Meeting Time: October 04, 2022 at 9:00am PDT

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    Laura Clein 6 months ago

    Not sure if this is meant for the Supervisors or the Clerk or IT...

    Just a quick note, this granicus system has been glitchy over the past couple of days. Both reading the agenda & sending comments have shown error messages multiple times where one has to repeatedly refresh to get it to work.

    Thank you , Laura & Marty Clein

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    Marnie Birger 6 months ago

    I support Hannah Nelson's memo: Clarification of Tree Removal Prohibition in 10A.17- Exceptions, Processes, Proof;
    Treatment of Shrub Removal.
    Thank you,
    Marnie Birger
    District 3 resident

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    Dee Pallesen 6 months ago

    Please accept the attached White Paper on Riparian Corridor and Wetland Protection in Mendocino County respectfully submitted by the Mendocino County Fish and Game Commission. We believe this is an important environmental issue that needs to be a priority of the Board of Supervisors.
    *The entire paper, including attachments, has been sent to the BOS email.

    Redhawk Pallesen, Mendocino County Fish and Game Commission Vice Chair

    WHITE PAPER: Development of a Mendocino County Riparian Corridor and Wetland Setback Ordinance

    TO: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
    FROM: Mendocino County Fish and Game Commission
    RE: Recommendation to Development Riparian Corridor and Wetland Setbacks

    A presentation was made to the Mendocino Fish and Game Commission (Commission) on July 19, 2022 informing the Commission that riparian corridors and wetlands throughout Mendocino County are threatened by development and encroachment. The purpose of this
    paper is to show that wetland and riparian protections, still lacking in Mendocino County, are embedded in the Mendocino County General Plan, the Ukiah Valley Area Plan (UVAP) and the Resources Management Plan. Mendocino County, however, is not adhering to or enforcing the
    details of the plan resulting in no protections for riparian corridors and wetlands with Mendocino County outside the coastal zone. The Commission offers this guidance document to demonstrate how this is detrimental to the preservation and protection of sensitive areas,
    habitats, wildlife movement corridors, fish and wildlife species including State and Federally listed species, directly affects water quality, and creates a potential liability for the County.
    The Commission requests the Board of Supervisors adopt riparian corridor and wetland protective measures and practices and enforce existing policies that require new development to protect the environment including the fish, wildlife, and native vegetation of Mendocino
    County. Riparian and wetland protection ordinances in neighboring counties, included as an attachment, offer different examples of ordinances and combining districts that protect these important resources. See Attachment A for an overview of neighboring counties’ riparian
    corridor and wetland setbacks.

    Riparian corridors, a greenbelt of vegetation that protect freshwater resources, are critical habitats for many threatened and endangered
    species in Northern California, as well as provide some of our most treasured areas for recreation and water quality protections in our human
    communities. Riparian vegetation protects streambanks from erosion and slow floodwaters along alluvial floodplain terraces, while allowing
    water to infiltrate into the soil, recharging groundwater and aquifers. Riparian areas provide critical food sources, habitat for nesting birds and large mammals and other wildlife, and are important wildlife migration(connectivity) corridors and often include rare plants and natural plant communities. Wetlands are lands transitional between uplands and waterways where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water (USACOE). Wetlands are important breeding habitat for many species of amphibians and provide habitat for elk and migrating birds. On a national, state-wide, and regional scale, wetland and riparian habitats have undergone substantial declines. Over the past 200 years, the contiguous 48 states have lost an estimated 53 percent of their original wetlands, with California losing the largest percentage (91 percent) (Dahl 1990). An estimated 93 to 98 percent of California’s and 75 percent of the North Coast’s riparian habitat has been converted to other land uses (Katibah 1984, Dawdy 1989).
    Threats to riparian corridors and wetlands include: catastrophic flood and fire, vegetation removal for property development, and the
    confinement and channelization of water courses, which results in decreased water quality and erosion. Working landscapes such as
    ranches, farms, and forests are subject to setbacks prescribed by the State through agricultural waivers and forest practice rules. See
    attachment B for State and Federal definitions and descriptions for wetlands and riparian.
    The following are just a few examples of recent problematic activities within the County, some of which were approved by the Mendocino County Planning and Building Services:
    1. A new septic system approved in a known flood zone of York Creek within 50 feet of the creek. (Boundary of Districts 1 and 5)
    2. Approved development in sensitive wetland and habitat area (for protected vegetation and an endangered species) in the Laytonville area. (District 3)
    3. A fuel spill into String Creek of approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel at an illegal cannabis operation’s fuel storage site. (District 3)
    4. Numerous permitted cannabis cultivation sites that have impacted local streams and wetlands.

