Fairfax, CA Resolution to Protect Stream Conservation Areas

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Fairfax, CA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 9/5/07

Vote: Unanimous

Source File: http://spawnusa.org/cgi-files/0/pdfs/1189108851_.pdf



WHEREAS, the Town of Fairfax has by local policy and ordinance shown its commitment to the environmental protections for its own land use planning and has encouraged sustainable policies for itself and as a model for other jurisdictions; and

WHEREAS, the quality of life for the Town of Fairfax and its residents is inextricably intertwined with the environmental and development practices of the County of Marin, both in adjacent unincorporated areas and in other parts of the County where Fairfax residents work, recreate and travel; and

WHEREAS, the ongoing environmental protection and sustainability of Marin’s streams and wetlands are of the utmost import to the residents of Fairfax; and

WHEREAS, Wild coho salmon populations have undergone a ninety-percent decline in California since the 1940’s, the causes of the declines such as urbanization, dams, and logging operations being well known and documented.

WHEREAS, All California coho were listed as "threatened" by the US government in 1997 and the Central California Coast Evolutionarily Significant Unit (CCC ESU) of coho salmon was down-listed to endangered status in 2005. The State of California listed the populations north of San Francisco as endangered in 2002; and

WHEREAS, As public officials concerned with the health and recovery of salmonid populations in Marin, and throughout California, we support increased habitat protections for the largest remaining wild population of CCC ESU of coho salmon, located in Marin’s Lagunitas Creek Watershed, west Marin County. This population makes up 10-20% of the total ESU; and

WHEREAS, The San Geronimo Valley supports a growing residential population whose lands will increase erosion and sedimentation and stormwater runoff as a result of increasing impervious surfaces, loss of riparian areas and floodplains to development and invasive species, and potentially increase the impacts of leaking septic systems posing significant threats to the well-being of of coho salmon and other aquatic life; and

WHEREAS, Marin’s baylands comprise numerous habitats of high ecological value such as intertidal areas of San Francisco Bay itself, diked baylands, salt marshes, seasonal wetlands, and adjacent riparian corridors, grasslands, and oak woodlands; and

WHEREAS, To date Marin’s Planning Commission has been moving in a positive direction on the BAYLANDS CORRIDOR, the most important issue in the plan for East Marin’s environmental community. The Corridor would be a zone of protection for environmental resources and public safety in the lands along San Pablo/San Francisco Bay. These lands are highly susceptible to earthquakes, and parts are expected to be inundated by sea-level rise in the foreseeable future. Development here should be strictly limited; and

WHEREAS, The Planning Commission has tentatively voted to support Option 2, the most extensive definition of the corridor, reaching to Highway 101 in the Las Gallinas Planning Area and including the St.Vincent/Silveira properties and the area around Gnoss Field. Option 2 offers the greatest protection of resources, and is consistent with the recommendations of Community Marin, prepared by Marin environmental organizations. The recently completed study of Marin Baylands by the San Francisco Estuary Institute helped to support this decision; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Fairfax publishes and declares its support for the Marin County Board of Supervisors to:

1. Adopt a moratorium on any new construction in the County’s 100-foot Stream Conservation Area (SCA) in watersheds that support federally listed Endangered coho salmon until such time as a Cumulative Impact Analysis, as required under California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), has been completed that can inform the County on degradation thresholds and the limits of development that coho can withstand; and

2. Enact a Native Riparian Forest Management Policy and Ordinance in the inland-rural corridor that prohibits removal of streamside native vegetation. (Right now, there are no special protections for streamside trees and landowners are permitted to remove five trees/year without a permit); and

3. Strictly enforce violations and illegal development in the 100-foot Stream Conservation Area; and

4. Require any new development in coho watersheds to meet a zero net increase in storm-water run-off; and

5. Close loopholes in the Stream Conservation Area ordinance by modifying the draft County-wide Plan to eliminate provisions that allow new construction in the SCA and that increase, NOT decrease, protections for coho salmon and creek-side habitats; and

6. Work with non-governmental organizations and other agencies to begin a process to identify and acquire undeveloped land parcels before they are compromised by impervious surfaces, lost or degraded riparian habitats, declines in water quality, and other urban/suburban impacts; and

7. Uphold the Planning Commissions decision for the BAYLANDS CORRIDOR and for limiting development on the St. Vincent/Silveira properties to 221 homes, giving greater protection to the tidelands, marshes, diked lands, and adjacent upland habitats consisting of grasslands, oak savannahs and creeks. We also urge the Board of Supervisors to define the Baylands Corrridor to include all lands west of the railroad right of way up to the Highway 101 right of way; and

8. Recognize that measures which protect Marin’s wetlands, streams, and endangered coho salmon also benefit a wide range of species including threatened steelhead trout and chinook salmon, and hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, we urge the County of Marin to take urgent actions to implement the highest standards of protections for Marin’s wetlands and streams.