Acronyms & Abbreviations

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the steps taken to inventory and assess the Watershed Lands during development of the LCP. As described below, the Stewardship Council first grouped the lands into watersheds and planning units to facilitate the planning process. Additionally, the process required an intensive data collection effort. The data span a wide range of items, including licensing and other regulatory records, GIS data, and public documents such as county plans. Appendix 9 provides detailed information on data sources and collection.

3.1 Organization of Watershed Lands

As the Watershed Lands span across 22 counties and several bioregions, and include approximately 1,000 parcels, a logical grouping process was needed to begin assessing these areas. To facilitate the planning effort, the Stewardship Council decided to cluster parcels into more manageable areas based on similar resource characteristics, issues, and management. Thus, parcels were clustered by large geographic areas (referred to as "watersheds") that were generally within one river or creek drainage, or adjacent drainages. Although these planning watersheds generally align with the hydrologic watersheds defined and mapped by the State of California, they do not always meet the technical definition of a hydrologic watershed.1

The watersheds used in the planning process, like the hydrologic watersheds they are based on, are in most cases named for the major river or stream in the area. Watersheds that included lands in two adjacent drainages received hyphenated names, recognizing each river or stream (e.g., the Pit-McCloud River Watershed). Carrizo Plain was named for the major land feature in the area rather than rivers or streams because there are no rivers or streams within this planning unit. During the initial information gathering process and during targeted meetings with PG&E land managers and Federal and State agencies that manage the lands in the vicinity, the Stewardship Council refined and confirmed the organization of the watersheds.

3.1.1 Planning Units

The Stewardship Council further grouped the lands within each watershed into smaller geographically related clusters of parcels called "planning units" to focus planning on areas whose size would be amenable to conceptual plan development. Parcels were grouped into planning units based on similar geography, management, issues, and/or FERC license boundaries. PG&E staff assisted in grouping parcels into planning units, providing insight into areas with similar resources or management. The parcels within a planning unit are often associated with a specific FERC-licensed hydroelectric project, or two or three adjacent projects. In some cases, however, the planning unit boundaries split FERC-licensed projects between two units, based on topography or some other differentiating factor. The names of the planning units reflect the dominant hydrologic or other natural feature of the area, most often a river, creek, or reservoir. This grouping process resulted in 11 watersheds and 47 planning units (see Table 3-1 and Figure 3-1).

3.2 Concept Development for the Watershed Lands

The Stewardship Council followed a methodical process to develop the objectives and recommended concepts for each planning unit across the Watershed Lands. This included the development of a planning process that produced numerous initial concepts and recommendations, the refinement of those initial concepts, and finally the development of a single recommended concept for each planning unit. The following section describes these various steps in greater detail.

3.2.1 Pilot Planning Process

The Stewardship Council chose nine planning units across the Watershed Lands to test a pilot planning process. The key objective of the process was to develop conceptual plans that included potential objectives and measures to protect and enhance the BPVs within each planning unit. The purpose of the pilot process

was to develop a logical and efficient set of steps to develop conceptual plans that could be applied subsequently to all planning units. The Stewardship Council selected the pilot planning units (Table 3-2) to showcase a diversity of planning units, and to highlight areas with a wide range of BPVs, geographies, and acreage sizes.

These pilot planning units represented the following:

  • A variety of lands and land uses within several watersheds;
  • A variety of policy issues;
  • A range of BPVs in each planning unit, and across the represented watersheds;
  • Lands with hydroelectric projects in various stages of the FERC relicensing process (allowing for the exploration of concepts with varying levels of FERC constraints and documentation);
  • The opportunity to evaluate and advance one entire watershed (e.g., Upper Mokelumne River Watershed).

Guided by the Settlement Agreement and Stipulation, as well as the Stewardship Council mission and core values, the pilot planning process focused on organizing and analyzing the information for each planning unit and developing alternative scenarios that addressed certain management objectives. These alternative scenarios, each with its own set of recommended actions, were developed to protect and enhance the BPVs in each planning unit.

