Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact EPA Pacific Southwest

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

California Nonpoint Source Program
Comments and Responses

June 1998
Walt Pettit, Executive Director
State Water Resources Control Board
and
Peter Douglas, Executive Director
California Coastal Commission
  1. Comment: We support NOAA and EPA's decision to approve the California Nonpoint Coastal Program and are prepared to use state statutes and policies to address Federal conditions. We are committed to improving, and where feasible, restoring the health of our state's coastal waters and habitat.

    Response: Thank you for your comment and commitment to program implementation.

  2. Comment: We would like the opportunity to work jointly with federal agencies to prepare the CNPCP Implementation strategy, and would welcome further discussions with you.

    Response: We would be glad to work with you on this effort.

  3. Comment: The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) does not agree with the inference that all CZARA requirements must be met everywhere at all times in order to yield effective environmental protection, but believes that we should focus limited resources on the most serious issues in targeted watersheds. The SWRCB also believes that the draft Findings do not correctly reflect California's strategy to address nonpoint source pollution. Specifically, the Findings do not adequately recognize the Board's current efforts to change from a programmatic to a watershed management approach through a Watershed Management Initiative (WMI), clearly supported by Governor Wilson's budgetary support in the next fiscal year. The SWRCB is committed to meeting CZARA requirements through a WMI process, its Chapters , and the annual work programs.

    Top of page

    Response: Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 (CZARA) requires that states with approved coastal management programs develop and implement coastal nonpoint programs to restore and protect coastal waters. The statute calls for the general implementation of management measures to achieve this objective, akin to the technology approach that was successful in reducing the impact of point sources of pollution. As such, the statute requires that management measures be implemented by sources of nonpoint pollution that could, individually or cumulatively, impact coastal waters.

    NOAA and EPA recognize that this mandate of the statute represents a major challenge for states in light of state and private resources available to implement this effort. NOAA and EPA recently developed a proposal for administrative changes to the coastal nonpoint program which were available for a 60 day public comment period. These proposed changes would provide states with up to 15 years to implement the coastal nonpoint program, and would allow states to prioritize these implementation efforts to address state-determined priorities. For California, this could mean prioritizing resources to address nonpoint sources in watersheds with active nonpoint pollution control programs. As noted in the Findings, NOAA and EPA recognize the WMI as a unique opportunity to address widespread implementation of the management measures.

  4. Comment: The Findings should reflect an understanding that the development and implementation of the CNPCP is to be coordinated between the State water quality and coastal management programs, and that long-term mechanisms to implement the management measures should be incorporated into both agency's programs. Please note that essential elements of the CNPCP are contained in the Watershed Management Initiative.

    Response: The Introduction to the Findings has been revised to recognize the joint involvement and responsibility of the SWRCB and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to implement the California coastal nonpoint program. NOAA and EPA understand that the Watershed Management Initiative (WMI) is an evolving effort to improve the State's water quality programs through a watershed approach and that the current WMI chapters do not explicitly address the CZARA management measures. As California's program is more fully developed through addressing the program approval conditions, we expect that the coastal nonpoint program will be coordinated with the application of the WMI.

  5. Comment: The California Coastal Commission staff has prepared and updated an internal Polluted Runoff Strategy to more fully articulate the Commission's role in addressing nonpoint source pollution issues. The Strategy includes several action items that would aid in facilitation of program implementation. The Findings do not fully address the role and authority that the Commission has in addressing land use and nonpoint source pollution issues that occur in or affect the coastal zone.

    Top of page


    Response: Clearly, the success of the coastal nonpoint program is contingent upon strong cooperation between the CCC and SWRCB, and taking maximum advantage of the full suite of programs and authorities available to these agencies. NOAA and EPA support the CCC's polluted runoff strategy as an important step in organizing the CCC's efforts to address nonpoint pollution. Clearly, the CCC has several important tools, particularly in the area of land use decision-making that should be applied to the control of nonpoint sources of pollution. In addition to its permitting and planning authority, the CCC has the unique ability under the Federal consistency provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act (section 307) to influence federal permits, and other actions by Federal agencies that could affect coastal resources.

    The Findings have been amended to include additional references to these tools. (See the section on marinas). Please keep in mind that the Findings are meant to document the decisions of NOAA and EPA regarding the approvability of the State coastal nonpoint program under section 6217, and provide a concise discussion of the reasoning behind the decisions. The decision document format limits our ability to provide comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the State's programs and authorities. Fortunately, this information is well presented in other documents, such as the CCC publication entitled Procedural Guidance Manual: Addressing Polluted Runoff in the California Coastal Zone.

