San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Archive



Final Report of Recommendations
for the Revision of the Alameda County
Watercourse Protection Ordinance



prepared by the
San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force



June 27, 2011
(Attachment B: Minority Report added October 3, 2011)



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Alameda County Board of Supervisors
Scott HaggertyDistrict 1
Nadia LockyerDistrict 2
Gail Steele (former supervisor)District 2
Wilma ChanDistrict 3
Alice Lai-Bitker (former supervisor)District 3
Nate MileyDistrict 4
Keith CarsonDistrict 5
San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force Members
Linda Bennett (Chair)District 2
Howard Beckman District 3
Barbara Fields District 4
Diana Hanna District 4
Chris Higgins District 4
Bruce King District 4
Larry Lepore District 2
Roxann Lewis District 4
Robin McCoy District 4
Mary Ann McMillan District 3
Ken Peek District 4
Kristy Peixoto District 4
Linda Ramsay District 2
Greg Rau District 4
Bill Vandenburgh District 2
Rex Warren District 2
Ron Taylor (former member) District 4
Thomas Van Voorhis (former member) District 4
Staff to the Task Force
Sharon Gosselin Public Works Agency
Liz McElligott Community Development Agency
Alex Amoroso Formerly with CDA
Diamera Bach Formerly with PWA
Carla Schultheis Formerly with PWA
Tami Turpin Formerly with PWA



A special thanks to the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District for the use of their meeting room.




TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

Background

Process

Additional Relevant Regulations

Description of the Watershed

INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE

Recommendations Not Specific to the Watercourse Ordinance

Recommendations for Ordinance Implementation

Recommendations for Determination of Creek Setbacks

Recommendations for Development within Creek Setbacks

Table 1 - Findings Required to Grant a Permit for Development within a Creek Setback

Recommendations for Property Owners’ Rights and Responsibilities

Recommendations for Grading Related to Creeks

Recommendations for Stormwater Management and Discharge Control

PROCESS FOR COMPLETION OF AMENDMENTS TO THE WATERCOURSE PROTECTION ORDINANCE

ATTACHMENTS

A. Alameda County Watercourse Protection Ordinance

B. Minority Report by Rex Warren (added October 3, 2011)



San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force
Final Recommendations
(June 27, 2011)



INTRODUCTION

San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force Mission Statement

To preserve and enhance our San Lorenzo Creek watershed by proposing policy and guidelines as well as ordinance revisions and integration in an effort to control flooding, manage storm water runoff, rehabilitate and restore our creeks system, protect our biological resources and ultimately improve water quality and the quality of life for the residents of Alameda County.


Background

On March 27, 2007, the Board of Supervisors appointed fifteen members and three alternates to the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force and directed the Task Force to identify and address the community’s concerns regarding development projects that have the potential to degrade the quality of creeks and their riparian corridors within the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed. Task Force members represented a diverse cross-section of the community; including homeowners, environmentalists, agriculturalists, and business owners. The Task Force met regularly from June of 2007 to December of 2010 and was staffed jointly by the County Public Works Agency and the County Community Development Agency.


Process

The Creek Task Force identified five key topics of concern: creek setbacks, development within creek setbacks, rights and responsibilities of creek-side property owners, grading related to creeks, and stormwater management and discharge control. For each of these key areas, the Task Force developed recommendations that are intended to serve as the basis for revision by County staff of the existing County Watercourse Protection Ordinance (see Attachment A). The Task Force formed a work group for each of the five topic areas. These work groups were responsible for preparing for each topic in advance of consideration by the full Task Force by framing the issues; gathering data; and identifying resources, relevant agencies, and potential speakers. The Task Force members composed the following question in order to frame their discussions:

Does there exist an Alameda County ordinance that provides sufficient requirements to regulate development and provide enforcement so as to protect aquatic and riparian resources in creeks and culverts in the San Lorenzo Creek watershed; and is it being implemented effectively?

The Task Force identified the following objective for their effort:

Develop recommendations for a comprehensive watercourse ordinance that protects the aquatic and riparian resources of the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed.

To the extent feasible, the Task Force reached decisions by consensus. When a consensus could not be reached, decisions were made by majority vote with the understanding that dissenting members could choose to prepare a minority report.