The Stewardship Council used the pilot planning process to resolve various practical issues confronted by the planning process, and to facilitate the further development of appropriate and effective recommendations for each planning unit. These concerns included the following:

  • The level of detail to be developed and mapped for the proposed BPV enhancements;
  • The number of concepts to be developed for each planning unit, given the range of existing conditions regarding BPVs;
  • Limitations on enhancements and concepts imposed by data gaps;
  • The range of scale across planning units (some of which are compact and composed of contiguous parcels and others that are composed of scattered parcels distributed over many miles of a river corridor); and
  • The best way to engage stakeholder and public input in the planning process.

During the pilot planning process, the Stewardship Council developed a series of maps and initial reports and concepts to provide information to the Board of Directors and staff, the public, and technical experts (Figure 3-2).

To accompany the maps, the Stewardship Council developed the template for a narrative report for each planning unit. These concept reports contain additional detail regarding the regional and local setting, existing conditions of the BPVs, existing leases, hydroelectric facilities and the FERC license status for the facilities, as well as information about adjacent ownership and management. The initial concept reports evolved to include the Stewardship Council’s recommended objectives and potential measures to preserve and/or enhance specific BPVs relevant to each planning unit (provided in Volume II).

Table 3-1 Watershed Location and Acreage

Name

Location (Counties)

Acreage

Pit-McCloud River

Shasta

38,223

Cow-Battle Creek

Shasta, Tehama

11,085

Feather River

Tehama, Butte, Plumas, Lassen

53,185

Eel River

Mendocino, Lake

7,446

Yuba-Bear River

Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Yuba

18,629

Upper Mokelumne River

Alpine, Amador, Calaveras

7,096

Stanislaus River

Tuolumne, Mariposa, Merced

1,867

Willow Creek

Madera, Fresno

2,197

Kings River

Fresno

1,461

Kern-Tule River

Tulare, Kern

692

Carrizo Plain

San Luis Obispo

655

TOTAL ACREAGE

142,533

Source: PG&E 2007

Note: All acreage estimates are approximate. All estimates have been rounded up to the nearest one acre, and totals may reflect minor rounding errors.

Figure 3-1  Distribution and Location of the Watershed Lands and Planning UnitsFigure 3-1 Distribution and Location of the Watershed Lands and Planning Units

Table 3-2 Planning Units and Associated Watersheds

Pit-McCloud River
Watershed

Feather River
Watershed

Upper Mokelumne River
Watershed

Lake Britton

Butte Creek

North Fork Mokelumne

Pit River

Bucks Lake

Lower Bear Area

McArthur Swamp

Humbug Valley

Blue Lakes

The planning process was evaluated, revised, and adopted through continual feedback and interaction with the Stewardship Council Planning Committee, as well as through stakeholder and community meetings. Steps developed during the pilot planning process are further described in Section 3.2.3 and formed the basis for proceeding with the remaining 38 planning units.

3.2.2 Purpose of the Conceptual Plans or "Concepts"

The recommended concepts in Volume II represent the results of combining the initial concepts that best protect and enhance the BPVs. These recommendations are intended to support future regulatory approvals (for land transactions/encumbrances) consistent with the defined management objectives. Each planning unit includes objectives that will guide future land management decisions, as well as potential measures that illustrate how the objectives might translate into specific management actions. The potential measures identified in the planning unit concepts are not prescriptive in nature; they do, however, represent the culmination of a thorough analysis of all available information as well as the application of professional judgment.

The potential measures for each planning unit include a widely varying set of actions, ranging from site-specific physical actions within the planning unit, such as the construction of a trail

or campground, to actions that would be applied to a large portion of or the entire planning unit, such as surveys and the development of cultural resource and habitat management plans. These recommendations are open to refinement and change based on the development of the disposition packages in Volume III.

3.2.3 Steps in the Planning Process

As described below and illustrated in Figure 3-3, the Stewardship Council followed a stepwise approach to develop the recommended concepts. While the schematic is linear in design, most concepts were developed iteratively, repeatedly revised and improved, as additional information became available though community meetings, public agencies and non-profit organizations, Board Member feedback, and other resources.

