Assistance with Pescadero & Butano Creeks Water Quality TMDL

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In May 2019 the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) established a regulatory action plan called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, for sediment entering Pescadero and Butano Creeks. Certain requirements in the TMDL apply to properties with non-grazing farmland of ≥ 5-acres, and/or grazing land of ≥ 50-acres. By May 2023, owners of these properties must provide the Regional Board with a report that includes an inventory and assessment of sites and practices on their properties that may deliver sediment to streams, as well as a prioritized list and schedule of actions to address relevant sediment sources. The RCD has been coordinating with Regional Board staff to understand and clarify what is expected for farms and ranches so that we can help you with these planning and prioritizing steps.

For more information or to sign up for assistance contact RCD Project Manager, Jeff Raifsnider (650) 712-7765 x123, jeff@sanmateoRCD.org

We have funding to offer this help free-of-charge to the first 10 eligible properties!

 

Pescadero-Butano Watershed

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – PESCADERO and BUTANO CREEKS WATERSHED TMDL

 

What does TMDL mean?  TMDL stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. It is a water quality regulation that sets limit on the amount of a certain pollutant (e.g., bacteria, nitrogen, sediment, etc) that enters a waterbody (e.g., creek, river, lake). The purpose of a TMDL is to ensure that the “beneficial” uses of that waterbody, such as recreation and habitat, are protected. The regulation includes an implementation plan with required actions for public and private landowners to reduce pollutant levels below the TMDL.

What is this new regulation?  In May 2019, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) set a target TMDL for sediment entering the Pescadero and Butano Creeks watershed, as well as an implementation plan for achieving this TMDL. The TMDL background report and plan (prepared by the Regional Board) can be found here.

What is a watershed?  A watershed is all of the land that drains to a particular watercourse or body of water. The Pescadero and Butano Creeks watershed drains to Pescadero Marsh. The watershed consists of the land that where water (e.g., rainfall) flows into Pescadero and Butano Creeks, but also the land that drains into the tributary creeks (e.g., Bradley and Honsinger Creeks) that then feed into Pescadero and Butano Creeks. (See map.)

Does this regulation affect me?  Certain requirements in the TMDL implementation plan apply to properties inside the Pescadero-Butano watershed, with non-grazing farmland of > 5-acres, and/or grazing land of > 50-acres.

What am I required to do?  By May 2023, owners of properties in the Pescadero and Butano Creeks watershed must provide the Regional Board with a report that includes an inventory and assessment of sites and practices on their property that may deliver sediment to streams.  Landowners must also provide a prioritized list with a schedule of actions that will address those sediment sources.

By when am I required to do this?  Landowners are required to submit their reports to the Regional board by May of 2023.  The RCD recommends that landowners who wish to get assistance from the RCD, request that assistance as soon as possible to provide themselves adequate time while avoiding potential backlogs of late requests.

How can I get help with this?  The RCD has been coordinating with Regional Board staff to understand and clarify what is expected for farms and ranches so that we can help landowners with these planning and prioritizing steps. We have funding to provide this technical assistance free of charge to the first 10 eligible properties.  Landowners can contact Project Manager, Jeff Raifsnider at jeff@sanmateoRCD.org or (650) 712-7765 x123 to learn more and to schedule assistance from the RCD.  

What is in the report? The report will include an inventory and assessment of sites on the property that have a potential for delivering sediment to the stream network.  The report can include recommended best management practices (BMPs) for remediation of potential sedimentation problems and/or an assessment that any given site is not likely to pose sedimentation problems.  The RCD is available to assist landowners with the inventory and assessment of sites and with generating the report that the landowner can then submit to the Regional Board.

What areas do the reports focus on?  The reports focus primarily on private roads, cropland and pastureland within a 200-foot buffer area that is adjacent to the creek network.  Areas outside the 200-foot buffer will also be assessed if these areas pose sedimentation problems for the creek network. 

What are examples of potential sedimentation problems?  Examples of these are blocked, damaged or undersized road culverts, perched sediments in burn scar areas, and actively eroding cropland and pastureland that shows signs of delivering sediment to the creek network.

If I have a problem on my property, will the RCD report me or write me a ticket?  No. The RCD is non-regulatory.  We provide assistance to landowners on a voluntary basis.  Our recommendations are not required to be followed.

Will I need to install expensive practices?  The RCD works to recommend the most cost-effective solutions to address landowners’ natural resource management issues, and best fit landowners’ management goals.

What are Best Management Practices (also called BMPs)?  BMPs are effective and practical methods that prevent or reduce sediment, nutrients, pesticides and other pollutants from entering surface or ground water.

What is the Regional Board?  This is the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.  The Regional Board is the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that water quality goals and requirements established in federal and state laws, such the U.S. Clean Water Act and CA Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, are met in the Pescadero and Butano Creeks watershed. In this role, the Regional Board established the sediment TMDL regulation for this watershed, and has responsibility and authority for ensuring compliance.  The Regional Board’s website is https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/sanfranciscobay/

 

Additional Information:

Regional Water Quality Control Board: Pescadero and Butano Creeks Watershed Sediment TMDL

San Mateo RCD Rural Roads Assistance