## ITEM:CONSENT CALENDAR

7.         CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACT WITH THE CARMEL RIVER WATERSHED CONSERVANCY TO PROVIDE SERVICES FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF PORTIONS OF THE CARMEL RIVER WATERSHED

Meeting Date:           October 30, 2003                    Budgeted: N/A

Program/Line Item No.: N/A

Staff Contact: Larry Hampson                      Cost Estimate:

General Counsel Approval: N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on October 14, 2003 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:   N/A

SUMMARY:   The Carmel River Watershed Council (CRWC) has requested that the District carry out an assessment of portions of the Carmel River watershed.  Assessment tasks would include gathering and analyzing biological, geomorphic, and riparian data along the main stem of the Carmel River from the Lagoon to the headwaters.  Information would be used in a comprehensive assessment of watershed conditions, which is a necessary first step for the community to determine which areas of the watershed would benefit most from restoration efforts.

CRWC has established the following goals for a watershed assessment:

1.         To complete a comprehensive community-based watershed assessment and watershed action plan with the involvement and support of diverse stakeholder groups and relevant public agencies, planners, and researchers.

2.         To educate stakeholders and interested parties about natural resource conditions and concerns in the Carmel River watershed, and to increase awareness, involvement, and public support for the planning process, leading to implementation of restoration projects and improved land management practices.

Work described in Exhibit 7-A is scheduled to be completed by June 1, 2004. The estimated cost for MPWMD staff to perform the services requested is approximately $52,400 (see Exhibit 7-B), for which MPWMD would be reimbursed through the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy. Benefits to the District from carrying out an assessment of the main stem include increasing MPWMD’s eligibility to receive future grant funds for restoration projects and the potential to use the information gathered to evaluate the overall effectiveness of MPWMD’s Mitigation Program and to revise the program as necessary to meet changed conditions in the watershed. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the General Manager to execute a contract with the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy to reimburse MPWMD for staff services. It is anticipated that staff will spend approximately 1,024 hours on assessment tasks at an estimated cost of approximately$52,400.  The Administrative Committee considered this item on October 14, 2003, and recommended approval on a vote of 3 to 0.

IMPACT ON STAFF AND RESOURCES: Funds for staff time were included in the FY 2003-2004 budget adopted on June 16, 2003.

BACKGROUND:  In July 2003, the Carmel River Watershed Council (CRWC) requested that the District assist with an assessment of portions of the Carmel River watershed.  Assessment tasks would focus on the main stem and include gathering and analyzing biologic, geomorphic, and riparian data.  Information would be used in an overall assessment of watershed conditions.  A description of the tasks involved is included in Exhibit 7-A.  Several staff members would be involved in carrying out assessment tasks, which are expected to be completed by June 2004 (see Exhibit 7-B and Exhibit 7-C).

Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through a contract between the CRWC and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) pursuant to the Costa-Machado Water Act of 2000 (Proposition 13) and any amendments thereto for the implementation of California’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program.

Exhibit 7-D is a letter from the CRWC to MPWMD dated October 14, 2003 confirming acceptance of the proposed Scope of Services contained in Exhibit 7-A.

The assessment tasks requested by CRWC would augment existing MPWMD monitoring programs at the Lagoon and along the river.  More importantly, this effort would allow staff to analyze past data gathered by MPWMD and develop it into a form that will assist in making resource management decisions.  However, some activities that are carried out by staff may be delayed until after completion of the assessment.  Staff will endeavor to balance the workload, but there could be some delays for such activities as MPWMD web site development, documentation of past restoration projects (note that the assessment would provide documentation of a type that has not been carried out in the past), revision and update of the Carmel River Management Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report, pursuit of restoration project grant funding, and population of a database for the District’s Geographic Information System,

Currently, grant funds are available for watershed improvement projects from recently passed California State bond measures.  However, obtaining grant funds is a competitive process.  In order to be eligible for consideration, most grant programs require that a watershed assessment or comprehensive analysis show the need for a project.  Completion of an assessment of the main stem will increase MPWMD’s chances of obtaining grant funding for main stem projects.

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