STEP 1 – Assess Existing Conditions

The Stewardship Council compiled a substantial amount of information for most planning units. As summarized in section 3.5 and detailed in Appendix 9, technical specialists conducted extensive literature reviews and Stewardship Council staff held targeted meetings with PG&E, State and Federal agency representatives, and interested stakeholders. The resulting existing conditions summaries for each planning unit organized the available information related to the six BPVs, as well as information on surrounding lands, climate, land management and uses, existing land use and resource management plans, hydropower project features, and FERC license conditions and relicensing status.

In addition to developing an existing conditions summary, this compilation of data was useful in revealing data gaps and identifying additional information that could be useful for developing the concepts. To accompany the narrative existing conditions summary, the Stewardship Council mapped existing conditions information to provide a graphic description of conditions and spatial relationships for each planning unit.

Figure 3-2  Existing Conditions Map for the Lake Britton Planning Unit in the Pit-McCloud River WatershedFigure 3-2 Existing Conditions Map for the Lake Britton Planning Unit in the Pit-McCloud River Watershed

STEP 2 – Summarize Opportunities, Constraints, and Management Issues

The existing conditions assessment led to the Stewardship Council’s analysis of opportunities and constraints for enhancing the BPVs in each planning unit. For example, opportunities for enhancement arose in areas where some stakeholders believed public access to the lands and waterways was lacking, or where other stakeholders expressed that recreation facilities were inadequate to meet present and future demand. Examples of land use constraints include considerations for hydropower facilities and infrastructure, steep terrain, and the presence of sensitive habitat or cultural sites. The Stewardship Council included FERC license conditions in the data collection phase, and took care to avoid proposing actions that could conflict with current and future hydropower operations and water delivery.

The Stewardship Council also considered land management issues, such as unauthorized uses, resource damage from authorized and unauthorized use, issues of public safety, and high wildfire risk, among others. Where these issues were known, the Stewardship Council considered actions that would reduce or resolve detrimental impacts to BPVs.

The Stewardship Council used lists of concisely stated opportunities, constraints, and management issues, in concert with the existing conditions summaries and maps, to develop initial ideas for management objectives and actions to protect and enhance the BPVs in each planning unit.

STEP 3 – Develop a Range of Initial Concepts

The Stewardship Council then synthesized sets of actions related to specific BPVs into a range of initial concepts for each planning unit. The focus of each concept recognized the most outstanding and important resources present on a particular planning unit. Most often, more than one BPV emerged as relevant on a planning unit. The range of BPV enhancement measures was directly related to the distribution and diversity of resources across the lands. In some cases, for example, agricultural and forest resources were absent or only minimally present on the planning unit with little opportunity for enhancement. In other cases, agriculture or sustainable forestry were dominant values on the planning unit and the primary emphases of the concepts.

The BPVs of habitat and open space were often paired with other BPVs in one concept, recognizing the potential compatibility between enhancements targeting these and other BPVs. For example, a concept may propose enhancements to recreation facilities in existing developed areas while also proposing habitat enhancements or open space protection in undeveloped areas.

In many cases, the initial concepts were strongly guided by the larger regional and management context of lands surrounding the planning unit. Most of the planning units are adjacent to or surrounded by State or Federal lands, or in many cases by privately owned lands, that are often large acreages of undeveloped agricultural or timber lands. The initial concepts recognized the importance of compatible management with surrounding landowners.

STEP 4 – Develop a Single Preliminary Concept

The Stewardship Council then developed a single preliminary concept for each planning unit. The preliminary concept represented the set of enhancements that was judged to provide the best overall opportunity for protecting and enhancing the BPVs in the particular planning unit. In most cases, the preliminary concept sought to preserve a historically dominant use or value on the planning unit while also enhancing other values. One example would be developing measures to enhance an area with a long history of recreation use while protecting wildlife habitat on adjacent parcels.

The preliminary concepts attempted to address all BPVs, as required by Appendix E of the Settlement Agreement (see Appendix 1). However, in some cases the preliminary concept included few or no enhancement measures for one or more BPVs because they had minimal presence or importance in an individual planning unit. In other cases, actions intended to preserve and enhance a particular BPV were already proposed as a result of FERC Project relicensing or other management processes, so further enhancement was not necessary.

