Regulating our way to beter creeks and streams

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Regulating our way to beter creeks and streams

  1. 1. regulating our way to better creeks and streams greg gearheart stormwater program / swrcb
  2. 2. Image from John Hannon, USDOI/BOR
  3. 3. our mission ... is to preserve and enhance the quality of ca’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations.
  4. 4. growth ...happens
  5. 5. growth ... is heading for the parts of our state where headwater, ephemeral, and other “functionally significant” waters lie waiting...
  6. 6. so we focus on hydromodification
  7. 7. hydromodification • alteration of the hydrologic characteristics of waters, which in turn could cause degradation of water resources.
  8. 8. After Lane (1955) as cited in Rosgen (1996)
  9. 9. hydromod ... can cause problems
  10. 10. hardscaping our streams ... still happens?
  11. 11. Could this happen today? (Chicken Ranch Slough, Sacramento County – Channelized in 1950's)
  12. 12. 2000's – Sacramento Area 1950's – Sacramento Area
  13. 13. replumbing watersheds and floodplains
  14. 14. but we ... might have forgotten about the sediment side of the scales...
  15. 15. and what about ... the watershed context of the project?
  16. 16. and what about the floodplain?
  17. 17. water boards nuts and bolts • our regulatory actions (e.g., npdes permits, cwa 401 certs, wdrs, enforcement, etc.) rely on our water quality (wq) standards: – water quality standard is either • beneficial use(s) + objectives; or • water boards may “choose to prevent any degradation” to high quality waters = antidegradation
  18. 18. beneficial uses used to protect california wetlands & streams • AGR – agricultural supply • REC-1 – water contact • FLD – flood peak recreation attenuation/flood water • REC-2 – non-water contact storage recreation • FRSH – freshwater replenishment • SHELL – shellfish harvesting • GWR – groundwater recharge • SPAWN – fish spawning • MAR – marine habitat • WARM – warm freshwater • MUN – municipal and domestic supply habitat • RARE – preservation of rare • WILD – wildlife habitat and endangered species • WQE – water quality enhancement
  19. 19. beneficial uses and streams • bus are: – designated in the basin plans to a specific waterbody at a specific location – are not easily translated to some key wetland/stream functions and values – frequently it takes a suite of BUs to cover “wetland functions and values” (often includes gaps and overlaps)
  20. 20. functional framework: regulatory tools • landscape / watershed tool(s): – storm water permits – ceqa ? • waterbody tool(s): – cwa 401 certifications – waste discharge requirements – waivers • hybrid tools – ms4 permits – gets at “local governments” and their processes
  21. 21. our big guns • wetland program – clean water act (CWA) section 401 certifications – california water code (CWC) an option • storm water program – municipal and construction – CWA section 402, NPDES permits
  22. 22. clean water act 401 • one-one permit (regulator- discharger) • too many projects to cover all, but those that get attention generally fare well (at protecting streams, etc.)
  23. 23. cwa 401 regulatory actions at water boards for 2003 • 1094 401-related projects statewide – 26 projects denied certification – 12 project-related enforcement actions • 1880 acres of fill to state waters (includes 1280 acres temp. fill) • 600 acres of permanently filled wetlands/streams/etc. • 1082 acres of compensatory mitigation
  24. 24. cwa 401 program and hydromod standards • individually determined and applied (staff) • usually pretty good for projects fully regulated • potentially 10's of different standards
  25. 25. cwa 402 – NPDES storm H2O permits • considered point sources – discharges must obtain a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit – stormwater outfalls are considered “point sources” and these regulations apply to: • industrial sources (including construction activities) • municipal sources (large and small communities) • can be individual or general (strorm water more often general)
  26. 26. municipal stormH2O and hydromod standards • municipalities are required to impose some hydromod controls on some new and re-development projects • standards vary significantly statewide
  27. 27. municipal SW - phase II general permit • due to be reissued • may contain new hydromod standards • coverage limited - relies on scarce staff resources to implement
  28. 28. stormH2O - susmps, hmps, and streams • oh my • at least 4 major variations, statewide • probably more like 20+ variations after each MS4 considered
  29. 29. construction stormH2O • general NPDES permit • currently has little post-construction expectations/requirements • hates sediment (too strong?)
  30. 30. summary of hydromod standards used in CA • there are lots (and lots) of variations in use in mostly urbanized w-sheds • some are better than others • sediment role largely ignored • watershed context largely ignored
  31. 31. storm TMDLs? watershed 401 water just add $$ - and we do… (grants, etc.)
  32. 32. future hydromod standards • rb1/2 stream protection policy • statewide wetland policy • reissued stormwater permits – construction and phase II ms4
  33. 33. possible issues for the future • statewide hydromod plan? • technically-based riparian/streamway setbacks? • watershed management? • watershed permits? • water budgeting?
  34. 34. saving our streams • in most cases requires addressing all of these: – in-stream issues (e.g., stability, etc.) – we have no “in-stream” program – threats from new development – we have lots of different standards – threats from existing development – we don’t do this… much
  35. 35. Image from John Hannon, USDOI/BOR
  36. 36. greg gearheart 916-341-5892 ggearheart@waterboards.ca.gov
  37. 37. today’s presentations available: http://nemo.osu.edu/stream723/pdf/ http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/academy/ Water Board site posted on 7/24

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