City watersheds - 8/18/15 City Council update
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Jim Wilson | Aug 22, 2015

Here's an update on our City watershed protection efforts. A good cross section of the community presented to the City Council on Tuesday. Bottom line, we'll need a plan to continue to bring awareness to this issue and to request progress reports from the City and the County. Do you have ideas on how we can do this effectively?

Register article on Tuesday's City Council meeting (agenda item 14A here): What Yune doesn't say is that the other council members (Inman absent) wouldn't support a resolution proposed by Sedgley. I have the transcript if anyone needs to see it.

NVR: Napa seeks stronger oversight of reservoir areas

I spoke to Scott Sedgley Thursday. He said he had talked about better protections for the municipal watersheds with Pedroza and was preparing to talk to Dodd about it. He doesn't want it to take two years to get the ordinance revised. He's going to work on the BOS including Dillon. An initiative might be the solution. It would receive the support of most Napans. It's so obvious what Hall's business model is!

I also spoke to Joy Eldredge. She called the County at 08:13 on Wednesday to set up a staff meeting and hadn't heard back. She says her goal is to raise awareness. You folks are doing that a lot. It's interesting to see people speaking at every meeting. The passion is good to see. Scott said, Think of the AP, people were opposed to it. People will say NO to better protections for Milliken and Hennessey, it will not always be popular.

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

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.

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.

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.

Mike Reynolds read from the letter received from Morrison that day:
The County staff is evaluating the City's comments on both projects. With regards to the WALT Ranch, it's expected that the FEIR, including responses to the City's comments, will be available for public review around the end of October. I encourage the Council to defer discussion of any specifics regarding items of either pending proposal [WALT or Kongsgaard] until the County has had an opportunity to complete its analysis and formally respond to the City's concerns.

Reynolds went on to tell the Council that the project intends to reduce the sedimentation on the Milliken side by 43% over current levels.

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.

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 solutions endorsed by Council (from attachment):

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