Response to City Council Referral Regarding a Possible Wetlands Mitigation Bank at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Elizabeth D. Warmerdam, Interim City Manager
Re: Response to City Council Referral Regarding a Possible Wetlands Mitigation Bank at Alameda Point
On January 21, 2015, the City Council directed City staff to research the concept of implementing a wetlands mitigation bank at Alameda Point, including engaging in discussions with relevant state agencies and mitigation banking consultants. In response to the direction provided by the City Council, the following is a summary description of wetlands mitigation banks, their creation procedures, partnership structures, revenue potential, and implementation feasibility at Alameda Point. This research and analysis was performed by City staff in consultation with a wetlands mitigation bank developer, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the City's environmental consultant and legal counsel.
As property is developed along the coastline of San Francisco Bay, regulatory agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and the CDFW have the jurisdiction to require developers - both public and private - to mitigate any loss of wetlands, in this case tidal wetlands. (For the purposes of mitigation banking, tidal wetlands are defined as areas that are inundated by water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support vegetation that is specifically adapted to thrive in saturated soil conditions.) Whereas in the past, permitting agencies required that developments be designed to completely avoid negative impacts on wetlands, a currently popular solution is to allow developers or other entities affecting wetlands, to create wetlands elsewhere along the Bay's coastline i...Click here for full text