Additional Relevant Regulations

Other County ordinances, in addition to the County Watercourse Protection Ordinance, may apply to development and other types of activities in or near a watercourse. These ordinances include the Grading Ordinance, Stormwater Management and Discharge Control Ordinance, and Flood Control Ordinance.

State and/or federal permits may also be required for work in or near a watercourse. These agencies are listed in this paragraph, and some permits are summarized in subsequent paragraphs. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFRWQCB), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are the three main permitting agencies. In some cases, other agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) may also have some oversight authority.

Section 1600 et seq of the California Fish and Game Code requires that for any work that will: “1. substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of a river, stream, or lake; 2. substantially change the bed, channel, or bank of a river, stream, or lake; 3. use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of a river, stream, or lake; and/or 4. deposit or dispose of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream, or lake,” the project proponent must enter into a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement with CDFG.

The SFRWQCB issues permits for activities in waters of the State under the authority of both federal and State laws. For projects that impact waters of the U.S., the SFRWQCB issues Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certifications which certify that the federal permit will not violate State water quality standards. Most certifications have additional requirements beyond those imposed by the federal permits. For activities involving the discharge of “fill” (e.g., outfall, bridges, riprap, abutments, piers, retaining walls, etc.) to waters of the State, the SFRWQCB issues Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs), under the authority of the State’s Porter Cologne Water Quality Act. Every certification issued by the RWQCB is issued concurrently with WDRs. Projects that are outside of federal jurisdiction, receive only WDRs.

A permit from the Corps of Engineers is required in order to locate a structure or discharge dredged or fill material, in waters or navigable waters of the United States. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States without a permit from the Corps.


Description of the Watershed

The San Lorenzo Creek Watershed is made up of many smaller subwatersheds that drain a nearly 50 square mile area of western Alameda County into the Bay. Rain that falls in these subwatersheds makes its way into many creeks that eventually flow into San Lorenzo Creek. The watershed begins north of Castro Valley near the County’s border with Contra Costa County, and in the hills between the urban area of Castro Valley and the City of Dublin. From there, it runs through the unincorporated communities of Castro Valley, Fairview, Cherryland, Ashland and San Lorenzo (see map on page 4). While the watershed includes portions of the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro, this report and the recommendations of the Creek Task Force apply only to the Unincorporated County.


Upper San Lorenzo Creek Watershed

The upper watershed consists of 37 square miles generally known as the Castro Valley Canyonlands. This rural area is primarily used for grazing cattle and horses. The subwatersheds of Bolinas Creek, Crow Creek, Cull Creek, Eden Creek, Hollis Creek, Norris Creek, Palomares Creek, and Upper San Lorenzo Creek comprise the upper watershed. These creeks are, for the most part, in their natural state and provide good quality riparian habitat. The steep slopes and unstable soils of the canyonlands can result in severe erosion problems in some areas.


Middle San Lorenzo Creek Watershed

The middle watershed encompasses nearly 10 square miles and is more developed and less pristine than the upper watershed. Four creeks are included in the middle watershed: Chabot Creek, Castro Valley Creek, San Lorenzo Creek from Don Castro Reservoir to Foothill Boulevard, and Sulphur Creek. These creeks are a highly fragmented combination of natural creeks, culverts, and concrete channels that run through a mix of suburban density housing and more rural properties. The exception is San Lorenzo Creek which is generally intact but confined by urban encroachment.


Lower San Lorenzo Creek Watershed

The lower watershed extends from Foothill Boulevard to the Bay and is highly urbanized. Development in the area includes single-family homes and apartment buildings, as well as a variety of commercial uses. San Lorenzo Creek flows in engineered channels through this entire reach, with little or no riparian habitat present.



Map of San Lorenzo Creek watershed (page 4) omitted here.


INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS

Early on, Task Force members agreed that the current Watercourse Protection Ordinance could be implemented more effectively in advance of amending the existing ordinance language if clear interpretation of the ordinance language was provided and if procedures for processing development applications were modified to require that more information be provided at the time of application. On February 27, 2008, the Task Force presented a memo to the Board of Supervisors’ Unincorporated Services Committee that contained the following list of concerns regarding implementation of the existing County Watercourse Protection Ordinance:

In the February 27, 2008 memo, the Task Force recommended that County staff take the following actions to address these concerns:

In response to the Task Force’s memo, County staff changed the procedure for accepting and processing applications for development on parcels adjacent to creeks. Previously, applicants were required to delineate the creek setback on plans for Tentative Maps, but not for other types of development applications or for over-the-counter plan checks, although the application review process still addressed creek-related issues on the property. The Planning Department now requires that creek setbacks be delineated on plans for all development applications and plan checks for property having an on-site or adjacent creek. The Public Works Agency requested that applicants provide accurate creek cross-sections every 20' or less, site topography, and that riparian habitat be delineated. Planners at the zoning counter confirm the existence and location of the creek on the property, and refer plan checks to the Public Works Agency for approval of the creek setback before signing off on plans. Development review applications have always been referred to Public Works as part of the application review process. Zoning Counter handouts have been revised to inform the public of the need to include the creek setback on plans. Applicants will also be informed of this requirement at the pre-application meetings for development applications.


RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE

Recommendations Not Specific to the Watercourse Ordinance

In the process of developing recommendations for amendments to the watercourse ordinance, some important issues were raised that do not apply directly to the content of the ordinance itself. However, because these issues are closely related to the function and implementation of the ordinance, Task Force members feel that it is important that these issues be addressed.

A significant concern is the lack of information that is available about the watercourses within the watershed and properties adjacent to them. The Task Force feels that this lack of information limited their ability to carry out their task and also limits the County’s ability to implement the ordinance effectively. Another related concern raised by the group is the lack of an overall vision for the protection of the watershed and its watercourses. Given the complex variety of land uses and types of watercourses within the watershed, the Task Force concluded that a comprehensive watershed master plan is needed to adequately protect these resources into the future.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Ordinance Implementation

Several issues raised by Task Force members had to do with how the existing Watercourse Protection Ordinance is implemented. The definition of “watercourse” in the existing ordinance states in part: "Watercourse means any conduit or appurtenant structure or any natural or man- made channel through which water flows continuously or intermittently in a definite direction and course or which is used for the holding, delay or storage of water.” A primary concern of the group is that it has been the practice of the County to not apply the setback requirement in the ordinance to engineered flood control channels. It is the position of the Task Force that by not requiring a minimum setback from engineered channels, the County is limiting the potential for restoration of these man-made channels to a natural state in the future. While recognizing that naturalizing every engineered channel in the watershed is not a realistic goal, the Task Force believes that opportunities to naturalize and day-light creeks should be preserved to the extent feasible, while still protecting public health and safety and respecting the rights of property owners.

The definition of “watercourse” in the existing ordinance also states: “Natural channels shall generally be limited to those designated by a solid line or dash and three dots as shown in blue on the most recent U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute series of topographic maps. At the discretion of the director of public works, the definition of natural channel may be limited to those channels having a watershed area of fifty (50) acres or more, and this definition will be commonly used in the administration of this chapter except for those cases in which the director of public works determines that the definition must be extended to a natural channel with a watershed area smaller than fifty (50) acres in order to prevent a condition which is a menace to life and limb, endangers property, is a hazard to public safety, adversely affects the safety, use or serviceability of adjacent property, public way or drainage channel, or could adversely affect the water quality of any water body or watercourse were the definition not extended to a particular natural channel with a watershed area below fifty (50) acres.” According to USGS map definitions, “solid lines … as shown in blue” represent perennial streams and “a dash and three dots as shown in blue” represent intermittent streams. While the “watercourse” definition in the existing ordinance does not explicitly preclude applying the ordinance to ephemeral streams, which tend to be smaller and flow less frequently than perennial or intermittent streams, it allows Public Works staff broad discretion in determining the watercourses to which a setback should be applied. In practice, the ordinance is not applied to ephemeral streams.

Recognizing that ephemeral streams are an important part of the watershed system as they feed into, and therefore affect, the larger intermittent and perennial streams, Task Force members agreed that a definition should be added to the ordinance for ephemeral streams and that the ordinance should apply to these watercourses as well. One member abstained from the vote on the ephemeral stream definition due to concerns that the proposed definition is too vague and applying the watercourse ordinance to ephemeral streams could place unreasonable restrictions on development and maintenance activities, particularly in rural areas. Further discussion of setbacks from ephemeral streams is included under “Recommendations for Determination of Creek Setbacks” below.

