Agriculture update 10/10/2014
Waters of the U.S. Comment Period Extended
The comment period deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed rule – Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act, has been extended from October 20, 2014 until November 14, 2014. The proposed rule, which was released on April 21, would amend the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” and expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. The comment period was extended to allow the public to comment on a soon-to-be released document which provides the scientific basis for the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. According to a recent NACo Alert, that report, —Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence—has been under review by EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) but has not been finalized and it is not known when it will be released.
CSAC is in the process of finalizing a comment letter and we encourage interested counties to also submit comments to the agencies.
Guidance Available on General Plan Amendments for Addressing Flood Risk
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently released their Guidance on General Plan Amendments for Addressing Flood Risk (Guidance). According to the DWR press release, the Guidance was developed to assist cities and counties within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley amend their general plans (as required by California Government Code Section 65302.9-enacted by SB 5 in 2007) to include:
- data and analysis contained in the 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (e.g., locations of the facilities of the State Plan of Flood Control and locations of property protected by those facilities);
- locations of flood hazard zones; and
- general plan goals, policies, objectives, and implementation measures reflective of the2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.
DWR prepared this Guidance as a resource for cities and counties to use when addressing State law requirements, while providing agencies the ability to adapt information for local conditions. Cities and counties within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley have up to 24 months after July 2, 2013 (or no later than July 2, 2015), to amend their general plans and an additional 12 months thereafter to update local zoning ordinances (or no later than July 2, 2016, whichever comes first). The general plan amendment requirements apply to cities and counties within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, as defined by California Government Code §65007(h).
The Guidance, fact sheet and FAQ are available on DWR’s Local Flood Risk Planning and Guidance website at www.water.ca.gov/localfloodriskplanning. DWR also plans to host public informational webinars in late October 2014. More details, as they become available, can be found on the website.