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«A thesis submitted to the faculty of San Francisco State University In partial fulfillment of The requirements for The degree Master of Arts In ...»

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The plan consisted of three major components: a diversion structure at Adobe Bridge; a diversion pipeline traveling from the Adobe Bridge down Silvia Court, Bower Road, and San Pedro Terrace Road; and a new marsh west of the convalescent hospital where the pipeline would drain (Map 7) (Holmes 1990). The plan eliminated the north floodwall of the former Floodwall and Floodplain Plan, and although it was replaced with a lower earthen berm, the plan provided a compromise between the concerns of the residents for their backyards with the concerns of the Corps for a barrier to keep the water in the new wetlands or floodplain area (Hall 2003). The greatest advantage of the Marsh Diversion Plan was the lack of new structures in the streambed, due to the addition of the diversion pipe, thereby reducing the environmental impacts and likely eliminating the HEP mitigation requirements (Holmes 1990). Scott Holmes cited many other environmentally friendly benefits of the Marsh Diversion Plan, including water quality improvement in the stream due to the diversion of some runoff to the marsh, and

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returning to the creek to spawn (Holmes 1990).

The committee, city council, and many residents supported the new plan or alternative, so the city council asked the Corps to include the new alternative in the Section 205 flood control study (Curtis 1990a; SPFCC and City Council 1990). Many different meso- and micro-level elements provided their comments and analysis to Scott Holmes and the Corps, influencing them as they developed the details of the Marsh Diversion Alternative. In January 1991 the Corps advised city staff that based on its hydraulic analysis of the new plan, the Marsh Diversion Alternative was feasible with some design modifications (SPFCC 1991a). In April 1991 the USFWS responded positively to the plan; however, it did have a few initial concerns about preventing steelhead from entering the marsh area, maintaining a natural riparian habitat, and allowing for diversity of species in the design (Holmes 1991a). After the USFWS provided this feedback, Scott Holmes began working with biologist Dr. Peggy Fiedler to develop a preliminary marsh design, which would take into consideration the concerns expressed by the USFWS (Holmes 1991a). Many residents expressed their support of the Marsh Diversion Alternative, including homeowner Todd Greene (Curtis 1990b).

Although, the committee expected that residents along the route of the proposed diversion pipe might raise some concerns (SPFCC 1990b).

Although the Marsh Diversion Plan was receiving broad support, the city still needed to find funding for its half of the estimated $8.2 million for the project (Curtis

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 95

1991a; Curtis 1991b). Possible sources of funding available to the city included the California Department of Water Resources, which previously provided significant funding to local sponsors of federal projects (Curtis 1991a). City staff and the committee also proposed a special assessment district to help fund the project (SPFCC 1991b). The special assessment district would require micro-level floodplain residents to contribute toward the project for 10 to 15 years; the specific amount could be $300 or more per year depending upon any other funding the city provided (Curtis 1991b).

Residents rallied around the Marsh Diversion Plan, attending meetings and writing Letters to the Editor, and together with the committee and city staff called on the city council to provide a $300,000 loan to keep the project moving forward.

The city council approved the $300,000 loan and began pursuing a special assessment district (Larsen 1991). Although many residents supported the special assessment district, some were opposed to singling out the homeowners on the floodplain to pay for the project and asked that the entire city pay (Larroche 1991).

Undoubtedly partly as a result of the micro-level opposition to the special assessment district, the committee and Scott Holmes continued to pursue additional funding from meso-level sources, such as the State Water Resources Control Board, the Water Quality Board, the Coastal Conservancy and the Resources Agency of California (SPFCC 1991c; Curtis 1992; SPFCC 1992c; Holmes 1992d). City Manager Daniel Pincetich even asked State Senator Quentin Kopp and Assemblywoman Jackie Speier to

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 96

pressure the State Water Resources Control Board to increase its priority for funding the project (Pincetich 1992a; Pincetich 1992b).

In 1993 city staff officially contracted with L.C. Lee & Associates, an environmental restoration consulting firm that Peggy Fiedler had been working with, for the design of the stream and wetlands restoration (LCLA 1995). In choosing to contract with an environmental restoration firm, city staff (i.e. Scott Holmes – a microlevel element acting in a meso-level role) influenced the design of the project and further emphasized environmental restoration as part of the project. In fact, the primary goals of the project that LCLA designed for included flood control for Linda Mar, wetland restoration, and habitat enhancement for steelhead (LCLA 1995). These goals make it clear that the objectives of the project had broadened since the city proposed the committee’s goals in 1982 as finding a solution to the flood problem and the means to finance it. Now the goals of the project, as presented by LCLA, were to not only provide flood control in an environmentally friendly way, but also to restore habitat. For these restoration efforts the city and LCLA received a $100,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy in October 1993 (LCLA 1995). Committee member Patrick Hall later credited LCLA with enlightening the committee to the potential benefits of the project to fish and wildlife habitat, instead of just creating a floodplain (Hall 2003). Here the meso-level LCLA influenced the objectives of the project by influencing the meso-level committee.





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because the plan would result in a net increase of wetlands and riparian habitat and the project’s “methods support the Department’s mandate to protect, maintain, and enhance habitat values” (Anderson 1995). Patricia Anderson, Area Fishery Biologist with the CDFG, stated, “it is refreshing to be involved with flood control projects of this nature” (Anderson 1995).

