The San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD), as Lead Agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), issued a Notice of Exemption for the Butano Creek Channel Stabilization and Habitat Enhancement at Cloverdale Road Bridge. This project is exempt under CEQA according to Class 33, Section 15333: Small Habitat Restoration Projects. The project is a habitat enhancement project and has been explicitly designed to address known limiting factors and impairments in Butano Creek, including incision, bank erosion, and a lack of channel complexity. Instream habitat restoration and bank stabilization are actions covered under this Categorical Exemption (15333). This project is less than 5 acres and will not result in any significant adverse effects on the environment. The Project will serve the public interest and welfare by reducing the risk of continued erosion and incision at the Cloverdale Road Bridge piers, stabilizing the channel bank, and enhancing water quality and aquatic habitat for several special-status species including California red-legged frog, coho, steelhead, and San Francisco garter snake.
The Project will address channel incision and instream habitat complexity along the reach of Butano Creek at the Cloverdale Road bridge. The project will address multiple benefits through process-based ecosystem restoration. Reversing incision will directly address significant structural deficiencies related to pier scour and bank erosion at the bridge. Addressing bank failures at the bridge site will further reduce localized erosion into Butano Creek, which is listed under the State’s 303d list as impaired for sediment. The project will also improve instream habitat complexity by providing enhancement in terms of pools, cover, and refugia for salmonids and other aquatic species (e.g., California red-legged frog) along the 625-ft project reach of Butano Creek. The Project will result in greatly improved habitat conditions in terms of erosion, sediment supply, sediment storage, and instream habitat complexity, while providing the additional benefits of increased structural integrity for the bridge and improved access/egress for the town of Pescadero. The Project will accomplish all of this by raising the channel bed with engineered stream material, creating new pools and large woody debris structures in the restored channel, using a mix of bio-engineered and engineered solutions for bank stabilization, and implementing an aggressive planting plan that includes willow stake plantings and container planting along the banks within the project reach.
The Notice of Exemption and Certificate of Determination of Exemption/Exclusion from Environmental Review can be found on the Office of Planning and Research CEQAnet Web Portal here (State Clearinghouse Number 2020110334).