Chapter 18.58


18.58.010    Purpose

18.58.020    Applicability

18.58.030    Compliance with Federal and State Requirements

18.58.040    General Wetland Preservation and Enhancement Standards

18.58.050    Permit and Application Requirements

18.58.060    Limitations on Uses and Structures

18.58.070    Development Standards and Design Criteria

18.58.080    Prerequisites for Building or Grading Permit Issuance

18.58.010 - Purpose

This Chapter provides procedures and standards for identifying and protecting wetland resources, and for permitting wetland restoration, enhancement, and mitigation projects.

18.58.020 - Applicability

The standards of this Chapter apply to all lands within the City that support wetlands as identified through site- and project-specific environmental documents (i.e., in compliance with CEQA or NEPA), and/or delineated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under provisions of the Clean Water Act. The delineation of wetlands is subject to the procedures specified in the “Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands.” The standards of this Chapter do not apply to treatment wetlands (e.g., sewage treatment ponds) or drainage ways considered “other waters” under the Clean Water Act.

18.58.030 - Compliance with Federal and State Requirements

A.    A project proposed on a site with wetland resources shall comply with all applicable requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including but not limited to the preparation and filing with the Corps of any required Wetlands Management Plan.

B.    The delineation of wetland resources in compliance with Federal requirements shall occur prior to the filing of a land use, building, or grading permit application with the City. The wetlands delineation shall be used by the City in the environmental review of the proposed project in compliance with CEQA.

C.    The Review Authority shall require “no net loss” for wetland areas regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game. Coordination with these agencies at all levels of project review shall occur to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are adequately addressed.

18.58.040 - General Wetland Preservation and Enhancement Standards

The City may require new development to mitigate wetland loss in both regulated and non-regulated wetlands to achieve “no net loss” through any combination of the following, in order of desirability:

A.    Avoidance;

B.    Where avoidance is not feasible or desirable for resource protection, minimization of impacts on the resource shall be required;

C.    Compensation, including use of a mitigation banking program that provides the opportunity to mitigate impacts to rare, threatened, and endangered species and/or the habitat which supports these species in wetland and riparian areas;

D.    Any permitted development, grading, fill, excavation, or shading within a wetland shall provide for the mitigation of wetland loss at a replacement ratio of from 1:1 to 4:1, as determined by the Review Authority based on the value of the wetland established by the Initial Study, Environmental Impact Report, and/or the Wetland Management Plan prepared for the project, and shall ensure that there is no net loss of wetland functions and values; or

E.    Off-site mitigation of impacted wetlands may be considered where on-site mitigation is not possible. Off-site mitigation should be within the City, as close to the project site as possible, and provide for continuous wildlife corridors connecting habitat areas.

18.58.050 - Permit and Application Requirements

A.    Permit requirement. Use Permit approval is required for any wetland fill, encroachment, or project requiring wetland mitigation, and for all wetland restoration, enhancement and/or mitigation projects, in addition any other approval required by this Development Code.

B.    Application requirements - Wetland Management Plan. The Use Permit application shall include a wetland delineation and a Wetlands Management Plan prepared by a qualified wetlands expert. The Wetlands Management Plan shall comply with the standards and design criteria in Section 18.58.070 (Development Standards and Design Criteria). The Wetlands Management Plan shall include all of the following, and any additional information deemed necessary by the Review Authority.

1.    Goals and objectives. These shall include a description of the functional relationship of the existing and proposed wetland areas, such as habitat area, type, topography and soil characteristics, water flow patterns and water levels, and upland buffers.

2.    Site plan. A site plan of the restoration or mitigation area shall identify the location and size of wetland areas to be preserved, restored, or created, and shall include the following.

a.    Grading plan. Topography at one-foot intervals, along with any grading, excavation and/or fill plan. Submit footprints of all improvements indicating heights of all structures as well as access routes for maintenance and monitoring and all uses/structures within 200 feet of the property.

b.    Drainage plan. Water flow and drainage patterns along with any estimated volume exchange rates.

c.    Planting plan. The location of flora and fauna habitat areas and types, and any planting plans.

3.    Proposed techniques and standards. The application shall include, as applicable, the following wetland preservation, restoration, and creation techniques and standards, indicating processes, practices and criteria used in identifying the wetlands and the adjoining upland buffer required by 18.58.070 (Development Standards and Design Criteria).

a.    Watershed area and hydrology, water sources, water depths, water-control structures, water-quality watershed area and hydrology parameters, including treatment of urban runoff and water-level maintenance practices needed to achieve the necessary ambient water conditions and characteristics along with a stormwater management plan which identifies potential pollutants and ensures that runoff is substantially free of debris, pollutants and silt. Stormwater runoff management systems may include treatment swales, retention ponds, and other natural treatment systems. Treatment wetlands shall not be considered as habitat mitigation, but may address water quality functions of the impacted wetlands.

b.    Planting plans which identify target wildlife species and specify plant species, quantities, locations, size, space, or density; source of plant materials or seeds; timing, season, water, and nutrient requirements for planting; and plant protection measures.

c.    Site preparation grading elevations and specifications for, if needed, soil amendments, removal of unsuitable fill, and weed control.

d.    Measures for minimizing impacts to the wetland during grading and construction, and for minimizing disturbances to wildlife habitat.

e.    Vector management, demonstrating ecological vector control.

f.    Identification of disposal area for any excavated or dredged material.