    Summary of Existing Plans and Policies on Riparian and Wetland Protection in Mendocino County Outside of the Coastal Zone:
    The Mendocino County’s General Plan includes policies and identified action items to protect riparian corridors and wetlands, however, the created protective measures including ordinances have not been developed. The Commission recommends that policy language
    throughout the General Plan needs to include definitive direction to aid development, County approvals, and enforcement. Neighboring counties have achieved protection of these resources through either ordinances and/or combining districts. The development of a riparian corridor and wetland setback ordinance or combining district would codify policies into clear guidance for development and County permitting, review, and approvals.
    A. Mendocino County General Plan
    Wetlands and Waters of the United States
    Wetlands and waters of the United States are protected under Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act. They include freshwater and saltwater marshes, seasonal wetlands, lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. Wetlands are often the most ecologically productive portions of the landscape. Moreover, wetlands provide habitat for many special-status wildlife species, directly affect the habitat of most special status fish
    species, and provide habitat for some of the special-status plant species in Mendocino County. Wetlands and waters of the U.S. located within Mendocino County may be negatively affected by residential and commercial development and by agricultural and forest management practices. The rivers and streams in Mendocino County, and the wetlands and seasonal drainages that are tributaries to those rivers, are essential fish habitat. Land use activities in the county that affect the volume and quality of surface water runoff may consequently affect the value and production of fish habitat (Resources Management Element: 4-23).
    Water Resources Watershed Policies
    Policy RM-1: Protect stream corridors and associated riparian habitat.
    Action Item RM-1.1: Require adequate buffers for all projects potentially impacting stream corridors and/or their associated riparian habitat.
    Policy RM-74: Discretionary development shall be designed or conditioned to achieve no net loss of sensitive resources.
    Policy RM-77: Maintain resource diversity and integrity by protecting and enhancing continuous resource corridors compatible with adjacent uses through project design.
    Policy RM-78: Conserve native vegetation, critical habitats, and soil resources through education, technical and financial assistance, cooperative endeavors, best management practices, and soils and vegetation management plans for development and resource uses.
    Action Item RM-80.1: Consider adopting an ordinance for the regulation of vegetation removal.
    Policy RM-90: Conserve and enhance streamside (riparian) vegetation through development design and standards.
    Action Item RM-98.1: Support State and Federal measures to protect and enhance the freshwater and marine ecology through development process, such as:
    • Stream corridor protection and restoration.
    • Riparian vegetation protection and restoration.
    B. Ukiah Valley Area Plan
    GOAL OC1
    Maintain and enhance the area’s natural resources by balancing protection, conservation, replenishment and sustainable use.
    Policy OC 1.1 Protect the river corridor and riparian habitat while accommodating responsible development.
    OC1.1a River Corridor Planning Area Definition. Define the river planning corridor and extent of surrounding riparian areas within which proposed development will trigger design review, performance standard requirements and use of river design guidelines.
    Classify “Riparian Corridors” designated in the Open Space and Conservation Section as follows:
    • “Russian River Riparian Corridor” is the corridor adjacent to the main stem of the Russian River, excluding lands located within the urban land use categories or within the jurisdiction of a city. The corridor is 200 feet from the top of the higher bank on each
    side of the stream as determined by the County Department of Planning and Building Services.
    • “Other Riparian Corridors” are the corridors within other land use categories along the Russian River and the designated corridors along other rivers and streams. The corridor will be 50 feet from the top of the higher bank on each side of the stream as determined by the County Department of Planning and Building Services.
    • Establish a River Corridor Combining Zoning District. Rezone all lands within the River Corridor areas to this combining district.
    OC1.1b Stream Setbacks. Determine appropriate development setback distances from all perennial and intermittent streams, as shown on USGS topographic maps as of January 2011 (utilizing current ecological and scientific data) and specify setback requirements in the zoning code.
    OC1.1c Riparian System Management Plan. Develop, implement and maintain a Riparian System Management Plan and companion design guidelines that will include:
    • Identification of critical areas for preservation (through limited or prohibited development) and priority segments for restoration;
    • Strategies for restoration, maintenance and preservation;
    • Description of the specific functions for which each stream or stream reach will be managed (aquatic habitat preservation/enhancement, flood control, storm water management, groundwater recharge, recreation, etc.);
    • Identification of opportunities to cultivate and use native plant species that are culturally significant to local Native American Tribes in planned restoration projects;
    • Identification of potential projects and locations for public access and recreational greenways; and • Design guidelines for projects proposed within the defined river corridor planning area.

