Assistance with Pescadero-Butano TMDL Compliance
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!
Q: What is the reason for this total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulation on sediment?
A: The Regional Board established this TMDL with the purpose of reducing the amount of sediment entering Pescadero and Butano Creeks because excess amounts of sediment harm water quality and habitat for federally-listed endangered coho salmon in these creeks.
Q: Does the TMDL only apply to agricultural (or working lands) properties?
A: No, it applies to all lands in the Pescadero-Butano watershed (including county and state-owned lands) and has specific requirements for different types of land uses. The RCD is specifically offering assistance to affected farms and ranches* to help ease the burden for compliance on these landowners. (*These are properties with non-grazing farmland of ≥ 5-acres, and/or grazing land of ≥ 50-acres.)
Q: What would be required for compliance on a farm or ranch?
A: For now, compliance involves submitting a report that has an inventory and assessment of sites and practices that may deliver sediment to streams, and a prioritized list and schedule of best management practices (BMPs) to address relevant sediment sources. Whether further action is required will depend on the individual property assessment, and if BMPs are needed to meet TMDL sediment reduction requirements. We anticipate that on most properties, the inventory and assessment will primarily focus on roads, and that needed BMPs will mostly address these sediment sources. In terms of further action, none may be necessary if there aren’t any potential sources of sediment that are relevant to the TMDL. Or, if BMPs are required, they could be as basic as cleaning out a plugged culvert to prevent diversion potential for stormflows. Or, they could be more involved, like replacing existing (or installing new) culverts or other drainage features.
Regional Water Quality Control Board: Pescadero and Butano Creeks Watershed Sediment TMDL