June 24, 2020 Enforcement Committee Meeting Summary

Four members of the Enforcement Committee –  Chair Scharff, Commissioner Gilmore, Commissioner Techel and Commissioner Vasquez – attended the fifth online only virtual June 24, 2020, BCDC Enforcement Committee meeting.  The public was able to participate by submitting written comments by email prior to the meeting, and by phone or accessing the meeting via a web link posted on the Commission’s website.

At the meeting, the Committee received three briefings. The first briefing focused on the enforcement program improvement implementation efforts, particularly the Aged Case Report and Closed Case Report samples submitted with the one-year audit response.  The Enforcement Policy Manager relayed some of the positive feedback received from the State Auditor. She mentioned the Auditor explained that additional progress on closing the oldest cases is necessary to demonstrate BCDC’s Enforcement Program improvements are preventing case stagnation.  The Committee was also informed that the RBRA Board adopted a tentative transition plan during their last meeting that will be presented to the Committee on July 9.

In the second briefing the Committee received a presentation from Dr. Katharyn Boyer on eelgrass and the process by which eelgrass habitat restoration is undertaken.  The presentation included information on how site selection is done, where test plots are located, how determinations are made on whether to use transplants of eelgrass or eelgrass seeds, how monitoring is undertaken and how success is measured.  The presentation also included information on the causes of eelgrass loss including factors such as high rainfall or heat waves which affect what time of year restoration projects are undertaken, as well as man-made causes for habitat loss.

The third briefing was on Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs).  Staff offered a proposal for the types of projects that would be considered, potential caps on the maximum penalty reduction, and the inclusion of policies that Environmental Justice concerns should be included in determining the types and location of projects.  The Commissioners recognized  the importance of determining what projects would be acceptable and ensuring that projects have a nexus to the violation at issue, and expressed concerns about the implications of allowing SEPs in lieu of civil penalty payments to the Bay Fill Clean-Up and Abatement Fund.

For details on each briefing, contact Priscilla Njuguna (415-352-3640, priscilla.njuguna@bcdc.ca.gov).
The next Enforcement Committee meeting is scheduled to be held from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM on July 9, 2020.  It is anticipated to also be an online only virtual meeting with no physical location for attendees and participants to congregate.