In 1995 city staff and LCLA began addressing federal and state requirements (meso-level influences) surrounding any threatened or endangered species, which might be in the project area and have an impact on the project. They consulted with the USFWS and the CDFG on species to look for in the study area falling under the Endangered Species Act (LCLA 1995). The CDFG advised city staff to complete surveys of plants and animals with a special status, including “the San Francisco Garter Snake, Red-legged Frog, Western Pond Turtle, and Steelhead” (Anderson 1995). Steelhead were commonly found in San Pedro Creek, and Peggy Fiedler later discovered a Redlegged Frog in the study area during a survey, prompting additional requirements.

In designing the restoration plan LCLA developed a “hydrogeomorphic approach” relying on reference data they established for the region on wetland functions (LCLA 1995). The Endangered Species Act also influenced their design, which in their 1995 report LCLA noted would enhance the steelhead habitat, and make provisions for migratory waterfowl, the San Francisco Garter Snake (federally

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 98

endangered) and the California Red-Legged Frog (proposed endangered) as necessary (LCLA 1995).

In 1995 the Corps also began work on the required Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/S), a combined state EIR and federal EIS, for the preferred alternative, now called the Wetland Bypass Plan. The EIR/S study identifies impacts of the project on the environment, including water quality, air quality, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and public safety (USACE 1995). The study also allows the public to provide their feedback on the project (USACE 1995).

During the EIR/S process many different meso-level organizations as well as micro-level residents provided their comments on the project, further influencing the objectives and methods of the project. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided recommendations for addressing impacts to water resources, air quality, and natural habitat (Farrel 1995). The Historical Resources Information System noted a requirement to assess the area for historic and archaeological sites (Jordan 1995). The California Coastal Commission required that the EIR/S address the impacts of the project on the coastal zone and watershed and provide wetlands monitoring requirements (Delaplaine 1995; Muth 1996). The Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation provided their support of the project as a result of its environmental benefits (Larsen 1996a). The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Division supported the plan and

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 99

emphasized the importance of building a stable stream channel to protect the fish and wildlife (Wieting 1996).

After the USFWS expressed a concern in 1996 that it had not yet been consulted on the newly listed threatened California Red-legged Frog (Medlin 1996), the CDFG, the Corps, the city, and LCLA began to work with the USFWS on this issue to determine the impacts of the project on the red-legged frog. The USFWS would then detail any impacts on the red-legged frog that would need to be mitigated in a Coordination Act Report (CAR). The CAR uses the analysis from the HEP to determine mitigation measures required for a project (USACE and City 1998a).

The Corps and the city held public meetings in 1995 and 1996 as part of the EIR/S process where residents expressed many different concerns about the project.

The concerns of the micro-level residents included bank erosion, steelhead getting stuck in the wetlands after high water, mosquito problems due to standing water, alternative routes for the diversion pipeline, debris clogging the pipeline, and impact of the construction on residents - specifically safety issues, dust levels, access to the Linda Mar Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, property values, and other inconveniences (USACE and City 1998a, 1-2 to 1-3). Although city staff and the Corps’ representatives tried to minimize the residents’ concerns, most concerns related to the project design were incorporated into the EIR/S. City staff and the Corps also responded that the affects of construction on residents would be minimized as much as possible.

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the public meetings cited not only reducing the flood hazard, but also enhancing the steelhead habitat, creating wetlands, and increasing the aesthetics of the area (USACE and City 1996). These benefits fit with the Corps’ goals for 100-year flood protection and environmental restoration, as noted in the EIR/S (USACE and City 1996). This dramatic shift in the Corps’ policy to include restoration as a goal of a flood control project was partly the result of NEPA (meso-level element influenced by macro-level environmental movement), which increased awareness and consideration of environmental impacts at the Corps (Galal 2003). Although slow to get going since 1969, NEPA initiated change at the Corps by requiring projects to produce an EIS, mitigate for any destroyed habitat, and notify the public, who often got involved in the projects (Galal 2003). In addition, environmentalists (micro-level elements influenced by macro-level environmental movement) moving into the Corps helped shift the Corps’ policy (meso-level element), so that around 1990 the Corps’ projects started to become environmentally aware and incorporate restoration (Holmes 2003b). However, this shift toward restoration was not yet universal throughout the Corps. Specifically for the San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project, Holmes worked with the Corps for several years before a project manager from the Corps who was interested in a “restorative approach” to flood control was assigned to the project (Holmes 2003b). This provides another example of the potential impact of an individual on the meso-level element they represent, based on the individual’s values and goals. In the final detailed project report

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 101

the Corps’ objectives of the project were described as solving the flooding problem while maximizing economic benefits and minimizing any negative environmental impacts (USACE and City 1998a), while the city’s objectives also included restoring a rare tidally influenced wetland, improving steelhead habitat, and providing habitat beneficial to the threatened and endangered species in the area (USACE and City 1998a). The city’s objectives had also broadened greatly from the objectives first set forth for the postflood control committee to find an economically viable solution to the flood problem.

In January 1998 after over 12 years of planning, revisions, and more of the same, the Corps and the City of Pacifica published the final detailed project report and final EIR/S (USACE and City 1998a). The report identified the Wetland with Larger Bypass Culvert Plan, a variation of the Wetland Bypass Plan, as the recommended plan (Map 7).

The Corps estimated the cost of the plan at $12,166,000 (USACE and City 1998a).

The city’s and the committee’s attempts to find additional funding were ongoing throughout the planning process. The mayor called on U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) to obtain federal funds for the project (Larsen 1996a). Lantos testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, requesting $4.1 million for the project (Larsen 1996a). Shortly thereafter the project received $220,000 from federal sources (Larsen 1996b). In 1998 the committee sought a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy (Larsen 1998b). Finally by January 2000 the funding logistics for the project were resolved, with city staff (i.e. Scott

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 102

Holmes) expecting to fund the city’s portion through grants and sale of materials to the contractor (City of Pacifica 2000).



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