SCOPING MEETING: Large Habitat Restoration Order

October 22, 2019 @ 1:00 pm
Cal EPA Headquarters
1001 I Street Sacramento
CA 95814

The State Water Board proposes to develop a General Order establishing an authorization process to improve permitting efficiency for specific types of environmentally beneficial restoration activities statewide. Pursuant to CEQA, the State Water Board will be the Lead Agency and will prepare an EIR for the proposed General Order.

State Water Board staff will hold a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) scoping meeting on Tuesday, October 22, at 1pm to receive public input on the content and scope of an Environmental Impact Report that will be prepared to assess the potential environmental effects of a proposed project, Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification and Waste Discharge Requirements for Implementation of Large Habitat Restoration Projects Statewide (General Order).  Video and audio broadcast of the scoping meeting will be available.

The scoping meeting will include a brief presentation about the proposed General Order followed by public comments.  The State Water Board will accept both written and oral comments regarding scoping elements. Written comments may be submitted in accordance with the instructions set forth below by 12:00 p.m. noon on November 22, 2019.

This proposed General Order considers a variety of aquatic and riparian restoration types that take place throughout the State. The following proposed types of restoration are included:

1. Stream Crossing and Fish Passage Improvements – for upstream and downstream movement by fish and other species, and to improve functions of streams.
2. Small Dam, Tide Gate, Flood Gate, and Legacy Structure Removal – to improve fish and wildlife migration, tidal and freshwater circulation and flow, and water quality.
3. Bioengineered Bank Stabilization – to reduce fine sediment input, enhance aquatic and riparian habitat, and improve water quality.
4. Off-Channel/Side-Channel Habitat Restoration and Enhancement – to improve aquatic and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife and/or to restore hydrologic, hydraulic, and biogeochemical functions and processes of streams.
5. Water Conservation Projects – to reduce low-flow stream diversions, such as offstream storage tanks and ponds and necessary off-channel infrastructure.
6. Floodplain Restoration – to improve ecosystem function through hydrological connection between streams and floodplains, including levee breaching and removal, berm and dike setback breaching and removal, and hydraulic reconnection and revegetation.
7. Piling and Other In-Water Structure Removal – to improve water quality and aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife.
8. Non-native Invasive Species Removal and Native Plant Revegetation – to improve watershed functions, such as aquatic and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife.
9. Tidal, Subtidal, and Freshwater Wetland Establishment, Restoration, and Enhancement – to create or improve wetland ecological functions.
10. Stream and Riparian Habitat Establishment, Restoration, and Enhancement – to create or restore functions of streams and riparian areas.

Restoration projects must incorporate specified protection measures (as applicable), such as design guidelines or avoidance and minimization techniques, or other criteria into their project descriptions to qualify within the scope of the proposed General Order.