  6. Comment: On page 3 of the draft Findings, there is a reference to Fish and Game Code Section 5650. The Section was recently amended and may need to be further reviewed to determine how those changes affect the CNPCP.

    Response: NOAA and EPA ask that the State provide any information that may impact the State's coastal nonpoint program.

  7. Comment: On page 7 of the draft, it should be recognized that, after certification of a local government's Local Coastal Plan, certain actions taken by the local government on a Coastal Development Permit can be appealed to the Commission.

    Response: The text has been modified to recognize this.

  8. Comment: In terms of urban development, we agree that it is an area that warrants focused efforts. The Commission is addressing this issue somewhat through participation in Section 319 funded Model Urban Runoff Program (MURP) in Monterey and Santa

    Cruz. One goal of MURP is to prepare changes to the California Environmental Quality Act Environmental Checklist.

    Response: No response required.

    Top of page


  9. Comment: The SWRCB and the CCC are working to ensure that the public is an active participant in CNPCP implementation. This includes efforts to provide information over the Internet and beginning the development of an online Geographic Information System that will make water quality, water rights, and other water resources information available. In addition, the Technical Advisory Committee process has been beneficial and should be continued to ensure public participation in the CNPCP implementation.

    Response: NOAA and EPA acknowledge the State's efforts to ensure public participation in the development and implementation of the coastal nonpoint program, and encourage the State to continue these effort, including the involvement of knowledgeable individuals through the Technical Advisory Committees.

  10. Comment: Page 13 of the draft Findings should be amended in order to reflect that information should be provided to local governments and agencies in addition to landowners.

    Response: The requested changes have been made.

  11. Comment: The California Coastal Commission and the SWRCB are active participants and supporters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program, and believe that this program can be used as a mechanism to aid in implementation of the CNPCP in the Central Coast area. This would involve adding additional management measures to those watershed areas draining into Monterey Bay, which would require additional technical, financial, and other applicable support from federal agencies including EPA and NOAA. We also believe that the participation of other local and state agencies will determine the degree to which we are successful in implementing the CZARA.

    Response: NOAA and EPA commend the State's efforts and encourage the State to continue its efforts to successfully implement a State program to protect and restore coastal waters.


    Comments by:
    Marcia Arrant, Senior Transportation Engineer
    California Department of Transportation

    Top of page


  12. Comment: In the discussion of roads, highways, and bridges, the Findings note that the California Department of Transportation is the lead agency for construction, operation and maintenance of highways, but notes that the California submittal has not identified the specific aspects of the Caltrans program that address the management measures. The
    commenter indicates that the appropriate documents have been forwarded to the CCC and the SWRCB.

    Response: NOAA and EPA will be happy to review these materials when they are submitted as part of the coastal nonpoint program by the State.

  13. Comment: The California Department of Transportation should be included in efforts by the State to coordinate program implementation.

    Response: NOAA and EPA expect that the Department of Transportation will be a key player in the successful implementation of the California Coastal Nonpoint Program.

  14. Comment: Will designation of Critical Coastal Areas require controls beyond technology-based management measures (i.e., BMPs)? This should be clarified especially if permanent structural controls will be required in the designated areas (sedimentation basins, filters, etc.)

    Response: It will be the responsibility of the State to identify the additional management measures that will be necessary to protect and restore coastal water quality adjacent to Critical Coastal Areas.

  15. Comment: The Environmental Assessment does not address the potential overlap or redundancy between the section 6217 and Clean Water Act section 319 programs. Caltrans is concerned that 6217 will require a new layer of additional requirements that will create a new parallel program that will hinder the implementation of best management practices.


    Response: The 6217 program is to be implemented through changes to the State's 319
    and coastal management programs. Section 6217 is a mechanism to improve, not replace, these programs.

    Top of page


  16. Comment: The State intends to implement the 6217 requirements statewide. Does this mean that the Coastal Commission's Procedural Guidance Manual: Addressing Polluted Runoff in the California Coastal Zone will be applied statewide?

    Response: The 6217 program does not expand the geographic jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission.

  17. Comment: Caltrans has developed a statewide stormwater management plan, and requires the development of construction runoff control programs. Caltrans has developed several manuals that guide the construction of highways and related facilities, and include provisions for the application of best management practices. Given the existing tools that Caltrans has in place to address surface runoff, the finding that California's program does not include management measures for urban runoff from roads, highways, and bridges is not accurate.

