SodaCanyonRoad | Day of action on watersheds: Sept 15th
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Day of action on watersheds: Sept 15th


Jim Wilson | Sep 13, 2015 on: Watershed Issues

Dear Defenders of East Napa Watersheds, and all supporters of healthy municipal watersheds,

Please join us Tuesday, September 15, for a day of action in support of the City's call for greater protections in its sensitive municipal watersheds.  We will be holding signs and speaking during public comment. 

These protections have to come from the County, ultimately by enhancing protections by ordinance.  Our more immediate purpose is to make sure the county is aware that the City is strongly opposed to issuing discretionary permits that will result in so much new pollution in Milliken, that $20MM in new infrastructure would be needed to protect Napa citizens from it.  Our message is, THAT IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE DO NOT GIVE PERMISSION. 

Note yesterday's Register report of unsafe drinking water being found in downtown Napa taps.  Milliken's water, according to Eldredge, is by far the City's best water, needing just a "dab" of polymer.  Will we allow it to be destroyed?

Background:  Hall wants to strip 507 acres of native vegetation to net 356 acres of wine grapes, much of it in the Milliken Reservoir headwaters.  We met with Council member Scott Sedgley in June, spoke during public comment at City Council meetings in favor of better protections, got an agenda item for a staff report on the condition of Napa's two municipal watersheds (Hennessey and Milliken).  At the August 18 City Council meeting, the City Council unanimously approved of urgent action to be taken as per Water Division staff recommendations.  Since then, Joy Eldredge has reached out to David Morrison for assistance in implementing her recommendations for strengthening watershed protections. 

Our Tuesday action is for city and county residents to connect this process to the County Supervisors and to make sure they are aware of the City's urgent need of better protection of its municipal watersheds.  It is the BOS who will be hearing our appeals on WALT and Kongsgaard vineyard conversions.  We want them to vote NO against polluters, and YES in favor of healthy people and healthy water supply. 

9:00 AM - Board of Supervisors meeting - public comment in favor of urgently needed protections as per City staff report.  

3:30 PM - City Council meeting - public comment thanking council members for their unanimous support of staff recommendations.

6:30 PM - City Council meeting - same as 3:30 meeting - try to make one or the other...  (at the 6:30 meeting trucked water is on the agenda.)
 
Below is additional information to support our case, if you like.

I hope you can join us!

Here is the Register article on the August 18 City Council meeting that decided in favor of strengthening watershed protections:
 
Here is an excerpt from David Morrison's letter (full letter here) to the Mayor before the August 18 City Council meeting:  
 
    Finally, the staff report concludes by suggesting several long-term implementation items, including the following:

      “Establish a revised County Ordinance to increase restrictions on development in sensitive watershed areas to limit the water quality impacts to the watershed.
      Require development in watershed to monitor the creek water quality upstream and downstream of the project runoff and submit data directly to the Water Division.
      Impose mitigation measures on development in sensitive watershed areas that is shown to degrade water quality in order to contribute to watershed protection investments and water treatment improvements.”

    As the Council knows, the City does not have the land use authority to unilaterally adopt ordinances, condition development, or impose mitigation measures on land use development within the unincorporated area.  However, the County remains open and available for inter-agency discussions on these topics and other areas of mutual interest that impact the broader community. 

Here are comments (from the video) in favor of improved watershed protections we can hang our hat on: 

    Sedgley: 
    I'd like to immediately start working with the County to strengthen their code and discuss appropriate zoning for municipal watersheds.  We are justifiably concerned about our local source of water, and where are we going to go from here?  I support, agree with all of the speakers who mentioned this tonight except maybe with Mr. Reynolds, there might be a few things I disagree with his statements.  It's time we need to move ahead on this and we need to move forward quickly.

    Luros:
    The cumulative impacts of these projects are greatly impacting our community, and I agree with all of the short-term and long-term solutions that were presented tonight. 

    Mott:
    Our Water Department's done a great job over the years really managing our water supply and making sure we make smart critical moves to make sure we have a good water supply.  Part of that is what's being proposed here, and I think these are very prudent moves.  I'm fully supportive of the measures here, and we can talk about the long-term measures and their time frames. 

    Techel:  I was encouraged that we got a memo today from the Planning Director of the County.  And in this letter, he mentions he is open and available to have discussions on this topic.  We're going to need to work with the County, and we're going to have to marry what the City's interests are with the County's processes, because these processes are in the county.  I appreciate your report, I appreciate the different strategies you put out, and I encourage you to make a phone call tomorrow to say yeah, let's start the conversation going forward. 

    Sedgley:
    The issue of protecting our watersheds - I think we need to take a more proactive - a more aggressive - and I sincerely believe in working with the County and talking to the county and trying to convey to them this urgency in our watersheds, and in a greater sense the county's watersheds in their entirety.  I think a good way to do that is to create a resolution that says we are serious about this and let's get to work on this. 

    Techel:  The phone call tomorrow shows the urgency of how the Council feels about this.  That beats waiting two weeks for a resolution.

    Luros:
    I'm going to argue we're taking the urgent action here.  We're asking our expert what we should do right now and she's given us a list of things to do in the next couple of years.  And I think we should focus on doing these things instead of just saying how we feel [resolution].
     

 Here are the proposed long term solutions endorsed by Council from this city staff report:

    Hennessey and Milliken Watersheds

    Implement recommendations and update the Watershed Sanitary Survey as required every five years and review baseline data, identify changes to water quality, reasons for water quality changes and make recommendations for mitigating and restoring water quality.

    Establish a revised County Ordinance to increase restrictions on development in sensitive watershed areas to limit the water quality impacts to the watershed.  (emphasis mine)
     
    Update the Municipal Code to authorize financial penalties for violations of unauthorized watershed recreational uses.
    Require development in watershed to monitor the creek water quality upstream and downstream of the project runoff and submit data directly to the Water Division.

    Impose mitigation measures on development in sensitive watershed areas that is shown to degrade water quality in order to contribute to watershed protection investments and water treatment improvements.