15. CONSIDER APPROVAL OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR PREPARATION OF EIR ON TERMINATION OF WATER CREDIT TRANSFER PROGRAM
Staff Contact: Henrietta Stern Cost Estimate: none for RFP
General Counsel Approval: has not reviewed staff note
Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on May 12, 2003, and concurred 2-1 with the RFP text with some minor refinements; concurred with the project description; asked for District Special Counsel feedback on the need for Alternative #3; and suggested Board review of the consultant list. The Water Demand Committee reviewed this item on May 14, 2003 and concurred 3-0 with the Administrative Committee recommendations.
CEQA Compliance: Not applicable for retention of consultant
SUMMARY: In February and March 2003, the Board determined that a sole source consultant should be retained to prepare a focused Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the environmental impacts of having or not having a water credit transfer program (WCTP). Directors Henson and Lindstrom were assigned to negotiate a scope of work and cost estimate with Turnstone Consulting of San Francisco with assistance from District Special Counsel Clement Shute and Acting General Manager Fran Farina. Recent efforts to refine the scope of work and address concerns about extensive reliance on staff work products did not result in a mutually acceptable outcome.
District staff was directed in late April 2003 to prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be transmitted to a variety of environmental consulting firms for an EIR that will focus on termination of the existing WCTP. The overall goals of the EIR are to assess environmental effects associated with terminating the WCTP, and respond to assertions by litigants who challenged Ordinance No. 102 rescinding the WCTP. The emphasis on terminating the WCTP is at the direction of District Special Counsel. He directed that the EIR should respond to litigant assertions that terminating the WCTP would result in direct and indirect adverse physical impacts. An estimated 60 acre-feet has been involved in water credit transfers in the past 10 years.
The Board will consider authorizing staff to transmit the RFP shown as Exhibit 15-A to the list of consultants shown in Exhibit 15-B. The RFP is based on the format approved by the Board at its April 21, 2003 meeting and includes five attachments. The Board should focus its attention on Attachment 1 of the RFP, which provides more detail on each of 10 identified tasks:
Task 1- Prepare EIR Notice of Preparation and hold scoping meetings
Task 2- Prepare Scoping Report and recommended DEIR format/approach
Task 3- Compile background information from MPWMD staff and other sources
Task 4- Prepare analysis of physical impacts associated with economic effects
Task 5- Prepare administrative draft EIR for internal review
Task 6- Prepare Draft EIR and hold public hearing to receive oral comments
Task 7- Prepare summary of comments along with a work plan and approach for Final EIR, based on the comments received
Task 8- Prepare administrative Final EIR for internal review
Task 9- Prepare Final EIR and CEQA certification Findings
Task 10- Participate in meetings and phone consultations
Note that MPWMD will prepare the descriptions for the proposed project and alternatives. District Special Counsel has suggested that an Initial Study should not be prepared because it is not required by CEQA if a decision to prepare an EIR has been made.
The RFP currently includes project level evaluation of the proposed project to terminate the WCTP, and evaluation of three alternatives at a lesser level of detail. They include:
Alt. 1 = Rule 28-B is reinstated (assumed to be the No Project alternative pursuant to Ordinances No. 107 and 108 which will become effective as of June 18, 2003 if approved on second reading by the Board on May 19, 2003).
Alt. 2= Enact amended water credit transfer program as described in Ordinance 101.
Alt. 3= Enact water credit transfer program based on Ordinance 101 with further restrictions to be defined by the Board preferably on May 19 but no later than June 16, 2003. Potential restrictions might include designating specific types of recipients of a transfer; documented water use must be available for the donor site in order for a transfer to be approved; and/or the set-aside for conservation should be 50% rather than the 35% shown in Ordinance No. 101. Inclusion of this alternative is pending direction by District Special Counsel.