    Response: Our findings are based on the information contained in the State's submittal, which did not include specific information on how the State, including Caltrans, met the management measures for roads, highways, and bridges. The comment letter identifies a range of authorities and mechanisms that could be useful for meeting these management measures. We encourage Caltrans to work closely with the SWRCB and CCC to see how these tools can be applied to meeting the condition.

  18. Comment: Caltrans believes that the State's program to control nonpoint pollution from urban sources is adequate. If NOAA and EPA believe that the state must develop and implement additional management measures for urban sources beyond those which are already in place, then these needed measures and authorities should be specifically described.

    Response: The findings are based on the State's submittal, and thus do not reflect programs and authorities that were not described in that document. The State is encouraged to submit existing authorities and mechanisms and describe how they will be applied to meet the requirements of section 6217.


    Comments by:
    Senator Dede Alpert
    39th District

    Top of page

    California State Senate

  19. Comment: Strongly supports many of the findings and conditions placed on the Program approval. However, the conditions may not be specific enough to guarantee that the program will be an adequate one at the end of the review period. Therefore, the commenter requests that additional conditions be added to the program. The proposed conditions should include more specific detail and direction to the state in terms of development and implementation of the management measures; set clear guidelines for the development and use of expedited schedules, including defined milestones and accountability to the public; include appropriate specific management measures; include a requirement for implementation; call for the development of clear, automatic triggers for enforcement actions and a requirement that the state report annually on the use of the enforcement authorities; specifically provide for public participation; require better coordination among programs; describe the role of the August 1997 Action Plan and require increased public participation in any renewal of the one-year Action Plan; and, condition the Program's use of the SWRCB's Watershed Management Initiative on significantly increased public outreach and involvement in the WMI process.

    Response: NOAA and EPA appreciate the stated support for this important effort. In July 1997, NOAA and EPA staff met with staff from the California Coastal Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board to lay out a more detailed plan for the full development of the state coastal nonpoint program (1997 Action Plan). This meeting resulted in an agreement which is intended to improve California's Nonpoint Source Porgram as well as assisting the State in meeting the requirements of section 6217. This agreement is currently being implemented by state staff. In particular, the SWRCB and the CCC are undertaking a review of the management measures and will prepare a 15year implementation strategy and more detailed 5year implementation strategies. NOAA and EPA understand that the State intends to submit these documents for approval to address the coastal nonpoint program conditions, and that the State will also ask EPA to review these documents for approval as an Nonpoint Source Program "upgrade" as per the national guidance for Clean Water Act Section 319.

    Top of page


    In approving state coastal nonpoint programs, NOAA and EPA have focused on the adequacy of the state institutional structure to implement the coastal nonpoint program.

    Therefore, we are unable to include in the California Findings the type of implementation conditions requested. However, NOAA and EPA will undertake review of state implementation of their programs through the formal evaluation process required under section 312 of the Coastal Zone Management Act and through the annual work programs developed by states as part of the Clean Water Act section 319 programs. NOAA and EPA Region 9 have agreed to use these tools and accompanying funding to encourage the state to effectively implement its coastal nonpoint program.


    Comments by:
    Kevin Shelley, Assembly Member
    12th District, California Legislature

  20. Comment: Strongly supports many of the findings and conditions placed on the Program approval. NOAA and EPA should be commended on their efforts to get the state to develop management measures that meet federal requirements, especially with the creation of an implementation strategy. However, the conditions may not be specific enough to guarantee that the program will be an adequate one at the end of the review period. Therefore, the commenter requests that additional conditions be added to the program. The proposed conditions should include more specific detail and direction to the state in terms of development and implementation of the management measures; set clear guidelines for the development and use of expedited schedules, including defined milestones and accountability to the public; include appropriate specific management measures; include a requirement for implementation; call for the development of clear, automatic triggers for enforcement actions and a requirement that the state report annually on the use of the enforcement authorities; specifically provide for public participation; require better coordination among programs; describe the role of the August 1997 Action Plan and require increased public participation in any renewal of the one-year Action Plan; and, condition the Program's use of the SWRCB's Watershed Management Initiative on significantly increased public outreach and involvement in the WMI process.

    Response: NOAA and EPA appreciate the stated support for this important effort. Please see response to Senator Alpert above.