Some consideration of actions at the watershed level was possible during the concept development process. When a watershed had numerous or large and complex planning units, concepts for all planning units within the watershed were developed in a similar timeframe to allow some consideration of balancing BPVs across the watershed.

Figure 3-3  Concept DevelopmentFigure 3-3 Concept Development

STEP 5 – Refine Preliminary Concept & Develop Recommended Concept

The Stewardship Council further refined the preliminary concepts based on review and comments by the Board and the public, and the availability of new or revised information. The preliminary concepts were made available to the public in community meetings and posted on the Stewardship Council website. Supplementary visits to many of the planning units provided further insight into the existing conditions and uses of the Watershed Lands, permitting closer examination of the specific sites where enhancements were proposed. In addition, PG&E provided responses to many questions that arose during the planning process regarding specific conditions, management issues, and uses on the planning units, and ongoing research provided new information not available during previous steps.

In refining the planning unit concepts, the Stewardship Council identified an overall management objective for each planning unit, as well as objectives to preserve and/or enhance specific BPVs relevant to each planning unit. The recommendations in Volume II identify a number of preservation and/or enhancement measures that may contribute to the conservation management program for each planning unit. These measures are intended to be illustrative in nature, not prescriptive, and will be amended, deleted, or augmented over time in coordination with future land owners and managers to best meet the objective for each planning unit. This is particularly the case for planning units requiring additional work to evaluate existing conditions. Specific planning, design, location, and construction details will be determined during the development of implementation plans for each area based on additional data collected (to be addressed in Volume III).

3.3 Method of Analysis of Beneficial Public Values

As required by the Settlement Agreement and Stipulations, the overall focus of the LCP is on the preservation and/or enhancement of BPVs on an overall basis. This section provides an overview of the methods used to analyze each BPV and develop the recommended planning unit concepts in Volume II.

In all cases, the analysis of BPVs in each planning unit began with a significant effort to gather and synthesize existing data. Where information on a resource issue or particular land use was limited, technical experts used professional judgment to assess existing conditions. As a result, the Stewardship Council’s recommendations in these areas are aimed at obtaining information on which to base future management actions. This was particularly true for lands outside of FERC project boundaries where existing data was often very limited.

The Stewardship Council also took deliberate action to engage the multiple agencies, organizations, and members of the public involved in both the historic and future resource protection and restoration work on the Watershed Lands. Where possible, the preservation and enhancement measures focus on opportunities to continue, and to encourage, collaborative land management.

The overall goal across all Watershed Lands is to:

  • Protect all BPVs.
  • Identify and prioritize those BPVs that are unique and/or have great potential to be enhanced without interfering with other BPVs.
  • Avoid biases for or against BPVs.
  • Look for actions that benefit multiple BPVs.
  • Identify and prioritize potential future land management concepts and measures that advance the stated goals and objectives for the overall LCP and each planning unit.

Guided by these overall goals for the Watershed Lands, the Stewardship Council developed specific methodologies to analyze each BPV, as summarized below.

3.3.1 Fish, Plant & Wildlife Habitat

Technical specialists gathered and synthesized existing information to better understand existing resources (both species and habitats), current wildlife use, fisheries and habitat management, concurrent land management, potential threats to existing resources, and the potential for enhancement, restoration, or other management actions that would benefit habitat for fish, wildlife, and native plants.

The objectives for this BPV are to preserve and manage existing habitat for the purpose of continued biological diversity and to promote habitat continuity across the landscape. All measures were developed with the intent to protect and enhance the biological diversity of the Watershed Lands and reduce potential land use conflicts. The Stewardship Council recommended measures to protect known special status species only in cases where such recommendations would not be redundant with the Federal Endangered Species Act and State regulations. Protection and enhancement of other sensitive habitats, including vernal pools, meadows, and riparian areas, was recommended when appropriate to enhance these valuable resources. Impacts on biological resources resulting from hydroelectric operations (e.g., flow regimes, facilities) were not addressed in the LCP recommendations.

The Stewardship Council considered management practices adjacent to the planning unit when developing habitat protection enhancement measures and generally sought to achieve consistency of management with these adjacent lands.

