Out on a Limb but Front of the Line: Preparing the First Stormwater Resource Plan in the San Francisco Region
In February 2017, the San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (SMCWPPP) completed the Stormwater Resource Plan (SRP) for San Mateo County, the first SRP prepared in the San Francisco Bay region. One of the goals of the SRP is to develop a proactive approach for coordination with parallel green infrastructure and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation planning efforts required by the Municipal Regional Permit (MRP) for San Francisco Region municipal stormwater permittees, and position city/county agencies within San Mateo County for funding opportunities and partnerships to support implementation of these plans. The SWRP development followed an aggressive schedule to provide eligibility for first round State Water Board stormwater grant applications, requiring a clear and efficient plan for timely completion while also providing the necessary detail and robustness needed for a meaningful plan that met State Water Board guidelines. Without example SRP plans available at the time to serve as a template, SMCWPPP was left to pioneer procedures for SRP development that met State Water Board guidelines while tailoring methods to address unique regulatory and planning needs of the region. For example, the MRP includes specific planning approaches for green infrastructure and TMDL implementation, including development of a Reasonable Assurance Analysis (RAA) to provide quantitative demonstration that proposed management activities and green infrastructure implementation will result in achievement of wasteload allocations for PCBs and mercury. The State Water Board guidelines for SRP also includes requirements for quantification of stormwater volumes captured as a result of planned projects. For efficiency, modeling approaches were developed to support the quantification of stormwater capture volumes for the SRP, which through parallel efforts are being expanded to provide necessary capability to support pollutant loading analysis for the RAA.
As part of the SRP, detailed concepts were developed for various projects throughout the County, including Low Impact Development (LID) providing onsite stormwater capture, green streets, and three regional projects providing capture of stormwater from neighboring areas and infiltration within underground galleries located within public parks. During development of the SRP, participating cities submitted three grant applications that included four projects included within the SRP. All three grant applications were approved by the State Water Board for funding, providing these cities the opportunity to get a head start on implementing green infrastructure projects to support compliance with the MRP. Two cities are also currently in discussions with Caltrans regarding funding partnerships for the regional projects. Other cities are in the process of preparing grant applications for other project concepts included within the SRP, and are considering the development of additional concepts in the future.
The San Mateo County SRP is designed to be a living document that can continue to evolve as new project concepts are added, or parallel planning efforts to address the MRP result in additional information to be included. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of approaches used to develop the SRP, methods for identifying and developing project concepts for grant submittal, and methods to update the SRP over time. The goal is to provide the audience insight into the level of effort to develop a SRP, the benefits in terms of positioning for funding opportunities, and methods to tailor approaches to local watersheds, stormwater permit requirements, and TMDLs. The audience will be engaged to obtain insight into local concerns or challenges they may face, and the presenters will discuss how similar obstacles were overcome for San Mateo County.
Matthew Fabry serves as Manager for the San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program, a program of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, which assists the 21 San Mateo municipalities with stormwater compliance issues. He sits on the Boards of Directors for both the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association and the California Stormwater Quality Association and has over 20 years of experience in water quality and stormwater management. Matthew has worked in municipal, regulatory, and consultant capacities, holds degrees in environmental engineering and music, and is a registered civil engineer in the State of California.
Steve Carter is a principal of Paradigm Environmental with 20 years of experience developing strategic approaches to TMDL development, stormwater program planning and NPDES permit compliance, and BMP and green infrastructure implementation.