    Top of page


    Comments by:
    Center for Marine Conservation &
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    representing a number of environmental interests



    General Comments

  21. Comment: The conditions of program approval must provide more detail and direction to the state, particularly with respect to program implementation. Without more detail, including appropriate detail in the Findings and Rationale sections, there is no effective way for the public to judge whether the state has met the condition at the end of the review period. The commenter requests that NOAA and EPA add a specific requirement to the conditions that the state begin implementation of the management measures and implementation strategies within two years of conditional approval and to commit to final implementation of the Program in accordance with the statute and appropriate guidance.

    Response: Section 6217 requires states to develop and implement programs that provide for the application of management measures to restore and protect coastal water quality. NOAA's and EPA's approval decision is based upon whether a state includes the management measure in its program and whether the state has the necessary enforceable policies and mechanisms to ensure the implementation of management measures. Section 6217 does not require the prior implementation of measures for program approval. Thus, it would not be appropriate to condition approval on implementation.

    The Findings are meant to document NOAA's and EPA's approval decisions and provide a concise discussion of the reasoning behind the decisions. The decision document format limits our ability to provide comprehensive and detailed descriptions of a state's programs and authorities. (See response to comment #19 above.) At the end of the conditional approval period, NOAA and EPA will publish a notice of availability of the final approval decision for each of the coastal nonpoint programs. The notice will include an opportunity for public comment on the decision to approve or disapprove the program, including whether conditions have been met.

    NOAA and EPA expect that states will implement the management measures for new sources as they occur. Under NOAA's and EPA's proposed administrative changes, states will have up to 15 years to implement their coastal nonpoint programs. (See discussion under comment #22 below.)

  22. Comment: The conditions should strengthen the public's ability to track state compliance with CZARA Section 6217. The Findings and Conditions should set an expeditious time frame for compliance with both development and implementation of the Program, should identify the type of milestones that the state should be setting, and should emphasize heavily the need for increased public outreach.

    Response: States are required to complete full development of their programs within 5 years of conditional approval.

    NOAA and EPA provided states with a document entitled "Draft Coastal Nonpoint Program Findings, Section XIV: Strategy and Evaluation of Backup Authorities," which described how NOAA and EPA would evaluate state progress over time. Development of a strategy is a required condition in cases where states have proposed the use of back-up authorities. Strategies will include milestones and specific goals for evaluating progress.

    Top of page


    Recently NOAA and EPA developed proposed administrative changes to the coastal nonpoint program which were noticed in the Federal Register for public review and comment. Under the proposed changes, states would develop a general plan to implement management measures and improve water quality within 15 years. States would be required to develop more specific 5 year strategies describing when and how program implementation will occur, including mechanisms for tracking and monitoring implementation. These plans will include interim milestones and benchmarks and will be updated every 5 years. The State's implementation of the program will be evaluated as part of the 312 evaluation process under the CZMA.

    Section 6217 requires public participation in all aspects of program development and implementation. NOAA and EPA have emphasized this requirement in the Findings. See comment # 27 below. Also, the CCC and the SWRCB are currently working to prepare implementation strategies that will be available to the public. Please see comment # 19 above.

  23. Comment: The conditions should address particular sources of runoff more specifically by providing information on the adequacy of the state's program submittal to address particular sources, e.g., the individual sources under the agriculture category.

    Response: Please see comments # 19 and 21 above.

  24. Comment: The conditions should provide clear, automatic enforcement triggers for moving from voluntary to greater enforcement of nonpoint source pollution controls. In addition, the conditions should require the state to provide annual reports on its use of cited enforcement authorities as a mechanism to assess the success of the program.

    Top of page

    Response: Please see comment 22 above. Under the proposed administrative changes to the coastal nonpoint program, states that seek full approval of voluntary and incentive-based programs, backed by existing enforcement authorities, will need to clearly describe the mechanisms that will link the agency implementing the voluntary programs and the enforcement agency. These mechanisms should include a description of how and when states would use enforcement mechanisms because voluntary efforts have been unsuccessful. NOAA and EPA will evaluate state implementation of their coastal nonpoint programs through both regular performance reports where state activities are supported through Clean Water Act or Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) funds, and through the evaluation process under section 312 of the CZMA.

  25. Comment: EPA and NOAA should integrate applicable provisions of the Action Plan developed for Vice President Gore's Clean Water Initiative into California's Findings and Conditions, e.g., the deadlines for program approvals.

    Response: NOAA and EPA intend to provide conditional approval to all 29 states and territory coastal nonpoint programs by June 30, 1998, as indicated in the Clean Water Action Plan. NOAA and EPA will work with the states to try to achieve full approval of their coastal nonpoint programs by December 31, 1999.