Section 13.12.320 of the existing watercourse ordinance contains three diagrams of watercourse cross-sections to illustrate how watercourse setbacks are determined under different circumstances (see Attachment A). According to Public Works Agency staff, recently adopted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations have made the second and third diagrams obsolete. The remaining diagram shows how the 2:1 slope is applied to a natural watercourse to determine top of bank, the point from which the setback is measured. Task Force members reviewed the diagram and recommend that it be revised to better define the terms used and to clarify how the measurements are done. For example, how is the point from which the measurement of the 2:1 slope starts determined? The Task Force also recommends that a second diagram be developed to illustrate application of the setback requirement to an engineered channel.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Determination of Creek Setbacks

The existing watercourse ordinance establishes a minimum setback of 2:1 + 20’. The setback is measured from the “top of bank,” which is either the point where the slope of the bank of an open channel approaches the horizontal or, if the bank is steeper than a 2:1 slope (two feet of horizontal distance for every foot of vertical distance), the point at which a line determined by calculating a 2:1 slope from the toe of the bank intersects the adjacent ground. An important issue for the Task Force was that the County tends to require the 2:1 + 20’ minimum setback for developments adjacent to watercourses, and rarely requires a setback that is greater than the minimum. Generally, the group felt that the County does not adequately evaluate circumstances in which the setback should be greater than the minimum.

Consideration of what constitutes an adequate watercourse setback comprised the majority of the Task Force’s discussions. The group began with a general discussion of setbacks, but recognized the need to separate consideration of the urban and rural areas, given the differences in physical characteristics, the type of development allowed, and the issues that apply in these areas. The discussion of setbacks within the urban area was further broken down by type of watercourse: engineered channel, mixed urban (a mix of engineered channels, culverts, and natural creeks), and natural creeks.

The group concluded that no single setback requirement is appropriate for all types of watercourses, but the question of how to determine an appropriate setback is difficult to answer since it depends a great deal on site-specific conditions. After much discussion, Task Force members agreed to maintain the current 2:1 + 20’ minimum setback for engineered channels and for natural perennial or intermittent streams. They also developed a list of seven criteria to be used on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the setback should be greater than the minimum setback. While recognizing the importance of protecting life and property, these criteria also take into consideration factors such as preservation of riparian habitat and water quality. The intent is for County staff to develop a creek classification system through which setbacks are determined based on the type of watercourse and the physical characteristics of the watercourse.

As noted above, the Task Force agreed to recommend that setbacks be required for ephemeral streams in both the urban and rural areas. Members also agreed that there should be no minimum setback for ephemeral streams, but that an appropriate setback should be determined based on the same seven criteria recommended for the determination of a setback greater than twenty feet for other types of watercourses.

The setback requirements in the current watercourse ordinance, which are generally applied only to natural perennial and intermittent streams, are required for all structures constructed in both the urban and rural areas. There was disagreement among the Task Force members as to whether the recommended requirement for setbacks from ephemeral streams should be applied to agricultural structures such as barns and sheds. The Task Force agreed that placement of all types of structures in rural areas over ephemeral streams should be avoided but allowed when necessary for the reasonable enjoyment of the property as presented in Table 1. The Task Force agreed that requiring setbacks from ephemeral streams in all cases could place a burden on agriculture by sometimes making the siting of agricultural buildings difficult in the canyonlands. Protection for ephemeral and all stream types is also provided by other regulations and programs such as the Grading Ordinance and the California Department of Fish and Game which requires Streambed Alteration Agreements to control stream modifications such as rechanneling and diverting streams, stabilizing banks, implementing flood control projects, stream crossings, and diverting water.

Section 13.12.190 of the existing Watercourse Ordinance exempts agricultural operations from the provisions of the ordinance, “as long as these activities do not significantly pollute or damage watercourses or cause excessive erosion of banks and deposition of sediments in watercourses thereby requiring abatement measures and imposing cost burdens on the district and its taxpayers.” Section 13.12.030 of the existing ordinance defines “agricultural operation" as “any land-related activity for the purpose of cultivating or raising plants or animals or conserving or protecting lands for such purposes when conducted on agriculturally zoned lands, and is not surface mining or borrow pit operations nor preparation for construction or construction of any structure for human occupancy.”

