statement at the end. Whatever we put in the Bay Plan will be hard to ignore because it will be the definitive statement for some time.
If we follow this hybrid approach, what that basically does is eliminate the concerns and greatly mitigate concerns about CZMA and CEQA applications. Not remove them but greatly reduce them.
But it would eliminate the concerns by other agencies that whatever we do would negatively impact the sustainable communities strategy and the focused PDA strategy. So we're basically by taking this course, knocking down those jurisdictional, regional planning kind of issues.
But as Commissioner Nelson said, the meat of the conversation is the wording in the Plan. We haven't gotten there yet but we've gotten a lot of very specific submissions of very specific language as requested at previous meetings. And I think when we get down to working in the next phase, if we take this option, then we're going to have to look at that language very, very carefully.
Executive Director Travis added: May I make a suggestion that may bring us some closure. And the reason I want to do that is the next item we have to take up because the period to comment on the environmental document will expire before your next meeting.
Perhaps the best solution today is to agree that we will accept the written comments and we will prepare for you a revised Bay Plan Findings and Policies that are exclusively for your use.
And then when we bring that back to you for a public hearing next year we'll have had time to talk with MTC and the other agencies, to talk with stakeholders.
And then we will come back to you and then you can decide, okay, in addition to this we also want to issue our own guidance. Or we don't want to issue our own guidance, we want somebody else to do it or we want to do it in this format or that format.
But the decision today would be to give direction to staff. Take the comments and come up with language that is exclusively for BCDC's use and take this guidance issue off the table for now.
Commissioner Gioia commented: I was just going to say that I think I agree with everything Commissioner Ziegler just said but we achieve the same thing in a, I think, more easier, political way by focusing on the standards within our jurisdiction which become the gold standard which de facto becomes a form of advice without saying, it's advice.
Commissioner McGrath added: I am grappling towards trying to find a way to agree with this but I haven't yet found it. There are problems outside our jurisdiction. And one of the requests we got today was, find out a way to update the map so we can have maps that are reliable.
I want to see local governments empowered and I want to see enough heat on this issue until there's a sense that we're going to pursue that. Because we know the maps right now underestimate flooding risk.
And to just go forward and approve new subdivision maps and ignore that and to not make a recommendation on that is not something I'm willing to do. If we could get there in a better way, in a more politically viable way as Commissioner Gioia suggested, I'm willing to go there.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: Okay. I move that we direct staff to take the comment that comes in, written form and from the meetings being held, mostly in January from now on, and that the staff present us with a draft for us to act on that would apply to the Commission's jurisdiction, at that point that we give staff direction about how to address what lies outside our jurisdiction, either through joint plan with the other agencies or whatever.
But the primary target, primary product for now is the amendment that applies to the jurisdiction of the Commission. Because I believe that amendment will have power of its own. It will not be disregarded.
Once that's adopted, once it's out in the public, it has a life even beyond our jurisdiction whether we want it or not. So that's my motion, that's how we proceed for now.
And I believe in adaptive management.
Commissioner Gioia seconded the motion.
Commissioner Nelson added: Could I offer what I hope is a friendly amendment? The idea of a guidance document has always struck me as somewhat artificial because we might adopt a Bay Plan and then lift up that document and say, oh and by the way, for those of you who are not in our jurisdiction this is also our advice to you.
But I think it would be helpful if we had a better understanding of what we're actually dropping if we don't do a separate guidance document. So if the staff could explain that to us it would be helpful.
Executive Director Travis responded: No, you can look at it and you can say, okay, these are the rules we are going to apply. Is there anything in here that I wish were in here and it is not in here.
Commissioner Nelson replied : And like Commissioner McGrath I am hesitant to decide that we are dropping interim guidance.
Executive Director Travis added: What I'm suggesting is don't worry about it today. We’ll deal with that later.
Chair Randolph stated: We have a request, Commissioner Carruthers, from our reporter that you restate your motion and maybe boil it down to ten words.
Commissioner Carruthers responded with the following motion.