3.3.2 Open Space

The Stewardship Council defined open space as Watershed Lands absent of roads, structures, and PG&E facilities. In addition to assessing existing open space areas, technical experts identified and mapped the location of current land use elements, such as facilities, major roads, recreational/commercial leases, and FERC Project features.

The objective for this BPV is to preserve open space with a focus on protecting viewsheds and other BPVs that depend on open space. When evaluating open space preservation, the Stewardship Council considered factors such as development pressure, natural resource value, connectivity, rural land uses, and aesthetic values. Open space values were most recognized where Watershed Lands were in proximity to urbanized or expanding communities, as well as when they were located in areas with high natural resource values or established wildlife corridors. Areas with significant viewsheds, such as scenic highway overlooks, views from local residential developments, or views from on-site recreation areas, were also recognized for open space values.

3.3.3 Recreation

The Stewardship Council gathered information about the current level of access for recreation and the existing recreation uses of the lands to determine what needs and opportunities should be addressed.

The specific objectives for enhancing recreation varied greatly among the diverse planning units, but the broad objectives for the BPV across most planning units are to better manage uses that may be causing unacceptable impacts, and provide new, additional, or improved access or facilities to enhance public recreation opportunities and public safety.

Context was an important consideration in evaluating opportunities to preserve and/or enhance recreation values. In many cases existing recreation uses and facilities span the boundaries of the planning unit into adjacent lands managed by Federal and State public land agencies. The Stewardship Council also considered recreation management plans and other relevant requirements of FERC licenses. In addition, the Stewardship Council considered existing private recreation facilities on leased sites, including commercially leased campsites, shoreline homeowner recreation areas, and summer homes/cabins.

The Stewardship Council evaluated opportunities to preserve and enhance recreation in the context of the other BPVs and the requirements of the Settlement Agreement and Stipulation. As such, it was important to give consideration to issues such as avoiding conflicts between user groups, avoiding or minimizing impacts to natural and cultural resources, ensuring the security of PG&E facilities and infrastructure, ensuring public safety, and managing recreation use and unauthorized uses.

3.3.4 Sustainable Forestry

Technical specialists gathered and analyzed existing data on forest management, forest demographics, and timber harvesting for the Watershed Lands and conducted site visits to assess forest health, development, and fuels accumulation. PG&E forestry staff provided information on forest resources and current management practices. To guide the development of objectives and preservation and enhancement measures for this BPV, the Stewardship Council Board adopted the following definition for sustainable forestry:

"the practice of managing dynamic forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic, social, and cultural benefits for present and future generations."2

Sustainable forestry also includes management of forest ecosystems through practices such as thinning, hazard tree removal, and fuels reduction. The objective for this BPV is to promote forest management practices that are consistent with this definition of sustainable forestry. Accordingly, technical specialists analyzed ecological factors such as forest type, age, structure, harvest rotation time, hydrological features, carrying capacity, forest habitat, and the role of fire in each forest type.

The Stewardship Council considered management of adjacent forest resources land uses (e.g., development, recreation facilities, and grazing allotments) and sought opportunities for coordinated management, when consistent with sustainable forestry objectives. Additional considerations included economic factors such as sawlog prices and local tax income for communities/school districts, and legal obligations such as existing leases on Watershed Lands, as well as State and Federal mandates for the protection of special status species.

3.3.5 Agricultural Uses

To characterize existing conditions, the Stewardship Council conducted field visits and identified and mapped existing information on the locations of historic agricultural use, existing leases, and adjacent Federal grazing allotments.

The specific objectives for enhancing agriculture vary greatly among the diverse planning units, but in general the objective of these efforts is to promote agricultural use and enhance agricultural practices, where appropriate.

When assessing agricultural opportunities, the Stewardship Council considered historic agricultural use and cultural practices, as well as the physical characteristics of the land (e.g., soil, slope, hydrology, and access). The Stewardship Council evaluated adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USDA Forest Service (USFS) allotments to determine the potential to extend grazing to Watershed Lands. Enhancement measures were developed to promote establishing baseline conditions and rangeland management planning.

The Stewardship Council also considered agricultural enhancements in the context of the other BPVs and values. For example, grazing can both enhance noxious weed abatement and provide enhanced habitat for wildlife and botanical resources, as well as contribute to the retention of open space. Opportunities were identified that allowed combined benefits for BPVs, such as introducing grazing in conjunction with forest or vegetation management practices or developing offstream watering sources to promote both agricultural uses and habitat protection.