The RFP describes a rough estimated budget of $100,000-$125,000 for preparation of the EIR. For Fiscal Year 2003-2004, staff has budgeted $150,000 for the WCTP EIR and related activities, including $25,000 for legal assistance. The time line goal is to prepare and certify the EIR within six to nine months after the notice to proceed. The recipient firms will be given about four weeks to respond to the RFP (current estimated due date is June 20, 2003).
RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends that the Board take the following actions:
The draft RFP was reviewed by the Administrative Committee on May 12, 2003 and by the Water Demand Committee on May 14, 2003. The committees suggested minor text refinements; the majority concurred with the proposed project as termination of the WCTP; and both committees asked for written communication from District Special Counsel regarding the need for Alternative #3. It was suggested that variations to Ordinance No. 101 could be discussed as general concepts under Alternative #2. A reply from Special Counsel has not been received by the printing deadline for this item; additional information will be provided at the Board meeting.
BACKGROUND: At its February 27, 2003 meeting, the Board directed staff to work with a sole source consultant to develop a scope of work for a focused EIR on the environmental impacts of having or not having a water credit transfer program. The stated goal at that time was completion of the Final EIR no later than September 30, 2003 and project level evaluations of water credit transfer program applications received by a certain date. (Note: This is not an accurate reflection of the current RFP. Applications received prior to one month of the completion date of the administrative draft EIR will be included in the No Project alternative and will be evaluated at the program level of detail.) In February 2003, the Board also directed that all applications for water credit transfer approval shall not be considered by the Board until after the EIR is certified.
At its March 17, 2003 meeting, the Board determined that Turnstone Consultants of San Francisco should be retained to prepare an EIR that evaluates the environmental effects associated with a water credit transfer program. The Board further directed that Directors Henson and Lindstrom should negotiate with Turnstone to refine the scope of work, and address Board concerns about the high cost and extensive reliance on staff work products. Two phone conferences between Turnstone, Directors Henson and Lindstrom, District special counsel Clement Shute, and Acting General Manager Fran Farina were held on March 21 and April 8, 2003 for this purpose. Water Demand Division Manager Stephanie Pintar also participated in the April 8 phone conference.
A revised Turnstone scope of work was prepared for the April 21, 2003 Board meeting, but this item was continued until the May 19, 2003 meeting. A significant addition was to include an economic analysis in the scope to address certain concerns raised by litigants. Considerable information also remained to be provided by staff. The most recent cost estimate for Turnstone to produce only a Draft EIR is $155,400; this amount includes an estimated $42,200 for a specialist to perform an economic analysis. The Turnstone time line for completion of a Draft EIR was late August 2003 assuming receipt of extensive information from MPWMD staff by April 30, 2003. The scope did not include circulation of an Initial Study.
Negotiations between MPWMD and Turnstone representatives continued in mid-April. It became evident that a mutually satisfactory result was not forthcoming, and staff was directed in late April to prepare an RFP with a narrower scope for Board consideration on May 19, 2003. The revised scope shown herein reflects direction by District Special Counsel Clement Shute.
District action on Ordinance Nos. 107 and 108 also affects the WCTP EIR. The first reading of Ordinance No. 107 to reinstate the water credit transfer program (Rule 28-B) was approved on March 17, 2003. On April 2, 2003, the Board approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 108 to clarify some of the processes and vague terminology contained in Rule 28-B. Specifically, decisions about water credit transfers shall be made by the MPWMD Board of Directors and are considered to be discretionary decisions subject to CEQA. The second reading for both ordinances is scheduled for May 19, 2003.
IMPACTS ON RESOURCES: No funds for the WCTP EIR are budgeted for FY 2002-2003. A rough estimate of $150,000 is included in the first draft budget for FY 2003-2004, including $125,000 for the EIR and $25,000 for legal services. The scope of work still relies on staff assistance and reports; it is anticipated that extensive staff time will still be needed to help initiate the project and respond to consultant questions.
H Stern Draft 4 revised after committees, 4 pp May 14, 2003