Zone 1 Statement of Proposed Action: March 21, 2020

Mar 21 2020

Due to the Shelter in Place Order and COVID-19 related concerns, the tentatively scheduled April 8, 2020 Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District Flood Zone 1 Advisory Board Meeting is canceled. In lieu of meeting this Statement of Proposed Action dated March 21, 2020 and expiring April 20, 2020 is presenting actions for consideration.

Statement of Proposed Action

According to the California Water Code, Section 68-6.2 Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (District) staff submits this Statement of Proposed Action to provide any Zone 1 Advisory Board (AB) member an opportunity to respond or provide written comment on the item outlined below within the next 30 days (expires on April 20, 2020).

Any individual AB member may contact the District operations manager, Hannah Lee at (415) 342-5033 or to request an AB meeting in order to discuss any items related to the zone. To comply with Brown Act requirements, all meetings of a quorum of AB members to discuss Zone business must be publicly noticed.

Item 1. Zone 1 FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 Baseline Budget

The Zone 1 baseline budget for FY 2020-2021 (begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2021) and FY 2021-2022 will be presented to the District Board of Supervisors later this year in May and June. Baseline budgets are intended to be relatively consistent year to year and do not include major project expenses. Major projects will require separate actions from the AB and District BOS to adjust the budget as needed. Because Zone 1 carries out a large periodic maintenance effort, an administrative designation is being proposed which sets aside $500,000 per year to save up for the next sediment removal episode (estimated for 2024). 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. See attached baseline budget summary.

Recommended Action

Recommend that the District Board of Supervisors approve the proposed baseline budget for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Item 2. Zone 1 Projects

See the previous Staff Reports and minutes for additional background and more details on these projects.

Measure AA SF Bay Restoration Authority – Deer Island Basin Complex Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project – Design

The SF Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA) Governing Board approved funding design, preparation of construction plans and specifications and permitting for the first phase of Deer Island Basin Tidal Wetlands Complex Restoration Project. The District’s Deer Island Basin Complex includes both the Deer Island Basin and the two stormwater ponds (Ducks Bill and Herons Beak) along Novato Creek as shown on the map below.

Following a solicitation for proposals, competitive selection, and negotiation, the cost for the proposed scope exceeded available budget. Staff worked with SFBRA staff to modify the scope to scale back the design for the Deer Island Basin restoration element to a preliminary design level while leaving the scope for the restoration of the two ponds adjacent to Novato Creek unchanged. Restoration of the two ponds would effectively widen Novato Creek and increase the floodplain in that location. The cost for this reduced scope still exceeds the $630,000 grant by $108,540 which must come from Flood Control Zone 1 funds.

It is estimated that the design will be completed by 2021, with intermediate results and products to be presented through the watershed web site, Flood Control Zone 1 Advisory Board meetings, and community meetings. Additional funds, which are currently not identified, would be needed for actual construction of the project. Construction is likely to cost several millions of dollars, but the cost estimate will be refined as part of the final design.

Simmons Slough Water Management System

This project involves installation of a new pump station at the current site of a portable diesel pump at the downstream end of Simmons Slough at Novato Creek across from Bel Marin Keys. Staff are working with PG&E to install new power lines to the proposed pump station. The project also includes upgrades to several water management structures upstream of State Route 37 which would benefit habitat managed by Marin Audubon (a key grant condition) as well as reduce the frequency of flooding on the highway. The Zone has $1.45 million available through the State grant and may need to contribute up to another $1.5 million in local funds. If bids come in higher than available funding, some of the water management structures not related to the wetland enhancement area may be excluded from construction this year. On April 21, 2020 the construction plans and specifications will be brought to the District Board of Supervisors for approval and advertisement to contractors. If all permits are received before May 18 then bids will be opened on May 21 (otherwise the opening will be delayed until at least 3 days after all permits are received). The construction work must be completed by Fall 2020 with a final completion
date for the project for reporting extended by one year until early 2021 and the project is currently on-track to meet this schedule.

The Engineer’s Estimate for this project is now $2.2 million for the base bid, which includes the pump station and specific water control structures that benefit Audubon property habitat upstream. Additional bid additive items are estimated at $700,000 to construct. Assuming the 2020 Novato Creek Sediment Removal bids come in around the engineers estimate of $1,400,000 the current Zone 1 construction budget for FY 2019-2020 is only sufficient to cover the base bid at the engineer’s estimate amount.

Recommended Action

  1. Recommend the District Board of Supervisors cap the maximum amount to earmark for Simmons Slough at $2.9 million (may involve increasing budget appropriations up to $700,000 depending on bid prices).
  2. Recommend staff request additional funding from Caltrans to fund the bid additive items as State Route 37 would be the primary beneficiary of those components. In the absence of outside funding, the bid additive items would only be approved if they fit within the budget cap.

