MEETING NOTES
                          Wednesday, April 13th, 10:00-12:30
      Santa Clarita City Hall (Orchard Room), 23920 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita

Lily Verdone                TNC               
Adam Lambert                UCSB              
Zooey Diggory               Stillwater Sciences
Anna Huber                  R.A. Atmore       
Heather Merenda             City of Santa Clarita
Ken Owen                    CIR
Laurie Crain                VCWPD             
Bill Neill                  LA WMA            
Antal Szijj                 USACE             
Korinne Bell                VCAC              
Noreen Murano               Wildscape Restoration
Dan Blankenship             CDFG              
Jenny Marek                 USFWS             
Jeff Humble                 CDFG              
Denise Steurer              USFWS             

10:00-10:15    Self Introductions/Quick Announcements – ALL

       Tasha Hernandez emailed to update group on the Forrest Service’s NEPA for
        invasive species control, which is on track to be completed near the end of 2011.
       TNC’s LA-Ventura Project is hiring a Land Manager to work on habitat
        restoration, outreach and general land management. Please contact Lily for further
        details and job description.
       Channel Island Restoration has begun implementing a 3 acre mitigation project
        for the City of Santa Paula. The project is required to mitigate effects from
        construction of the City’s new wastewater facility in least Bell’s vireo, willow
        flycatcher and western pond turtle habitat. A masticator was used to remove
        Arundo and re-sprouts will be treated in the fall.
     Bill – commented that the project shouldn’t have to wait to re-spray for end of
      nesting season, imazapyr is good for springtime growth; group commented that
      the nesting season was the reason herbicide treatments needed to wait until fall.
    Ventura County WMA next week (4/21 in Saticoy from 9-11:30), a call for
      agenda items will go out this week.

10:15-10:20 Update on programmatic permitting (upper/lower SCR watershed
       and Calleguas Creek) – Noreen Murano, Wildscape Restoration, Inc.

     Calleguas Creek Programmatic Permit EIR received 8 comments and was
       certified and submitted in March.
     Resource Conservation Partners submitted application to Trustee Council to begin
       work on the Lower Watershed programmatic permit, but there is currently no
       clear direction on who will hold the permit.
     To date, the Upper Watershed programmatic permit has only been used by city of
       Santa Clarita.
     Costs to use Upper Watershed permit are associated with permit preparation. A
       $500 non-refundable initial change is placed on the applicant, then a Preparation
       Packet needs to be submitted to the VCRCD, this is usually completed by a
       consultant (hiring the consultant is not included in the fees and is covered by the
       applicant). Then Preparation Packet is then submitted to resources agencies, and a
       5 year monitoring requirement is established. The Lower Watershed would be a
       similar process.
     Upper Watershed permit expires in 2013 and needs to be extended; however, the
       VCRCD is unclear if they will continue to be the holder.
     CDFG working with a landowner on 1600 permit to cover larger area with
       approximately 30 other landowners to do restoration (Roger Herring, Bouquet
       Canyon, National Forrest and downstream); also submitted a no-take letter for his
       project, USFWS is working with him because of Stickleback, USFWS has BO
       and is wondering if they can use existing permits/BO; agencies think it would be
       better under a programmatic permit. Cost, 5 year sunset, bureaucracy reasons why
       he did not apply under the programmatic.
     Are the Upper Watershed permit issues going to be worked through before the
       lower watershed programmatic permits process begins? Is there a way to find cost
       sharing for private landowners? VCNRCS?
     How can we identify stakeholders along the river? Video for homeowner use to
       education them on permit process and BMP for weed removal?
     Restoration Corp idea, start new volunteer/work group to do restoration in SCR.
     How can SCRIWTF help? How can we move process forward?
      Read email from Marty Melvin that said RCD is looking at their 5 year work plan
       and until then, will not be able to comment on likelihood of continuing being the
       applicant for any programmatic permitting.

10:20-11:45 “Permitting Roundtable” - Antal Szijj (USACE), Laurie Crain (VC
       Watershed Protection District), Jenny Marek (USFWS), Jeff Humble
       (CDFG), Dana Cole (CA Water Board)

Laurie Crain (Ventura County Watershed Protection District)
     Ventura County permits required for any redline channel (100 yr. flood/500 cfs):
       channel, bed, banks and case-by-case basis end of 100 yr. floodplain in
     The purposes of permits are for flooding concerns, “will this project potentially
       increase flooding on another property?”
     Depending on type of project, hydraulic studies are sometimes needed. An
       example given was weed removal would not need a hydraulic report, but if project
       contained replanting, this might trigger a need for hydraulic study.
     Weed removal is usually easier to get permits because it is generally not
       impacting flooding; however, when new plants are added, flood issues may come
     Cost: $215 non-refundable, plus $2,000 “trust deposit” where VCWPD staff
       charge time to deposit. At the completion of the project, a refund or extra payment
       required will be assessed.
     Calleguas Creek has included in VCWPD in its programmatic permit.
     Fees could be reduced for programmatic permit.
     Proof of insurance required (general liability, worker’s comp., etc.).
Jeff Humble (CDFG)
      CDFG issues Streambed Alternation Agreements with jurisdiction over any
        channel and body of water.
      He works watershed-wide on various projects and with landowners (helps them
        fill out permit forms; works with NRCS to bring landowners information and
     Permit holder could use Safe Harbor agreement for private landowners to limit
       fear of government/assurance
     What is CDFG’s fee structure for Upper Watershed programmatic permit?
       Summary of criteria included in the permit application to CDFG so they can
       assess project. Currently, not requiring fee for programmatic permit, but if things
       picked up, fee could be up to $150. Now looking at each project as a sub-project
       under programmatic. Independent projects outside programmatic would be
       assessed to determine fee, usually around $250, and increased $50 incrementally
       based on total cost of project.
     Calleguas Creek is sub-project basis, around $150 fee.
Jenny Marek (USFWS)
    USFWS’s goals are to recover listed species, enforcing ESA and jurisdiction of
       Critical Habitat. All project applicants need to be exempted under Section 9 of
       ESA, without exemption, project is in violation of ESA. Safe Harbor would
       maintain the baseline of a listed species population, cannot go below baseline, but
       above is ok.
    What projects are happening in Lower Watershed? TNC, VCWPD, City of
       Ventura mitigation.
    Safe Harbor still triggers NEPA. Baseline populations would need to be
    Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has Safe Harbor.
Antal Sizijj (USACE)
    Geographic description is within Water of United States (under
       Section 404 Clean Water Act) and activity involves discharging fill material.
    A wide scope of activities is not regulated by Army Corps for Arundo removal
       projects. Examples of regulated projects would be plowing a road to access
       Arundo site or removing root mass of Arundo (mechanized). When permit is
       triggered, a list of
    Regional General Permit for available for invasive removal through USACE, no
       fees, requires regular steps (as in other permits – e.g. consult with USFWS).
    Mulch issue: leaving mulch in place could be both an issue for VCWPD, CDFG,
       and USACE. Taking away mulch or cuttings can be cost prohibitive.
    Bill gave example of Riverside County conducting successful Arundo removal
       without removing mulch while under similar permit requirements.
    USACE permits are usually for mitigation, rarely for private landowners wanting
       to remove weeds.

12:20-12:30    Next steps for the SCRIWTF (set next meeting date) - ALL

       July meeting
       Lily will send out Doodle poll for date options
       Ideas for the next meeting:
        - Continuing the programmatic permit discussion
        - Restoration Work Crew needed for watershed
        - Safe Harbor – Eric Morrisset USFWS
        - Regional Board toxicity report

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