MOTION: To direct staff to bring to us next year an amendment to the Bay Plan that addresses what the Commission is going to do within its jurisdiction to address climate change and sea level rise, seconded by Commissioner Gioia.
Chair Randolph asked for a vote by a show of hands. The motion carried by a vote
11-0-3. The three Commissioners abstaining were McGrath, McGlashan and Carrillo.
11. Briefing on the Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan. Chair Randolph introduced Jessica Davenport and she made the following presentation.
Ms. Davenport presented: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will brief you today on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report for the Suisun Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan referred to as the Suisun Marsh Plan not to be confused with your Suisun Marsh Protection Plan.
An Executive Summary of that Plan was mailed to you on November 19th.
Today’s briefing will allow you to clarify any questions you might have but also address the consistency determination that Fish and Wildlife will present to you estimated around mid- 2011.
Three alternative 30-year plans and their potential impact are found in the draft environmental document.
The adopted alternative will become the Suisun Marsh Plan.
The preferred alternative involves restoration of five to seven thousand acres of tidal marsh and protection and enhancement of 40,000 to 50,000 acres of managed wetlands.
These goals are generally supported by the Commission’s laws and policies.
A few of the key issues are: A proposed increase in the dredging of sloughs to maintain levees around managed wetlands, the absence of any proposed construction of recreation or public access facilities, provisions for the consideration of sea level rise and habitat management and restoration, and an incomplete adaptive management plan.
The staff will prepare comments on the Draft EIS/EIR and we’ll be happy to incorporate any comments that you provide today or any that you provide afterwards in writing. These comments are due at the end of this month.
The Suisun Resource Conservation District’s component of the Suisun Marsh Local Protection Program covers maintenance activities in privately owned duck clubs.
Such activities do not require BCDC permits as long as they are consistent with the local protection program.
The Suisun Marsh Plan would include changes to maintenance activities so they would be different from the currently approved local protection program.
Therefore, the Suisun Resource Conservation District’s component of the local protection program would need to be updated to enable the Suisun RCD to implement the maintenance activities without project permitting in the future.
And now, Cay Goude, Assistant Field Supervisor with thee Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, will present the briefing.
Ms. Goude presented the following: This is a unique program that includes the entire Suisun Marsh.
The Suisun Marsh Plan is a regional plan and the uniqueness of it is that it’s a collaborative process that started in 1999 under CalFed.
It is very consistent with the Tidal Marsh Recovery Plan that our office just completed, we’ve closed comments and we’re trying to finalize the document now.
The Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service are co-leads on the EIS, on the NEPA Document, which is a unique situation.
Fish and Game is the lead CEQA agency and we have worked with the Suisun Resource Conservation District that represents private duck clubs and other entities as well as with the Department of Water Resources that has numerous facilities also within the Marsh.
The plan has multiple components which include, tidal restoration, managed marsh, levee system integrity, water quality and various land use documents.
The alternative development included various acreage targets for habitat restoration. It incorporated all the different planning documents and goals and objectives that were within the Marsh.
The percentage is consistent with our Service Recovery Plan for the Tidal Marsh.
The Marsh was divided into four different regions.
The plan alternative has a tidal restoration as our goal and objective of five to seven thousand acres and the managed wetlands enhancement which is existing and ongoing duck clubs within the Marsh.
It should be noted that those marsh habitats that are for duck hunting also support salt marsh harvest mouse and two very unique plant species.
The public and private land use issue would increase public access especially where you are providing tidal marsh restoration on public lands.
The difference between what has been ongoing for years in the Marsh to this plan is that we would institute a dredging program and we have been working with all the numerous regulatory agencies to deal with this dredging program.
This program is to maintain the levee integrity of the system. There has not been dredging since the 80s.
This dredging will be combined with the tidal marsh restoration component as well as other activities.
This will improve water quality because you will have enhanced tidal marsh restoration and circulation as well as for the managed wetlands.
There are numerous best practices and take avoidance measures to improve their management to reduce problems with dissolved oxygen and other water quality issues.
