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County Service Area 6: Gallinas Creek Summer 2022 update

Posted on June 13, 2022


County Service Area 6 staff (CSA) continue to work with Marin County Parks (Parks) staff to design and permit the placement of dredge sediments from the South Fork of Gallinas creek as part of the McInnis Marsh Restoration Project as described in the 2021 update. As part of the restoration final design work, Marin County Parks (Parks) is still in discussions with Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (LGVSD) on how best to align projects being developed by both Parks and LGVSD on McInnis Marsh.

Discussions between Parks and LGVSD include the potential to share construction costs for the relocation of the sewer force main pipeline from Santa Venetia to the treatment plant. The plan to finalize the design and restore the marsh to tides cannot advance until these issues are resolved. Board members of LGVSD have indicated a desire to be directly involved in discussions and are forming a subcommittee of their Board to work directly with staff from the Sanitary District, Parks and the County.

In the interim, County staff are working closely with Parks to potentially beneficially reuse sediment from the CSA 6 South Fork Gallinas Creek dredging project in McInnis Marsh as a standalone project. Staff have developed a suite of new dredge sediment placement alternatives that both varies the sediment placement thickness (thin to thick) as well as targets locations that would be most beneficial to the threatened and endangered species currently found on-site like the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (SMHM) and thus provide ecological benefits to the site while discussion for the longer-term McInnis Marsh Restoration Project that includes tidal breaching continues.

In May 2022, CSA and Parks staff presented three stand-alone dredge sediment reuse alternatives to the group of permitting agencies (known as the BRRIT) and we are waiting for their initial response letter. Responses are typically provided approximately 60 days from the meeting (sometime in July or August 2022). It is certainly more difficult to permit or obtain grant funding for placement of dredge sediments without tidal breaching. Following review of the permitting agency response letter and review by staff, an update will be provided in Fall 2022 to discuss possible next steps.

Also note that in Spring 2022, LGVSD closed the possibility for placement of the dredge sediment in the fields located north of their treatment plant. The Sanitary District has entered into a study with US EPA to study water quality following biosolids placement in these fields. This decision was made after CSA staff had evaluated three disposal locations in these fields offered by LGVSD. Therefore, this disposal alternative is no longer viable and has been removed from future consideration.

Budget update

The CSA 6 reserve is approximately $2.9 M dollars collected at a rate of approximately $250,000 annually. CSA revenue is generated from the base ad-valorem property tax. CSA 6 residents do not pay any additional taxes as a result of being in the CSA, rather a portion of the 1% base tax is earmarked for dredging. Therefore, if the CSA is abandoned, CSA 6 members will not pay less taxes, just the portion reserved for the dredging would then go into other funds in the tax rate area.

We propose a Fall/Winter 2022 in-person meeting with the CSA 6 Advisory Board and community to discuss next steps and feedback from the permitting agencies. If dredge sediment placement into McInnis as a standalone project is not permittable (or costly due to permitting mitigation requirements) then other options would be presented and discussed at this public meeting for direction by the Board.

The County Administrator’s Office requested that the County Service Areas adopt a baseline budget for the beginning of each fiscal year that does not include major project expenses. Baseline budgets are intended to be relatively consistent year to year. Major project expenditures will require separate actions from the AB and District BOS to adjust the budget as needed. As usual, the approved budget may always be adjusted as necessary as priorities and cost estimates for projects and studies planned for this coming fiscal year are more clearly identified and reviewed with the advisory board. View the fiscal year 2022-23 baseline budget.

At this time, CSA 6 is working within the same services and supplies baseline budget that the Board adopted last year. Estimated expenses for this year are not expected to exceed $20,000 plus potentially $50,000 to $60.000 in consultant costs depending on the outcome of the on-going alternatives assessments and feedback from the permitting agencies. Following review of agency comments to McInnis proposal and our meeting with the Board regarding next steps, we may need to update this budget.

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