4.    Implementation and monitoring plan. The Wetland Management Plan shall include an implementation and monitoring plan, which shall provide:

a.    Specific criteria and identification of process and responsibility for evaluating whether or not the goals of the Wetland Management Plan are being achieved at various stages in the development;

b.    Specifications for irrigation as needed, removal of exotic and nuisance vegetation, and maintenance;

c.    Responsibility schedule and reporting requirements for monitoring the hydrology, vegetation, and wildlife of the wetland with a specified monitoring time frame (five years minimum for brackish or tidal marshes, and 10 years for freshwater and seasonal wetlands);

d.    Procedures for the correction of deficiencies or problems in the Plan discovered after implementation, such as any needed plant substitutions, or modifications to site hydrology;

e.    Identification of methods to ensure that the wetland will be protected in perpetuity; and

f.    A schedule for grading, planting, and long-term maintenance.

5.    Cost estimate. A cost estimate for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining the wetland. Performance security may be required to ensure proper installation, monitoring, and maintenance of the wetland.

6.    Management plan. A management plan that addresses the long-term fiscal, administrative, and technical requirements to successfully execute and maintain the wetland restoration and enhancement project. The plan shall identify the project funding source and assign responsibilities for the long-term maintenance of the wetland, and the management of the necessary ongoing activities.

18.58.060 - Limitations on Uses and Structures

A.    Allowed uses. Public access for passive recreational activities may be permitted and shall be encouraged where appropriate and consistent with the protection of habitat functions and values in compliance with State and Federal law, including the requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

B.    Allowed structures. Any structure allowed in a wetland that is being created, preserved or enhanced, shall be designed to minimize its adverse impacts on the wetland. Measures to minimize adverse effects may include construction on pilings to allow unobstructed flow of water, preserving the natural contour of the wetland, and otherwise minimizing impairment, alteration, or loss of the wetland.

18.58.070 - Development Standards and Design Criteria

The preservation and enhancement measures proposed in the Wetlands Management Plan required by Section 18.58.050 (Permit and Application Requirements) shall comply with the following standards. In the event of conflicts between applicable standards, the most restrictive shall apply.

A.    Wetland buffer. A buffer area of a minimum of 50 feet in width shall be established to provide for undisturbed habitat adjacent to the wetland and to maintain sufficient watershed to support the wetland. The Review Authority may require additional width to protect high habitat values and/or provide adequate watershed area and hydrology.

The Review Authority may reduce the wetland buffer if a finding is made that:

1.    The proposed buffer provides adequate watershed hydrology to support the wetland and protects the resource value of the wetland; or

2.    The strict application of the buffer requirement would result in a taking of the property without just compensation.

B.    Protective measures. Measures including protective fencing, landscaping, setbacks for roads and parking areas, shall be required to minimize adverse impacts on wetlands and wetland habitat. Facilities, structures, and pavement may be adjacent to, but not within, the wetland setback area. Retention ponds, swales, or water quality control features may be required in setback areas to prevent pollutants in urban runoff from discharging into wetland habitat.

C.    Landscaping. Wetland buffer areas shall be planted and maintained with vegetation that is consistent with the maintenance of the adjacent wetland habitat values and indigenous native plants.

D.    Erosion and sediment control. During construction, temporary fencing shall be placed around the wetland/buffer area. Prior to issuance of a Grading Permit, an erosion control plan prepared by a registered professional engineer shall be submitted to the Director, Public Works for approval, including best-management practices to minimize siltation, sedimentation, and erosion. To ensure that sediment remains on the site and is not transported into wetlands, erosion and sediment controls shall be left in place until the site is stabilized with permanent vegetation.

E.    Timing of wetland restoration or creation. The restoration or creation of wetlands required as a condition of development approval shall be undertaken prior to completion of the development unless a security agreement to the satisfaction of the City Attorney is provided prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy or acceptance of improvements that will ensure wetland restoration and monitoring of the effort.

18.58.080 - Prerequisites for Building or Grading Permit Issuance

Prior to issuance of a Building or Grading Permit for work in or near a wetland, the applicant shall provide the Director, Public Works with the following:

A.    Verification of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delineation of wetland boundaries; and/or a Section 404 or Section 10 permit (or its equivalent successor) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;

B.    A Waiver or Certificate of Conformance with Water Quality Standards issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, if applicable; and

C.    A consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California State Department of Fish and Game, regardless of whether any special status species or associated habitat are present.