Novato Creek Sediment Removal (2020)

For several decades in order to maintain the design capacity of the Novato Creek Flood Control Project, sediment has been removed every four years from Novato Creek, Warner Creek, and Arroyo Avichi between approximately Diablo Ave and the SMART railroad crossing downstream of Rowland Way. The most recent sediment removal episode occurred in 2016 when some sediment was beneficially reused on a proposed future ecotone levee in Deer Island Basin. On April 21, 2020 staff will request the District Board of Supervisors approve the construction plans and specifications including beneficial reuse of all the sediment within the Deer Island Basin Complex to support future wetland restoration projects. Bids will be opened on May 22 if environmental permits are approved in time. Construction work would occur between July 6 and October 15, weather permitting.

Stetson Engineers, Inc. completed a survey of the upper reaches of the Novato Creek Sediment Removal sections and we are finalizing a March 2020 bathymetric survey of the lower reaches, in order to refine an existing hydraulic model. Using recent countywide LiDAR data Stetson is also adding the Arroyo Avichi-Baccaglio-Scottsdale-Lynwood drainage and bypass system to the model. This refined HEC-RAS model is not only being used for the design of the Deer Island Basin Complex Wetland Restoration, it is also be used to help determine if reducing the footprint of the sediment removal may provide a similar level of flood control protection while reducing costs and temporary habitat impacts. The modeled alternative sediment removal footprints are being incorporated as bid-deduct items so that the scope of the project may be reduced should it be shown there is insignificant benefit and/or construction bids are too high.

Recommended Action

Recommend the District Board of Supervisors cap the maximum amount to earmark for the 2020 Novato Creek Sediment Removal at $2 million (may involve increasing budget appropriations by up to $600,000 depending on bid prices); in the event
that all bids come in higher than the engineers estimate plus contingency of $1.6 million, the sediment removal footprint would be reduced in order to cut costs only if the analysis being provided by Stetson shows that there are no measurable negative impacts by reducing the footprint.

Note: the sum of potential increase in budget appropriations by these two actions in Items 2.b) and c) is $1.3 million, which may necessitate a short-term loan of about $600,000 until grant reimbursements are received over the next 1-2 years.

Lynwood Pump Station Reconstruction

This project to reconstruct the over 50-year old Lynwood Pump Station will increase system capacity, upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems to current standards, include a new motor control center equipped with a warning and alarm system and add an automated system to switch power to an emergency generator so that the pump station may continue to function in the event of a power outage. Every year the Lynwood Pump Station experiences several power outages, and these outages are unknown unless maintenance personnel are physically at the pump station to observe that the power is not available. Upgrading the Pump Station to an automated system would potentially prevent the loss of hours of critical continued pumping in the event of power outages between storm patrol inspections.

Traditionally project management for Zone 1 projects is handled by Marin County Public Works Water Resources Division engineering staff. Due to several other Water Resources division projects scheduled to go out for construction this summer and not enough available staff in Water Resources or Engineering, we recommend putting this project on hold until after construction at Simmons Slough Water Management System project is complete (Item 5.b above). This fall we will work on preparing final plans and specifications for this project, which were originally drafted in 2005, updated for a grant application in 2017, and continue to be update in 2019 by staff; and work will begin to obtain regulatory permits. We will return to your board in November regarding recommended budget adjustments to support further project development and construction.

Item 3. Operations and Maintenance Update

See the February 5, 2020 staff report for recent updates. The annual report to the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) for 2019 Marin creek maintenance is now posted. Staff are evaluating maintenance needs in order to provide RWQCB notification of this summer’s anticipated program.

Item 4. City of Novato Storm Drain Master Plan

The City of Novato delayed their plans to bring the Storm Drain Master Plan to the Novato City Council in February. Because the City’s public meeting about the Draft Storm Drain Master Plan Report in 2016 was only attended by Flood District staff, on February 19 they sent the draft report directly to the Old Town Novato Flood Group so residents have an opportunity to review it prior to the Council adopting.

Item 5. Schedule 2020 Meeting Dates

Due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19 the tentatively scheduled April 8th advisory board meeting is being canceled and no other meetings are anticipated this spring unless specifically requested by the advisory board chairperson.

District staff anticipate another meeting may be needed on November 5 after Simmons Slough Water Management Project and the Novato Creek Sediment Removal Project construction is completed and costs are known. At that time Lynwood Pump Station’s reconstruction can be discussed with a better understanding of actual funding constraints.

Additional special meetings may be called by the District Manager when District business needs so dictate. Special meetings may also be called at the request of the Advisory Board Chairperson.

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