A point of consensus that came out of discussions about the rural areas was that Task Force members support agriculture in the watershed and do not want to burden agricultural operations with restrictions that might threaten their ability to continue. The group agreed that the exemption for agricultural operations that is in the current watercourse ordinance should be maintained. There was some concern among members of the group that, if not managed properly, agricultural operations may have a negative impact on creeks in the rural area, and ultimately on downstream watercourses as well. Therefore, the Task Force recommends that the County work to educate property owners in the rural area about best management practices and encourage them to work with organizations such as the Alameda County Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect and enhance the creeks on their property.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Development within Creek Setbacks

Section 13.12.310 of the watercourse ordinance gives the Director of Public Works the authority to grant a permit for limited development within a watercourse setback under certain circumstances. Section 13.12.090 of the ordinance establishes a procedure for consideration of the permit. The feeling among the Task Force members was that the current process gives too much authority to one individual without providing for adequate public notification and involvement in the decision-making process, resulting in a process that lacks transparency. There was also concern that the existing ordinance does not specify factors that should be taken into consideration in the Director of Public Works’ decision. The Task Force recommends that this process be revised so that the decision-making authority is shared by the Public Works Agency and the Planning Department, that a public notification process be included, and that a public hearing be held to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the permit application before a decision is made.

Recognizing that there may be circumstances in which it would be appropriate to allow certain types of development within a creek setback when no other alternative exists, the Task Force considered what types of development might be allowed. Rather than create a list of all types of development that could be permitted, the group developed two sets of findings, one for public uses such as trails and one for private uses (see Table 1 on page 15). The Task Force recommends that the County be required to make these findings before development within a creek setback can be approved to ensure that factors of concern to the group are taken into consideration in the decision-making process.


TABLE 1

Findings Required to Grant a Permit for Development within a Creek Setback


In order to grant a permit for development within the designated creek setback, the decision-making entity must make EITHER ALL of the findings from List A OR ALL of the findings from List B. To the extent feasible, in cases where the findings on List A can be made, consideration must also be given to all of the Findings on List B.

List A – Public Improvements


1. The proposed public improvement is necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants of the subject parcel and/or the surrounding area, including upstream and downstream properties; or the proposed public improvement will serve the public good and will be accessible to the general public.

2. Alternatives to the proposed development were considered and no physically and economically viable alternative to the proposed development that does not involve development within the creek setback was found.

3. The proposed development will not create a hazard to people or structures either on the subject property or on properties upstream or downstream.

4. The proposed development will not result in the removal or degradation of significant in-stream or riparian corridor habitat, nor will it harm the health of the aquatic and riparian habitat and function in the creek system.

List B – Private Development


1. The proposed development is necessary for the subject property owner’s reasonable enjoyment of the property, as otherwise allowed under County ordinances.

2. Alternatives to the proposed development were considered and no physically and economically viable alternative to the proposed development that does not involve development within the creek setback was found.

3. The proposed development will not create a hazard to people or structures either on the subject property or on properties upstream or downstream.

4. The proposed development will not create, exacerbate, or prevent the abatement of erosion and bank de- stabilization problems either on the subject property or on properties upstream or downstream.

5. The proposed development will not increase stormwater runoff into the watercourse. Where feasible, pervious surfaces will be used in place of impervious pavement.

6. The proposed development will not degrade the water quality of the watercourse through the disposal or deposition of oils, chemicals, poisons, or trash; or through increased sedimentation and particulates from disturbed soils either on the subject property or on properties upstream or downstream.

7. The proposed development will not result in the removal or degradation of significant in-stream or riparian corridor habitat, nor will it harm the health of the aquatic and riparian habitat and function in the creek system.

8. The proposed development will not further impede the maintenance or repair of the watercourse or related structures either on the subject property or on properties upstream or downstream.



