rEWMP: Reducing Cost and Gaining Public Buy-In Using Strategic Adaptive Management

Date / Time:
Tuesday, Oct 16 4:55pm to 5:25pm
Location:
Raincross A & D (Upper Level)
Track / Session:
Municipal Track / Planning
Description/Abstract: 

This presentation will explain how the Rio Hondo/San Gabriel River (RH/SGR) Water Quality Group (WQG) developed a more meaningful, measurable, and achievable water quality compliance plan, while reducing implementation costs by 90% and gaining public buy-in.
The RH/SGR WQG includes the County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, and the Cities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte, Monrovia, and Sierra Madre. The WQG recognized the importance of clean water, and developed an Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP) that identified an initial suite of BMPs heavily weighted towards implementation of 436 linear miles of distributed green streets. In addition to green streets, the initial EWMP included 10 regional projects, low-impact development projects constructed during re-development of parcels, and enhanced minimum control measures. The estimated price tag for the initial program exceeded $1.4B.
While the WQG’s EWMP established one initial path to improve water quality, the WQG proactively decided to improve upon the original EWMP through an adaptive management process. The revised EWMP (rEWMP) was therefore developed to (1) improve the accuracy and certainty of the compliance analysis, (2) solicit and incorporate stakeholder input through an aggressively transparent outreach campaign, and (3) bolster confidence that investments in the program will yield meaningful and cost-effective water quality improvement. These updates resulted in a more robust and reliable compliance plan.
The cornerstone of the rEWMP was the WQG’s enhanced understanding of the multi-benefit regional projects throughout the region. Emphasizing these regional multi-benefit projects amplified the WQG’s ability to align with other environmental objectives (e.g., water supply augmentation and ecosystem rehabilitation) which will enhance opportunities for funding by outside partners. The WQG therefore funded a detailed study to devise an improved rEWMP BMP strategy which best leverages new and previously identified opportunities located within the RH/SGR watersheds. The result of this study was a specific list of multi-benefit regional projects and a refined distributed green street strategy customized to current, local water quality conditions.
The rEWMP was also developed to take advantage of newly available monitoring data and a better understanding of water quality in the region. The rEWMP emphasizes the attainment of protective, science-based, and cost-effective solutions using robust metrics and methods. The improved compliance analysis confirmed, with high certainty, that the actionable list of rEWMP BMPs can be expected to achieve measurably cleaner water.
In addition to traditional rationale for rEWMP development, the WQG invested in the rEWMP as an opportunity to break down walls and open lines of communication with stakeholders. Emphasizing complete transparency, the WQG reached out to advocacy groups and openly shared their methods and data. These new lines of communication will help the permittees to arrive at solutions that have broad support. In addition, the WQG collaborated with Regional Water Quality Board staff and actively sought staff input throughout the rEWMP development process. This engagement and collaboration was applauded by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and earned words of support from environmental advocacy groups.
Ultimately these efforts were summarized in a public-facing, easily digestible planning document curated to permittees, practitioners, regulators, and advocates/stakeholders, and which awaits final approval by the Regional Board later this year. This presentation will describe how other municipalities and watershed groups can apply the rEWMP principles to achieve meaningful, measurable, and achievable watershed outcomes that “connect the drops” from plan to compliance. The presenters will engage the audience with compelling graphics and anecdotes from their strategic planning journey

Primary Speaker:
Alex Tachiki, City of Monrovia
Supporting Speaker 1:
Oliver Chi, City of Monrovia
Supporting Speaker 2:
Chad Helmle, Tetra Tech
Supporting Speaker 3:
Oliver Galang, Tetra Tech
Primary Speaker Biography: 

Alex Tachiki is the Senior Management Analyst with the City of Monrovia with over four years of municipal experience in Public Works and Planning. He has his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Cal Poly Pomona. He works closely with other members of the Rio Hondo/San Gabriel River Water Quality Group to address stormwater quality issues within the watershed. Alex oversees several programs for the City of Monrovia including: transportation, solid waste and stormwater.

Supporting Speakers Biographies: 

Oliver Chi has served as Monrovia’s City Manager since 2014. He has nearly twenty years of extensive government experience at both the state and local level. Oliver earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and holds a master’s degree in public administration from USC. Oliver has worked for the communities of Barstow, Rosemead, Claremont, and Arcadia. During his career, Oliver has served in numerous leadership positions for a variety of local government related associations, including serving as MMASC President in 2004, and is a regional leader on many key issues impacting local governments today, such as stormwater management, pensions, and criminal justice system reforms.

Chad leads a group of exceptionally talented and motivated water resources engineers, planners, and scientists for Tetra Tech in southern California. His group specializes in demystifying the regulatory and technical complexities of the stormwater field by leveraging innovations in modeling, analysis, and design and delivering solutions in clearly-communicated graphics. Through the use of these tactics, his team strives to help his clients escape the old paradigm of stormwater management and enter a new reality, where meaningful progress towards clean water is clearly defined and readily achievable. Chad is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and vividly recalls last year’s 49-14 beat-down over USC. Go Irish!

Oliver D. Galang, PE, ENV SP is the Los Angeles Water Resources Engineering Manager for Tetra Tech's Integrated Water Management. His experience encompasses almost 25 years of planning, design, construction and program management of large municipal capital improvement projects (CIP), specifically in water resources, flood control, and stormwater infrastructure in Los Angeles County and San Diego County. Oliver received his B.S. in Civil Engineering at California State University, Fullerton and he continued his post-graduate studies in Engineering Management at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.