  26. Comment: The purpose and extent of the August 1997 "Action Plan" should be made clear.

    Response: The August 1997 Action Plan was jointly developed by staff form EPA Headquarters, EPA Region 9, NOAA, the CCC, and the SWRCB. It represents a course of action, which if completed by the State, would result in a coastal nonpoint program that would be fully approvable under section 6217. See response to comment #19 above.

  27. Comment: The State Board's "Watershed Management Initiative" should not be used as an implementation tool without significantly improved public involvement.

    Response: We share your concern, and have added language to highlight the 6217 requirement for public participation in program development and implementation.

    Top of page

    Specific Comments - Boundary

  28. Comment: We support the decision to apply the program statewide; however, the value of this decision is lost if the State adheres to the position that existing State authorities and activities meet the requirements of section 6217. The findings should highlight the fact that the boundary decision should not be used as an excuse to dilute the program.

    Response: The concern regarding the reliance on existing authorities would continue regardless of the geographic scope of the program. The program requires the implementation of management measures throughout the management area. Because of this underlying requirement and the need to keep the findings brief, NOAA and EPA have chosen not to include additional discussion regarding the boundary in the Findings.

    Specific Comments - Agriculture

  29. Comment: We agree with the findings that the State's program submittal does not include management measures in compliance with the 6217(g) guidance, and that the State has not demonstrated the ability of the cited back-up authorities to ensure widespread implementation of the agricultural management measures. Nonetheless, without more detail tailored to each of the sources of agricultural runoff, the condition amounts to little more than a two year time extension, with little assurance that the final program will show any improvement over the original submittal. Including specific, appropriate management measures as conditions to program approval will significantly improve the potential for the program to be successful in controlling nonpoint sources of pollution. Thus, NOAA and EPA should ensure that the most promising management measures from the TAC reports are included in the final findings.

    Response: See response to comment #22 for a discussion on the use of back-up authorities and implementation strategies.

    As required by section 6217, a state must meet the management measures developed pursuant to section 6217(g). States have a fair amount of flexibility in how they meet the 6217(g) management measures.

    NOAA and EPA strongly support the TAC process. It provided a mechanism that included affected parties in a wide ranging effort to review and improve the State's approach to controlling nonpoint sources of pollution. The State should not lose the support and recommendations for improvements generated through this process. We urge the State to use these recommendations as a starting point for addressing the condition and beginning program implementation. As discussed above, implementation requirements cannot be included within the conditions for approval.

  30. Comment: The condition that the State develop a "strategy for implementation" should take the next step and require implementation of management measures within an identified time frame.

    Top of page

    Response: See response to comments #21 and 22 above.

  31. Comment: The Nutrient TAC agreed that all growers should participate in a nutrient management assessment program. The submittal ignores the TAC recommendations and federal requirements, and just discusses various educational programs without addressing how they meet the measure. At a minimum, the Findings should require the State to implement a statewide nutrient management program rather than simply reference the TAC report.

    Response: See response to comment #29.

  32. Comment: The submittal discusses some of the State's efforts in this area, but fails to discuss how these efforts comport with the 6217(g) management measures. The Pesticide TAC called for the SWRCB to ensure that pesticide users practice the "core" integrated pest management approach, and for the strengthening and increased use of the State's "three tier" nonpoint source enforcement system. The findings should highlight these issues and approval should be conditioned upon successful achievement of these recommended actions.

    Response: See response to comment #29.

  33. Comment: In terms of grazing, the submittal discusses the State's Rangeland Plan, developed by the Rangeland TAC. However, the submittal indicates that the State will not commit to implementing this plan. NOAA and EPA should review this issue, and condition approval upon the State's commitment to a strong plan to control runoff from grazing activities.

    Response: The conditional approval requires the State to include in its program management measures in conformity with the grazing management measure. The State is also required to develop a strategy to implement the agricultural management measures throughout the 6217 management area. The work of the Rangeland TAC provides a strong basis for meeting these conditions.

    Also, please see the response to com

    Top of page

    ment #29.

  34. Comment: The State's authorities and programs regarding confined animal facilities are neither adequate nor well implemented. Thus, NOAA and EPA should reconsider their approval of the State's program for confined animal facilities, and condition approval upon evidence that the State is actually implementing the program on a statewide basis and incorporation of new strategies to address this source category.

    Response: NOAA and EPA have found that 23 Cal. Code Reg. 2560-2565 include requirements that are in conformity with the 6217(g) management measures for confined animal facilities, and provide California with the authority to implement those requirements. (See discussion of approval requirements in response to comment #21 above.) NOAA and EPA will review the implementation of the California coastal nonpoint program through the program evaluation process established under section 312 of the CZMA. (See response to comment #24 above.)