3.3.6 Historic Values

Technical specialists conducted site visits and analyzed information on existing cultural resources surveys, present and historic demographics, land use history, and land use management. Information on impacts, existing or potential, to cultural resources from other land use activities was also evaluated. As described in Chapter 3 and Chapter 6, the Stewardship Council sought input from Native American entities and other stakeholders to gather information about existing cultural resources and develop enhancement measures.

The specific measures for enhancing cultural resources differed greatly among the planning units, but the larger objectives for this BPV are to identify cultural resources in the planning unit and protect and enhance cultural resources through physical and management actions.

Planning for this BPV faced the unique challenge of respecting the extremely sensitive confidentiality of some data. Some confidential data was not available for the planning process or placed limitations on fully describing the enhancement measures. As with other BPVs, the Stewardship Council also sought a coordinated management approach with adjacent State and Federal land management agencies, as well as Native American organizations, and analyzed potential conflicts between historic values and other BPVs.

3.4 Method of Analysis of Other Values and Uses

Values and uses on the Watershed Lands other than the BPVs were considered during the planning process, including economic uses, the preservation and enhancement of reasonable public access, and the disclosure of hazardous materials. The methods utilized for their analysis in the development of the LCP are described below.

3.4.1 Existing Economic Uses

The Stewardship Council evaluated existing economic uses on the Watershed Lands to gain a broad understanding of present land use. Chapter 4 includes an overview of existing leases that PG&E manages for such activities as grazing and other agricultural practices, telecommunications, recreation facilities, and recreational homesites (see Appendix 6). The Stewardship Council reviewed these uses to make informed decisions about their potential continuation on the watershed lands. (See Appendix 7 for the Stewardship Council’s Policy Regarding Certain Agreements Affecting the Watershed Lands.)

Additionally, information on existing economic uses was obtained from PG&E staff, site visits, community meetings, public agency meetings, GIS data, and other documents. For each economic use, the Stewardship Council gathered all pertinent information to assess the possible current and future effects these uses could have on BPVs. When necessary, measures were developed to enhance BPVs related to existing economic uses.

Examples of economic enhancement measures include the assessment of the potential to increase grazing on additional appropriate lands and to ensure that forest management on recreation lease sites is managed in coordination with adjacent lands.

3.4.2 Preservation or Enhancement of Reasonable Public Access

As described in Section 2.4.3, the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement require that the conservation easements preserve or enhance reasonable public access. It is the intent that these conservation easements will do this in a manner that best recognizes and maintains the BPVs of each parcel(s). The Stewardship Council assessed the potential to preserve or enhance public access throughout the Watershed Lands by reviewing GIS data, conducting site visits, speaking with interested stakeholders at community meetings, and analyzing other data sources to compile the appropriate information to determine the public access situation within each planning unit. The Stewardship Council recognizes that due to many factors such as current use, acreage size and/or location and remoteness from publicly maintained roads, and road conditions on surrounding lands, there may not be legal public access to many individual parcels. Various criteria such as public safety, road conditions, seasonality, land ownership, critical habitat, recreation use, and hydropower facilities and operations were considered before recommending enhancement measures. Based on the analysis of these criteria, the Stewardship Council developed enhancement measures to increase or decrease public access.

In developing the planning unit concepts in Volume II, the Stewardship Council recommended limiting public access in areas near critical infrastructure, sensitive resource areas within and around the parcel, and primitive recreation areas (i.e., wilderness areas or non-motorized vehicle areas where appropriate). Enhancement of public access to areas not currently accessible or difficult to access was proposed through new facilities such as trails, day use sites, and fishing access sites. Additionally, easements for continuation of existing adjacent off-site trails were proposed to provide public access connectivity, and exploration of the potential for new whitewater and seasonal access locations was also proposed for a few of the Watershed Lands.

The recommended measures in Volume II enhance existing public access through improvements to existing trails, public roads or those on planning unit lands, and other facilities, as well as through additional directional signage for shoreline access to both rivers and larger waterbodies. The Stewardship Council recommends many enhancements to improve access to facilities and areas for individuals with disabilities.

