October 2013

 By William W. Abbott

Griffith v. Pajaro Valley Water Mgt. Agency (October 14, 2013) ___ Cal.App.4th ___. 

The long saga of the groundwater augmentation strategy for Pajaro Valley in Santa Cruz County has reached its next, and possibly final stopping point. The underlying saga is a telltale forecast of what lies ahead for California, with the inevitable conflicts generated by resource allocation and management. In Griffith, the specific conflict stems from the intersection of groundwater management strategies designed in part to better manage water resources and to reduce saltwater intrusion with the citizen rights created by Proposition 218.

Continue Reading Court Affirms Groundwater Augmentation Charge Exempt From Proposition 218 As A Water Service Charge

By Glen Hansen

In September 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a draft rule to clarify the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review. The proposed rule is designed to provide greater consistency, certainty, and predictability nationwide in determining what are “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule includes exclusions from Clean Water Act jurisdiction for:

•         Non-tidal drainage, including tiles, and irrigation ditches excavated on dry land.

•         Artificially irrigated areas that would be dry if irrigation stops.

•         Artificial lakes or ponds used for purposes such as stock watering or irrigation.

•         Areas artificially flooded for rice growing.

•         Artificial ornamental waters created for primarily aesthetic reasons.

•         Water-filled depressions created as a result of construction activity.

•         Pits excavated in uplands for fill, sand, or gravel that fill with water.

The draft rule takes into consideration the draft science report titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters,” which presents a review and synthesis of peer reviewed scientific literature. EPA’s independent Science Advisory Board is soliciting public comment and will hold a public peer review meeting later this year. That report will eventually provide a scientific basis needed to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction, including a description of the factors that influence connectivity and the mechanisms by which connected waters affect downstream waters.

For more information:

http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm;

http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=238345

Glen Hansen is senior counsel at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues. 

Abbott & Kindermann, LLP is pleased to announce an upcoming seminar at which Diane Kindermann Henderson will be speaking.  As Ms. Kindermann’s guest, you are eligible for 20% off the registration fee!

Proactive Subdivision Map and Entitlement Strategies Post-Recession
November 19, 2013
Sacramento, CA
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Discount code: W5788086
Priority code: 15999

 

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (“CVRWQCB”) adopted new waste discharge requirements within the Tulare Lake Basin area on September 19, 2013, in order to protect ground and surface water from irrigated agricultural discharges.  The area impacted by the new requirements includes farmland in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties.  The requirements apply to farmers in the region who join an approved third-party group or coalition.  (Those growers who do not join a coalition will be directly regulated by the CVRWQCB, and will be subject to higher costs.)  Under the new rules, farmers will be required to report their water quality protection practices to their respective coalition.  Growers who have not already implemented practices that protect water quality will be required to improve their practices.  All growers will be required to prepare nitrogen management plans. Farmers whose land lies above the most vulnerable groundwater aquifers must submit information to the coalition on their nitrogen use efficiency. The coalition will prepare technical reports, conduct required studies and monitoring, and submit reports to the Central Valley Water Board on behalf of the growers.

For more information:

http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb5/press_room/announcements/press_releases/r5_2013sep24_ilrptlbwdr_press.pdf

http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/09/19/3507274/state-oks-new-water-rules-for.html

http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x558589998/State-mandates-additional-groundwater-monitoring-in-valley

By William W. Abbott, Diane Kindermann, Katherine J. Hart and Glen Hansen

Welcome to Abbott & Kindermann’s 2013 CEQA update. It is cumulative for the year, with the newest cases issued in the 3rd quarter are shown in italics and bold type face.

To review our prior annual summaries, click here: 2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.       IS IT A PROJECT?

A.    California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1171.  (Page 1)

B.     Neighbors for Fair Planning v. City and County of San Francisco (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 540. (Page 1)

II.      EXEMPTIONS

A.    Michael May v. City of Milpitas (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 1307. (Page 3)

B.     Golden Gate Land Holding, LLC v. East Bay Regional Park District (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 353. (Page 3)

C.     Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court 210 Cal.App.4th 1006. (Page 6)

D.    Concerned Dublin Citizens v. City of Dublin (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1301. (Page 6)

III.     NEGATIVE DECLARATIONS

A.    Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. County of Marin (2013) 218 Cal. App. 4th 209. (Page 8)

B.     Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending v. San Diego Unified School District (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 1013. (Page 9)

IV.     ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORTS

A.    San Diego Citizenry Group v. County of San Diego (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 1. (Page 9)

B.     Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (2013) 57 Cal.4th 439. (Page 12)

C.     Friends of Oroville v. City of Oroville (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 832. (Page 14)

D.    Masonite Corporation v. County of Mendocino (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 230. (Page15)

E.     Save Panoche Valley v. San Benito County (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 503. (Page 18)

F.      North Coast Rivers Alliance et al. v. Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 614. (Page 20)

G.    Save Cuyama Valley v. County of Santa Barbara(2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 1059. (Page 24)

V.     FUNCTIONALLY EQUIVALENT CEQA PROCEEDINGS

A.    POET, LLC v. State Air Resources Board (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th. 681. (Page 26)

VI.     LITIGATION

A.    Citizens for Ceres v. Superior Court (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 889. (Page 27)

B.     San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 1167. (Page 29)

C.     Comunidad En Accion v. L.A. City Council (2013) ___ Cal.App.4th ___. (Page 30)

D.    Alliance for the Protection of the Auburn Community Environment v. County of Placer (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 25. (Page 31)

Click here to access the complete update.