This has a programmatic basis which is the restoration actions on a broad level and there are site-specific actions that have been evaluated.
There are a lot of environmental compliance documents and the most important thing to understand is this will be a collaborative process among all the agencies involved.
There will be an adaptive management plan that is being developed. There is an existing plan that will be separate and the adaptive management plan will be a part of it.
Monitoring and management actions will be dealt with on a site-specific basis.
The comment period closes on December 29th. We’ve already had a public hearing.
We’re trying to wrap everything up by the summer of 2011.
Commissioner Reagan commented: I represent Solano County here so I’m familiar with all the effort that has been going on and I wanted to thank you for that.
The preferred alternative is bound by, as best meeting the objectives of the 1641 Water Quality Objectives?
Ms. Goude replied: We are still supporting the numeric standards and this will help meet those standards and will have to eventually go back to the Board and we re-confirm that.
Commissioner Reagan added: We are very much in support of those numeric standards.
I know you’re familiar with the Smelt OCAP. Are these five to seven thousand acres eligible to meet some of the smelt habitat creation that DWR and Fish and Game and some other people are working on to try to do that for the state and federal water projects?
Ms. Goude answered: Yes it would be, assuming as in the OCAP opinion, it said that it was conducive and beneficial for Delta smelt. It would have to meet those parameters too.
Commissioner Reagan then stated: I’m a little worried that with all of these things we have many government land owners in the Marsh and one of the things that they don’t seem to have is the operation and maintenance money to do the mosquito abatement, to do the invasive species and noxious weed controls or to do payment in lieu of taxes so that other agencies can do those for them.
Do we have something in the plan that would require an endowment of enough so that there would be money generated so that those kinds of services provided by local government can be accommodated?
Ms. Goude responded: So there’s not a funding strategy that says you will direct money to the mosquito abatement district but any project that comes forward would have endowments for dealing with the normal management and there will be within the Adaptive Management Plan as well as in the Plan itself discussions on things that you would need to have as general planning guidance for any restoration project.
Ms. Katie Shulte Joung of DWR added: I would like to provide a little clarification on 1641.
D-1641 is not directly addressed in the Plan but the Plan does not propose, in any way, to change D-1641 or directly impact 1641 at this time.
As we go through the process we may end up learning that restoration does have impacts on various aspects of water quality including salinity, dissolved oxygen and methyl mercury.
And we’ll have to adapt as that goes along and work with the State Board.
Commissioner Reagan stated: I’ve heard that where in the Marsh you do tidal restoration has either a positive or negative impact on salinity intrusion into the Delta.
Ms. Shulte Joung replied: That’s what preliminary science is telling us, yes.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I was just looking at sediment impacts and I have two questions as to whether or not restoration activities will intercept sediments that might be headed for the Bay and it looks like you’ve identified that as a less than significant impact.
Since you’ve got 200 miles of levees and a limited funding source, I’m just curious what happens in the event of levee failure from either flood activity or seismic activity.
Ms. Goude responded: As you know, most of those areas are privately owned duck clubs and where levees have been improved or protected often is mainly when you’re dealing with major infrastructure that runs through the Marsh.
So the dredging activities would be monitored and managed through the Suisun Resource Conservation District to monitor and make sure that there’s a certain level.
But each duck club or individual would have to be paying for their own activities. But as you go into tidal marsh restoration projects, we’re hoping that those projects would often have to fix interior levees to allow the restoration to occur in the Marsh.
So you’re right. It is a big funding issue but this will provide some opportunities that the locals were planning on cost sharing.
Commissioner McGrath added: So in order to be able to allow full tidal activity on areas that are now protected you need to, essentially, establish secondary levees like for the salt ponds. Okay. Thank you.
12. Consideration of Strategic Plan Status Report. This item was postponed.
13.New Business. There was no new business.
14.Old Business. There was no old business.
15. Adjournment. Chair Randolph entertained a motion to adjourn. Upon motion by Commissioner Reagan, seconded by Commissioner McGrath, the meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of December 16, 2010