3.4.3 Disclosure of Hazardous Waste

The Stipulation requires that PG&E disclose all known hazardous waste or substance contamination or other environmental liabilities associated with the Watershed Lands. PG&E has performed Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) within the FERC Project boundaries at all of its hydroelectric facilities. The purpose of the Phase I ESAs was to identify the presence or likely presence of hazardous substances in structures, soil, or groundwater.

In 2000, PG&E conducted Environmental Assessments of the Watershed Lands outside of the FERC Project boundaries. The purpose of the Environmental Assessments was to identify the presence or likely presence of hazardous substances in structures, soil, or groundwater that may exist on the Watershed Lands. The Environmental Assessments of the Watershed Lands included a screening process to identify areas of potential environmental concern, which required collecting and reviewing data available from PG&E and public sources regarding mining activities, leases, and sites listed in regulatory databases. Aerial photographs were reviewed and aerial reconnaissance was conducted to field-check features of potential concern identified during the screening process. All sites within 1 mile of the Watershed Land boundaries were identified during aerial reconnaissance and database searches. Reviewed regulatory databases included, but were not limited to:

  • Federal Superfund Liens;
  • Active Toxic Site Investigations;
  • Calsites;
  • Corrective Action Reports;
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Information System;
  • Superfund (CERCLA) Consent Decrees;
  • Facility Index System/Facility Identification Initiative Program Summary Report;
  • Leaking Underground Storage Tank Information System;
  • Solid Waste Information System;
  • National Priorities List;
  • Cortese List;
  • Toxic Pits;
  • Material Licensing Tracking System;
  • Records of Decision;
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System; and
  • Waste Management Unit Database.

Both the Phase I ESAs (FERC lands) and the Environmental Assessments (non-FERC lands) provided valuable information related to potential and existing hazardous materials and sites. The evaluation of hazardous materials will be further addressed at the parcel level, as appropriate, in Volume III of the LCP.

3.5 Data Sources and Collection

The Stewardship Council’s data collection effort for the LCP planning process involved reviewing a multitude of data sources and consulting a diversity of stakeholders. In addition, technical specialists, Stewardship Council staff, and Board members conducted several field trips to the watershed lands. With the exception of these field visits and personal communication with community members, the planning process did not include collecting original data or conducting comprehensive field assessments of the land. This type of effort will likely be undertaken as needed during the development and implementation of Volume III. A detailed summary of the data collection effort is included in Appendix 9 of this volume, and all data sources are fully cited in the source list at the back of Volume II.

3.5.1 PG&E Data

Much of the data used in the planning process was provided by PG&E, including numerous documents prepared as part of the FERC relicensing processes. FERC projects that have been licensed within the last few years generally provide the most comprehensive information; projects that have not been relicensed for many years have less. (See Appendix 8 for a summary of relevant FERC-licensed projects and associated documents.) Similarly, little information is available for lands outside of the FERC boundary. In addition to documents related to FERC licenses, PG&E provided lease documents, a Proponent's Environmental Assessment of the watershed lands, timber management and timber harvest plans, and GIS layers. Additional information was obtained through personal communications with PG&E staff.

3.5.2 Data from Other Entities

Various GIS layers related to PG&E lands were obtained from Federal and State agencies and non-profit organizations, including the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), the USFS, and the BLM. In addition, technical experts reviewed various planning documents prepared by these and other agencies, including County general plans, USFS National Forest Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs), BLM Resource Management Plans (RMPs), and other plans produced by DFG, USFWS, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, CDF, and other governmental agencies and watershed groups.

3.5.3 Stakeholder Input

The Stewardship Council made significant outreach efforts to engage government agencies, non-profit and community groups, Native American entities, the public, and other stakeholders during the planning process for the LCP. Chapter 5 provides detailed information on the outreach program, and Appendix 9 summarizes the type of information provided by stakeholders.

Endnotes

1 Defined as regions or areas bounded peripherally by a divide and draining ultimately to a particular watercourse or "body of water" (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

2 Wisconsin Administration Code, Department of Natural Resources, NR 44.03.