    Specific Comments - Forestry

  35. Comment: While existing State authorities may meet the 6217(g) measures on paper, current implementation of these authorities is inadequate. NOAA and EPA should add a condition to the findings that requires the State to: describe the actual use of existing programs and authorities; improve implementation of those programs as needed; and develop and implement additional management measures. It is confusing that the discussion of additional management measures appears at the end of findings, and is
    separate from the forestry findings. This appears to minimize the importance of adopting additional measures.

    Response: The requested information is required as part of the State's strategy. The findings are presented in a standardized format that follows the order of the Program Guidance, and is intended provide a systematic look at how a state meets the various requirements. This also helps provides consistency between the findings for the 29 states, territories, and commonwealths. The location of a particular condition within the findings document does not denote any level of priority.

    Top of page


    Specific Comments - Urban

  36. Comment: We strongly agree with the finding that the submittal does not include management measures in conformity with the (g) guidance, nor does it demonstrate the ability of the referenced programs and authorities to ensure widespread implementation of the management measures. Nonetheless, we urge NOAA and EPA to provide greater detail and guidance, that is tailored to each of the different sources.

    Response: See the response to comments # 19 and 21 above.

  37. Comment: NOAA and EPA should add a condition that requires the State to actually implement the management measures within a specific time frame, rather than just requiring development of a strategy.

    Response: Please see response to comment #21 above. As discussed in the response to comment #19 above, prior implementation is not a criterion for program approval.

    Specific Comments - Urban: New Development, Watershed Protection, Existing Development, Site Development, Construction Site Erosion and Sediment Control, Construction Site Chemical Control, New and Operating On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems (OSDS), and Pollution Prevention

  38. Comment: NOAA and EPA should condition approval upon implementation of specific improvements, including TAC recommendations, to the State's program for controlling these sources of runoff.

    Response: See responses to comments # 19 and 29 above.

  39. Comment: The findings correctly recognize the potential benefits of incorporating consideration of nonpoint pollution control into the General Plan Guidelines and the CEQA Environmental Checklist. To increase the likelihood that these improvements will be implemented, NOAA and EPA should include them in the conditions for approval.

    Response: See the responses to comments #22 and #29.

  40. Comment: Wherever possible, NOAA and EPA should include specific TAC recommendations as part of the conditions for program approval.

    Response: See the response to comment #29 above.

  41. Comment: The submittal ignores several excellent TAC recommendations regarding OSDS. These should be included as conditions of approval.

    Response: See the response to comment #29.

    Specific Comments - Urban: Roads, Highways, and Bridges

  42. Comment: NOAA and EPA cite the Porter-Cologne Act as back-up authority to implement the measures for roads, highways, and bridges. NOAA and EPA should condition approval upon the State's demonstration of how it actually uses this authority to control runoff related to roads, highways, and bridges.

    Response: See the response to comment #22 for a discussion of what is expected from a state when it proposes to use back-up authorities.

    Top of page

  43. Comment: The findings note that the submittal fails to describe the role of Caltrans in controlling runoff under this category. NOAA and EPA should be aware that Caltrans has been sued repeatedly for failure to comply with similar management measures. To increase the likelihood that the State will improve its program, NOAA and EPA should include specific runoff control measures in the conditions for approval.

    Response: For information on this category, see the responses to the comments from Caltrans. Because they were not included in the submittal, NOAA and EPA have not reviewed the Caltrans programs for compliance with section 6217. Nonetheless, it is clear that Caltrans must play a critical role in ensuring that the management measures for roads, highways and bridges are implemented. Following conditional approval, we will work with the State to help ensure that all the measures are met and implemented.

    As required by section 6217, a state must meet the management measures developed pursuant to section 6217(g). In addition, states have a fair amount of flexibility in how they meet the 6217(g) management measures.

    Specific Comments - Marinas and Recreational Boating

  44. Comment: NOAA and EPA should include specific TAC recommendations as part of the conditions for program approval.
    Response: As mentioned above, NOAA and EPA are supportive of the TAC process and we have encouraged the State to implement the recommendations. See the response to comment #29 for discussion of TAC recommendations.

    Specific Comments - Hydromodification

  45. Comment: NOAA and EPA should include specific TAC recommendations as part of the conditions for program approval.

    Response: See response to comment #29.

