Implementing Green Infrastructure Requirements in the New Bay Area Municipal Regional Permit
In order to promote increased use of green infrastructure in urban areas and assist with compliance with TMDLs, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board has included in the Tentative Order for reissued Phase I Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit (“MRP 2.0”) a requirement that Permittees complete and implement Green Infrastructure (GI) Plans. The GI Plans must show how the Permittee will incorporate low impact development (LID) drainage design into public and private streets, parking lots, building roofs and other facilities to achieve water quality, flow reduction and other environmental and community benefits. Implementation of the Plans is intended to, along with other actions, achieve quantitative load reductions for PCBs, mercury, trash, and other contaminants over the long term. The Plans will also provide a mechanism for establishing and implementing alternative compliance or in-lieu fee options for regulated projects. The GI Plans must include: a mechanism to prioritize and map areas for planned and potential projects over specified timeframes; projections for amounts of impervious surface to be retrofitted over 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-year time horizons; a process for tracking and mapping completed projects; design guidelines, details, and specifications for GI projects; a summary of planning documents such as General Plans, Complete Street Plans, Storm Drain Master Plans, Urban Forestry Plans, etc. that have been updated to incorporate GI elements; a work plan to complete prioritized projects; and an evaluation funding options. In addition, Permittees are expected to annually review planned capital projects to identify opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure where feasible. Permittees will also need to conduct significant outreach and educational efforts to municipal staff, elected officials, and the public to gain support for the GI Plans. The GI Plans are a way Permittees can show elected officials and the public that they are “making a difference” and a paradigm shift in the way infrastructure projects are planned and built, such that multiple benefits including water quality improvement, flood control, greenhouse gas reduction, and safe pedestrian and bike access are achieved. This presentation will review the anticipated GI requirements and the challenges of meeting these requirements, and describe approaches that different types of Permittee agencies are considering for development of their Plans, either individually or collectively. The presentation will conclude with examples of several Bay Area municipalities that have already begun developing and implementing long term GI Plans, and an invitation to the audience to provide input on approaches being taken in other parts of the state and the U.S.
Jill Bicknell, P.E. is a Managing Engineer at EOA, Inc. in Sunnyvale, CA and has served as the Assistant Program Manager for the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program for over 18 years. Jill has been a leader in the Bay Area in development of green infrastructure and LID requirements for new and redevelopment projects. Jill is currently the Chair of the BASMAA Development Committee and Vice Chair of the CASQA Board of Directors.