    OC1.1e Zoning Code. Update the zoning code to reflect findings, goals and guidelines specified in the river restoration and preservation plan and design guidelines.
    OC1.1g River and Stream Maintenance Education. Collaborate with the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District to develop public education materials and programs that balance invasive species removal with native plant restoration. Develop effective post-planting maintenance and retention of large, woody debris to maintain floodwater carrying capacity and critical habitat.
    OC1.1h River Corridor Uses. Develop and adopt regulations establishing standards applicable to River Corridors. Until the regulations and the final Stream Setbacks are adopted, require that land use and development comply with the following principles. Allow or consider allowing the following uses within any River Corridor area:
    • Streamside maintenance, fire fuel management, and restoration.
    • Livestock grazing.
    • Agricultural cultivation, but not within 100 feet of top of bank for the Russian River
    and 25 feet for Other Riparian Corridors.
    • Public projects, including water-dependent public recreational facilities.
    • Timber operations conducted in accordance with an approved timber harvest plan.
    • Mining operations conducted in accordance with the County Surface Mining regulations.
    • Road, street, and utility crossings.
    • Equipment turnaround and access roads associated with agricultural cultivation, provided that the affected area is the minimum necessary for these turnaround and access roads and that a minimum 25’ vegetative filter strip is provided and maintained between the affected area and the top of the bank.
    • Vegetation removal as part of an integrated pest management program administered by the Agricultural Commissioner. Prohibit, except as otherwise listed above, grading, vegetation removal, agricultural cultivation, structures, roads, utility lines and parking lots within any streamside conservation area. Consider an exception to this prohibition if:
    o It makes a lot unbuildable and if vegetation removal is minimized, or
    o The use involves only the maintenance, restoration, or minor expansion of an existing structure or other existing use, or
    o It can be clearly demonstrated through photographs or other information that the affected area has no substantial value for riparian functions, or o A conservation plan is approved that provides for the appropriate protection of the biotic resources, water quality, flood management, bank stability, groundwater recharge, and other applicable riparian functions.
    Policy OC1.2: Protect and maintain the Russian River Corridor channel elevation and banks.
    OC1.2a Performance Standards. Change applicable County Codes to require that new development follow performance standards to protect the river and tributaries from erosion, decrease sedimentation and degradation of water quality, increase water carrying capacity, and protect native vegetation and wildlife habitat.
    Commission Recommendations
    It is the Commission’s recommendation that the Board of Supervisors make it a priority to develop and adopt specific procedures to protect the
    County’s riparian and wetland zones including, but not limited to the following:
    ▪ Provide clear and strong direction to the Department of Planning and Building Services, and any other relevant County departments,
    to implement and enforce policies to protect the environment within the county;
    ▪ Review policies and procedures implemented by our neighboring counties to use as a model to ensure the timely implementation of environmental protections.
    ▪ Formalize policy language within the County’s General Plan to protect riparian and wetland zones throughout Mendocino County by developing a stream and wetland setback combining district or ordinance; and
    ▪ Consult with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure the County is adhering to state policies and procedures.

    The Commission further recommends that, as a County, stewardship of our resources, including water, wildlife, and natural plant communities, should be a top priority. The surrounding counties, including Humboldt, Lake, and Sonoma, have all established riparian and wetland
    protections and as we share responsibility for our riparian and wetland resources as a region, Mendocino County’s Board of Supervisors should take this opportunity to give direction and do the same.