    Specific Comments - Wetlands, Riparian Areas, and Vegetated Treatment Systems

  46. Comment: NOAA and EPA's conclusion that the submittal contains adequate management measures to promote restoration of wetlands and riparian areas and the use of vegetated treatment systems is incorrect. The programs listed in the submittal are not evenly or adequately implemented. The findings should be conditioned upon the state demonstrating that the listed programs are actively applied throughout the management area.

    Response: As discussed in the response to comment # 19 above, NOAA's and EPA's decision on the approvability of elements of a state coastal nonpoint program focuses on the state's institutional and legal ability to implement the requirements of section 6217. The on-the-ground implementation of the California coastal nonpoint program will be reviewed through the evaluation process under section 312 of the CZMA and other appropriate mechanisms (see response to comment # 24 above)..

  47. Comment: NOAA and EPA should include specific TAC recommendations as part of the conditions for program approval.

    Response: See response to comment #29.

    Specific Comments - Administrative Coordination

    Top of page

  48. Comment: The finding is accurate but does not include enough detail to ensure that the State takes appropriate actions to meet the condition.

    Response: See the response to comment #22.

  49. Comment: Some of the conclusions in the rationale section are no longer accurate. For example, the Interagency Advisory Committee (IAC) was dissolved by the SWRCB, and there is no plan to reconvene the IAC in the future.

    Response: The rationale section has been revised to reflect this information.

  50. Comment: EPA and NOAA suggest using the Watershed Management Initiative (WMI) as an implementation mechanism; however, this would only be appropriate if public input into the WMI is greatly expanded.

    Response: We share your concern, and have added language to highlight the 6217 requirement for public participation in program development and implementation.

  51. Comment: This section should explicitly discuss coordination with specific programs related to the CNPCP (e.g., Clean Water Action Plan, Clean Water Act sections 402(p), 303(d), and 305(b); the WMI; Magnuson Act essential fish habitat requirements; and the State's August 1997 Action Plan). NOAA and EPA should include specific requirements for coordination with each of these programs as a condition for program approval.

    Top of page

    Response: Coordination with these programs is important to the success of the program; however, specific conditions and requirements on how the State should coordinate with these programs is beyond the scope of the approval findings.

    Specific Comments - Public Participation

  52. Comment: The findings and conditions provide a relatively rosy view of public participation opportunities during the program development process: this is inaccurate. Although the SWRCB did sponsor the TAC process, it also limited TAC member participation in later phases of program development. Contrary to the high standard for public participation set by 6217, the Submittal merely references some public outreach activities. The findings should be revised, and approval conditioned on a requirement for the SWRCB and CCC to hold semi-annual workshops on progress in meeting the conditions and implementing the program.

    Response: It is not appropriate for NOAA and EPA to condition a state program on detailed actions. However, the rationale for the Public Participation section has been revised to encourage the State to be more aggressive in involving the public in program development and implementation.

  53. Comment: We ask that the public have an opportunity to comment on California's responses to the Findings and Conditions, as well as EPA and NOAA's evaluation of California's efforts to address the conditions. Particular attention should be given to involving TAC members in these reviews.

    Response: At the end of the conditional approval period, NOAA and EPA will publish a notice of availability of the final approval decision for each of the coastal nonpoint programs. The notice will include an opportunity for public comment on the decision to approve or disapprove the program, including whether conditions have been met.

    Specific Comments - Technical Assistance

  54. Comment: We agree with the findings and conditions for this section, and request that public interest groups be added to the list of entities that may receive technical assistance.

    Response: The requested change has been made.

    Specific Comments - Critical Coastal Areas

  55. Top of page

  56. Comment: We agree with the findings in conditions in this section, and welcome the direction to expand of the identification of critical coastal areas to include areas outside of the existing coastal zone boundary.

    Response: Thank you for your comment.

    Specific Comments - Additional Management Measures

  57. Comment: NOAA and EPA should go beyond requiring the State to develop a process for developing and revising additional management measures. The findings should detail the minimum requirements for the process.

    Response: NOAA and EPA believe that it is appropriate for each State to have the flexibility to design a system for identifying additional management measures appropriate to its own institutional and physical conditions. It should be recognized that the identification of additional management measures is an iterative process. That is, measures are to be developed, reviewed, and revised until the goal of meeting water quality standards and protecting beneficial uses is attained and maintained.

