DECEMBER: Describe a recent innovation or local adaptation in one of your water engineering or ecosystem restoration projects and why it will make a difference?
A: Recognition that estuary restoration is about restoring processes, not just structure. Structural changes (e.g., “impacts” such as fill and scour) may be required in order to actively restore processes, and structural changes will occur as a result of the restoration of natural processes. These changes are necessary for estuary restoration and should not be regulated as impacts the way they are for development projects. In addition, performance criteria for estuary mitigation projects should be based on positive trends in process, recognizing realistic restoration timelines, rather than attempting to predict specific or arbitrary structural standards.
Kim Fettke is a wildlife and restoration ecologist with AECOM
A: Modifying the region’s Long-Term Management Strategy for dredged material to allow for in-Bay sediment placement locations that are dispersive to restoration sites. Modification should also include allowing placement at such sites to count towards the LTMS goals for beneficial reuse of dredged material and/or sediment.
Justin Semion works in environmental consulting with WRA, Inc.
A:I would base monitoring of estuarine fish health on on-going surveys using multiple species, including non-native species such as striped bass. See the following publication for suggestions on how to do this: Developing Biological Goals for the Bay-Delta Plan: Concepts and Ideas from an Independent Scientific Advisory Panel.
Peter Moyle is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UC Davis
A: The Bay Area Czar would enact a regional policy to 1) restore Bay Area creeks and their connections to the Bay, 2) redesign hardened shorelines to improve green infrastructure, sea level rise adaptation, and carbon storage, and 3) revitalize public transportation, roads, bike routes, and pedestrian access in and around the Bay’s shorelines. Collectively the Czar’s policies would address looming threats to the Bay Area’s real estate, economies, communities, fish and wildlife, improve quality of life through recreation, air and water quality, and reduce carbon emissions from transportation while increasing carbon storage. The Czar would help lead the nation (and the world) in climate change adaptation strategies.
Denise Colombano is a Bay Area native currently researching watershed sciences at UC Davis.
A: A dollar of funding for critical wetland and resiliency projects goes less than half as far as it should. An absolute requirement for the Bay Area Czar position should be 10-20 years of senior management experience in a marine/heavy civil construction company. The right person should know the end-to-end process of how work gets done in wet areas and would have the confidence to say “no” to the paralyzing circle of regulatory one-upmanship. Each presumably well-intentioned project condition adds delays, cost, and unnecessary complexity to the essential restoration and flood control work that needs to happen today.
Lance Dohman is a concerned citizen.
A: The czar would have the power to consider zoning, environmental, and economic regulations against the long-term impacts of climate change and make changes as necessary. The first three things they should do would be:
1. Identify best/worst case changes to the environment in the years 2030, 2050, and 2100
2. Prioritize projects that address the impacts and root causes of the changes
3. Change finance options to address the changes
Chris Choo is a planner for sea level rise in Marin County.
A: First, the Bay Area Czar should have the power of the purse to fund projects, incentivizing regional and local collaboration and community engagement. Second, the Czar should have the authority to initiate the override of certain regulatory requirements if a given project demonstrated benefits that justified the action. Third, the Czar should have the power to veto any development in BCDC jurisdiction that did not demonstrate (and fund) a 50-year plan for resilience against sea level rise.
Douglas Wallace is a sustainability consultant.