Task Force members recognize that some existing buildings are currently legally non- conforming and additional existing buildings may no longer conform to the creek setback requirements in the watercourse ordinance if their recommendations are implemented. The group was concerned about protecting a property owners’ ability to rebuild an existing building in the event that it is damaged or destroyed. The Task Force recommends that if an existing structure that would not be consistent with the watercourse ordinance, as it is proposed to be amended, is damaged to the extent that the cost of restoring the damaged portion does not exceed 75 percent of the cost of replacing the entire structure, that the structure be allowed to be rebuilt as it was in its original location. If the structure is more severely damaged or destroyed, the group recommends that every effort be made to bring the replacement structure into conformance with the revised ordinance. In order to facilitate this goal, the Task Force recommends that the zoning ordinance be amended to allow for reductions in zoning setbacks to allow the replacement structure to be relocated on the parcel to accommodate the watercourse setback. The group felt that this approach balances the objective of watercourse protection and a property owner’s ability to continue to use their property.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Property Owners’ Rights and Responsibilities

Section 13.12.060 of the watercourse ordinance states: “Every person owning property through which a watercourse passes, or said person's lessee or tenant, shall keep and maintain that part of the watercourse within said property reasonably free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation and other obstacles which would pollute, contaminate or significantly retard the flow of water through the watercourse; shall maintain existing privately owned structures within or adjacent to a watercourse, so that such structures will not become a hazard to the use, function or physical integrity of the watercourse; and shall not remove healthy bank vegetation beyond that actually necessary for said maintenance or other maintenance specified in Section 13.12.190C of this chapter, nor remove said vegetation in such a manner as to increase the vulnerability of the watercourse to erosion.” Many of the Task Force members own property adjacent to a creek within the watershed. The general feeling within the group was that the County does not provide sufficient information about the individual property owner’s responsibilities for maintaining the creek or adequate guidance about how to perform this maintenance, or adequate support to accomplish these tasks.

The County Public Works Agency has prepared a document titled “Creek Care, A Guide for Residents in the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed.” This booklet includes general information about watersheds and creeks, and provides advice for watershed residents about how to maintain the health of the creeks in the watershed. The Task Force believed that the County’s creek care guide could be expanded to provide more specific information for property owners and it should be made more widely available. It was also suggested that the County consolidate all information about the rights and responsibilities of property owners and the responsibilities of the County, as well as restrictions on uses, activities, and structures near watercourses, in one ordinance or similar mechanism that is separate from the watercourse ordinance, so that is easily accessible to the public.

There was also concern among the Task Force members that the County does not provide the same level of maintenance in and around creeks that it had in the past, placing more responsibility on the property owner for this work. The group recommends that the County seek funding to restore the previous level of maintenance.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Grading Related to Creeks

Early in the process, Task Force members brought to the table certain issues of concern pertaining to grading. Members expressed concern about properties being graded and left undeveloped for extended periods of time. Erosion control measures often fail or are not always in place, resulting in erosion of creek banks and deposition of silt into local creeks.

Other concerns included past and current projects for which a grading permit should have been obtained, but work begins without application for a permit, and the permit is applied for after the construction, the permit is never obtained, or the permit is granted regardless of the violation. There exists a mentality that it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. Consequences for violations are inadequate to deter non-compliance.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


Recommendations for Stormwater Management and Discharge Control

The Task Force recognizes that the County has a new Stormwater Municipal Regional Permit and that this permit outlines the County’s responsibilities and compliance measures. One area of concern in the new permit is the County’s responsibility to inspect and enforce the maintenance of stormwater treatment facilities that are more readily required as part of construction projects.

The Task Force makes the following recommendations:


PROCESSES FOR COMPLETING THE TASK FORCE REPORT
AND AMENDING THE WATERCOURSE PROTECTION ORDINANCE

The draft recommendations report was presented at public meetings before the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, the District 4 Agricultural Committee, the County Agricultural Advisory Committee, and the Board of Supervisors’ Unincorporated Services Committee. The Task Force has made revisions to the draft recommendations based on public comments received at these meetings; and will ask the Planning Commission for their recommendation before the full Board of Supervisors is asked to accept the report and direct Public Works staff to amend the Watercourse Protection Ordinance in accord with the Task Force’s recommendations.



Attachment A

Alameda County Watercourse Protection Ordinance


[Omitted here]


Attachment B

Minority Report by Rex Warren


[Omitted here]