    Specific Comments - Monitoring

  58. Comment: NOAA and EPA should provide more detail on the elements necessary to meet this requirement.

    Response: NOAA and EPA have provided several additional information sources to clarify the monitoring expectations for the Coastal Nonpoint Program. These have included monitoring and tracking guides for several of the major categories. In addition, NOAA and EPA conducted a workshop in April 1998 that included a session devoted specifically to monitoring. The workbook for the workshop included monitoring program examples from the Delaware and South Carolina program submittals and an explanation of what features of those programs provided the basis for their approval. NOAA and EPA will continue to work with states to develop effective monitoring approaches.

    Specific Comments - Strategy and Evaluation for Back-up Authorities

  59. Comment: Forestry management measures should be included in this Strategy.

    Response: This strategy pertains to areas where the State has proposed the use of a back-up authority to meet the requirement for an enforceable policy or mechanism. For the forestry category, the State has proposed a specific authority to implement the measure, and thus is not subject to this strategy requirement.

    Top of page

  60. Comment: The finding must go beyond requiring the State to identify authorities that "can" be used to implement the program: it must require the State to commit to authorities that it "will" use to implement the program.

    Response: See the response to comment #21 for requirements for program implementation.

  61. Comment: The findings must be of sufficient detail and strength to ensure State action and provide a meaningful set of benchmarks that can be used to track progress in meeting the conditions.

    Response: See the response to comment #22.


    Comments by:
    Kevin Atkinson

  62. Comment: In Section V. Marinas and Recreational Boating Findings, the existing and proposed management measures for siting and maintenance of Sewage facilities is inadequate. The State Water Quality Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards were given the legislative authority ten years ago to set deadlines for the required number of boater oriented sewage facilities per marina. The actual number of facilities currently is far too small to accommodate the number of boats within the state. The California plan should contain some sort of mechanism for requiring a set minimum number of sewage facilities at each marina, as well as a deadline for compliance.

    Response: NOAA and EPA have conditioned the State's program on the development of management measures and adequate authority to ensure implementation of the marina measures. The State program for marinas should ensure that adequate facilities are available to prevent pollution of coastal waters.


    Comments by:
    Joan Patton

    Top of page

  63. Comment: The Section V findings of the California document are inadequate because they do not fully address the siting and maintenance of sewage pumpout facilities. First of all, while the Water Resources Control Board has authority to require an adequate number of facilities, it has not clarified what that number would be per geographic region. There are currently not enough facilities to accommodate the existing number of boats, therefore leading to unnecessary pollution from illegal sewer discharges. The state of California not only needs to clarify what the adequate number of these facilities is, and but develop mechanisms to enforce such a number.

    Response: Please see the response to the comment #61 above.


    Comments by:
    Jay Drake, President
    Hastings Surf Club

  64. Comment: California's Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program is not adequate to protect California's water quality. The Program fails to include specific measures to control nonpoint pollution, and fails to describe how the state will use existing authorities to control this pollution. We urge the EPA and NOAA to adopt additional needed conditions on approval of California's Program, such as requiring public input on the final development and implementation of the program, and requiring more clear markers the public can use to track the state's progress in controlling nonpoint source pollution.

    Response: NOAA and EPA agree that the California program submittal did not address the requirements of section 6217 of CZARA, and that the State needed to undertake additional efforts to fully develop a program to effectively deal with the nonpoint pollution of California's coastal waters. Hence, conditions have been placed on the State's program. One of the conditions on the program requires that the State develop a strategy that will describe how the State will use existing authorities to ensure implementation of the management measures for identified sources of nonpoint pollution. When the State has developed and submitted materials to address the conditions on the program, this information will be available for public review and comment. Also see response to comment of Assembly member Shelley above for NOAA and EPA efforts to track implementation of the program.

  65. Comment: The California Coastal Commission must play a larger role in the state's efforts to improve water quality. The roles, responsibilities and specific activities of the CCC should be clearly spelled out in the Program.

    Response: See response to State Water Resources Control Board and California Coastal Commission above.


    Comments by:
    Jacque Forrest
    Staff Scientist
    Heal the Bay

    Top of page


  66. Comment: There is concern that the Findings and Conditions do not provide enough specificity to guarantee that the state will produce an adequate program. The commenter strongly encourages that the 1997 Action Plan be made a condition of the program, and that the Action Plan agreement be at least two years in duration. Heal the Bay also incorporates by reference the comments from the Center for Marine Conservation.

    Response: Please see the response to the comments of the Center for Marine Conservation.
Pacific Southwest NewsroomPacific Southwest Programs Grants & FundingUS-Mexico Border Media CenterCareers About EPA Pacific SouthwestA-Z Index

Jump to main content.