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A Plan to Get Savvy About Urban Watersheds. Dan Cloak, Dan Cloak Environmental Consulting Beau Goldie, Santa Clara Valley Water District Lorrie Gervin, City of Sunnyvale. The Santa Clara Basin. Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative. Started in 1996 Stakeholders include:

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a plan to get savvy about urban watersheds

A Plan to Get Savvy About Urban Watersheds

Dan Cloak, Dan Cloak Environmental Consulting

Beau Goldie, Santa Clara Valley Water District

Lorrie Gervin, City of Sunnyvale

santa clara basin watershed management initiative
Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative
  • Started in 1996
  • Stakeholders include:
    • USEPA & Regional Water Quality Control Board
    • State and Federal Resource Agencies
    • Cities, Towns & County
    • Santa Clara Valley Water District
    • Valley Transportation Authority
    • Environmental Advocates
    • Citizens Groups
    • Business Interests
watershed planning process
Watershed Planning Process
  • Watershed Characteristics Report
  • Pilot Watershed Assessments
  • A Vision for Our Watershed
  • Subgroups created 112 Action Worksheets
  • Action Plan Technical Advisory Group
    • Which of these actions are being done now?
watershed action plan
Watershed Action Plan
  • For each of seven issues:
    • An aspect of the watershed vision
    • Natural & social history of environmental issue
    • Existing law & regulation
    • Status of implementation
    • Watershed management objectives

1. Stream Protection & Restoration

  • Vision: Support salmon & steelhead
  • - Restore seasonal flows and overbanking
  • - Restore and maintain in-stream habitat
  • History: Dams, flow diversions, channelization
  • Science: River continuum & stream equilibrium
  • Policy: Flows, Permits, Sediment TMDLs
  • Status: Stewardship added to District mission
  • Objective: Integrate flood protection & restoration
  • - Commit to long-term Adaptive Management

2. Floodplain & Riparian Planning

Vision: Continuous riparian corridors & floodplains

- For flood management, habitat, parks, trails

History & Science: Ideas about flood control and floodplain management (Gilbert White, 1942)

- Landscape ecology & riparian corridors

Policies: NFIP, City & District, Trails Plan

Objective: Integrated planning process

  • Shared sense of place

3. Conserving Biodiversity

Vision: Comprehensive plan to preserve biodiversity

(variety of habitats, organisms, & genetic makeup)

Also provide for jobs & housing

History: Open space preservation along with sprawl

Science: What is critical habitat?

Policy: ESA, HCPs, NCCPs

Status: HCP/NCCP in Santa Clara County

Objective: Creation & management of habitat reserves


3. Conserving Biodiversity in Wetlands

Status: Acquisition of 15,000 additional acres

- Expand the SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Objective: Facilitate restoration of salt ponds, maintain flood protection, protect water quality

- Comprehensive planning process


4. General Plans & Specific Area Plans

Vision: Protected corridors with intense development

History: Modernism + incentives + economics = Sprawl

Policies: California General Plan Law, “Smart Growth”

Objective: Incorporate vision into General Plans

- Reach out to “smart growth” advocates

- Plan for designation & acquisition of habitat corridors


5. Site Development & Drainage

Vision: Retrofitted drainage systems protect streams

Science: Imperviousness & effects on streams

- Site and drainage design solutions

History: Cities’ slow changes in design standards

Policy: Amended municipal stormwater permit

Objective: Assist implementation of permit & coordinate with other aspects of vision


6. Assessments, TMDLs, & Discharge Permits

Vision: Waters fishable, swimmable, without pollution

History: Success in cleaning up wastewater discharges

- New issues: Flow diversions, exotic species, nonpoint

Science: Sources, fate, transport, effects of each pollutant

Policies: Stormwater discharge permit, TMDLs

Status: Site-specific objectives for Cu & Ni

- TMDLs for Hg, PCBs, CHCs, diazinon, dioxins/furans

- Watch list for trash, pathogens, sediment/siltation, PBDEs, EDCs

Objective: Improve TMDL process, consensus-based discharge permits


7. Water Conservation & Recycling

Vision: Rely primarily on local sources, maximize conservation & recycling, balance with other needs

History: Overpumping, subsidence, dams & diversions, water imports, salt marsh conversion

Policy: California conservation policy

- Central Valley Improvement Act

- Flow cap on wastewater discharge

Status: 10% of wastewater flow is recycled

Objective: Use state-mandated Integrated Water Resource Planning to gauge & focus water conservation & recycling

a watershed plan is all about
A Watershed Plan is All About…
  • A shared vision of the future
  • Collective discovery and learning
    • About watershed science
    • About environmental policy & regulation
  • Aligning, coordinating & integrating existing environmental protection policies & programs
  • Creating an effective long-term institutionfor adaptive management of watersheds
watershed initiative s future role
Watershed Initiative’s Future Role
  • Facilitate stakeholder groups
    • Genuine collaboration
    • Fresh technical & policy perspectives
  • Recommend solutions to policy-makers
    • Bring consensus to boards, managers, & funders
  • Educate and involve the public
    • Develop indicators
    • Issue reports