Connecting the Drops: Caltrans Partnership Opportunities with Local Municipalities in TMDL Watersheds

Date / Time:
Wednesday, Oct 17 1:55pm to 2:25pm
Raincross A & D (Upper Level)
Track / Session:
Total Maximum Daily Loads Track / TMDL Compliance Strategies

The purpose of this poster will be to describe the funding programs available to local municipalities to partner with Caltrans in developing regional water treatment facilities in TMDL watersheds.The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Statewide Storm Water Permit for State of California Department of Transportation (Order WQ 2014-0077-DWQ) (Caltrans NPDES Permit) on September 19, 2012. It became effective July 1, 2013, and was revised on May 20, 2014. Caltrans is required to comply with the NPDES permit, which regulates both stormwater and non-stormwater discharges from Caltrans’ properties and facilities, as well as discharges associated with operation and maintenance of the state highway system.The State Water Board identifies these areas requiring monitoring or mitigation as Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL sites. Annually, Caltrans is required to treat 1650 compliance units (CUs) from their right-of-way (ROW) in the TMDL watersheds through implementation of best management practices (BMPs). For each acre that is treated, Caltrans receives one CU.The Caltrans NPDES Permit encourages Caltrans to partner with local municipalities and to provide funding for regional water quality treatment facilities in TMDL watersheds in which Caltrans is a listed stakeholder.  Caltrans receives Compliance Unit credits for financial contributions to local municipalities to assist Caltrans in complying with the Caltrans NPDES Permit.Caltrans has two Cooperative Agreement programs:Cooperative Implementation Agreement (CIA) – CIAs provide capital and support funding for planning, design, environmental studies, right of way acquisition (easement only) and construction of stormwater treatment projects.  Treatment of runoff from Caltrans ROW is not required.  This program does not have a dedicated funding source.  The amount of funds varies from year to year.Financial Contribution Only (FCO) – FCOs provide funding for capital construction costs only (labor and materials) of stormwater treatment projects.  Treatment of runoff from Caltrans ROW must be included.  Once a project is identified, construction funds typically become available in five years.These programs have the following advantages:

  • ·         Allows for stormwater treatment projects outside the ROW in locations where there is limited space, access, or safety concerns within the ROW;
  • ·         Provides opportunities for implementation of BMPs and other solutions not traditionally available to Caltrans;
  • ·         Enables the involvement of local watershed partners who have knowledge in the best way to manage and protect the local watershed; and
  • ·         Produces larger scale projects on the watershed level.

Caltrans is committed to maintaining and expanding strategic partnerships with local municipalities to achieve water quality and TMDL compliance in impaired watersheds.

Primary Speaker:
Tom Rutsch, California Department of Transportation
Tom has worked for Caltrans for 30 years in the Highway Design, Maintenance and Stormwater Management Programs. In his current position, he is responsible for coordination with local municipalities in developing cooperative agreements which fund water quality improvement projects in TMDL watersheds to assist Caltrans in complying with the requirements of the Caltrans NPDES Permit.