2017 Environment Committee Priorities and Work Plan

February 3, 2017

As Chair of the Environment Committee I look forward to discussing and implementing a number of important issues in 2017.  I have received suggestions from various Councilmembers about topics they would like discussed in the upcoming year. I have integrated some of these suggested topics of discussion with my priorities below:

Water Reuse

·     Monitor and support implementation of the Pure Water program, including review of consultant, design and construction contracts.

·     Receive updates on the status of the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant waiver

·     Enhance PureWater Project Public Outreach and Education program.

·     Receive consutant update regarding the potential for the construction of a large storm water capture facility in Otay Mesa.


Water Conservation

·      Receive update on PUD conservation efforts, including the rain harvesting rebate program and gray water rebate program.

·      Consider ways to increase water conservation efforts and preparing for future periods of drought.

·      Identify further action to reduce water loss in the City’s delivery system, including investment in new technology and pipeline repair/replacement.

·      Explore feasibility of implementing atmospheric water capture systems.

·      Request a report on the City’s Sustainable Landscapes Retrofitting program that provides potential financial incentives for grass replacement and micro-irrigation rebate programs to determine if the program could be expanded.

·      Receive an update and cost-benefit analysis from the Park and RecreationDepartment regarding the use of Weather Based Irrigation Controllers in City parks.

·      Explore an Outdoor Landscaping Ordinance requiring the use of weather based irrigation controllers.

·      Work closely with PUD and the City’s State lobbyists to advocate for fair treatment by the State regarding water conservation measures that take into account the City’s investment in increasing local supply.

·      Update regarding the Value of Water Outreach Campaign.

·      Review public outreach efforts, including enhanced online and mobile device presence.

·      Review Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

·      Review Integrated Regional Water Management projects.

·      Review watershed protection projects.

·      Receive update regarding deployment of Advanced MeteringInfrastructure System.


Water and Wastewater Rates

·     Receive Cost ofService Study Review of Funds.

·     Review Cost of ServiceStudy RFP.

·     Monitor and reviewRate Reform analysis.

·     Receive update on thePoint Loma Water Treatment Plant EPA Waiver.

·     Receive reports from Independent Rates Oversight Committee.

·     Receive reports from the City 10 regarding activity with the County Water Authority.

·     Discuss strategy of continuing to diversify the City’s sources of water and how we can further minimize importing water from outside the region, including efforts to incentivize water conservation.

·     Discuss funding for an independent water rate consultant that can provide the Council with expert advice for the two Review of Funds, provided for by the CityCouncil in the last water rate increase, after Fiscal Years 2016 and 2018.

·     Receiveupdate regarding the Help To Other (H2O) San Diego program.

·     ReceivePUD CIP appropriations or transfers.


Declaration of Emergency Regarding the Discharge of Raw Sewage from Tijuana, Mexico

·     In September 1993, the City Council declared a local emergency under CA Government Code Section 8630 due to the increase in raw sewage flows from Tijuana, Mexico. On October 5, 2015, IBWC and CILA signedMinute 320, “General Framework for Binational Cooperation on TransboundaryIssues in the Tijuana River Basin”. Under this Minute, a Binational Core Group was established made of representatives from various agencies to discuss issues in the Tijuana River Valley and implement strategies to help resolved those issues. The Committee should work closely with the Binational Core Group and other relevant agencies to provide an assessment of the current water quality conditions in the Tijuana River Valley and update the current State ofEmergency declaration.


Storm Water Channel and Storm Drain Maintenance

·     Receive updates regarding the Master Storm Water System Maintenance Program, including review of 2016/2017 winter storms and preparation for 2017/2018 winter storms.

·     Development of comprehensive long-term watershed management or flood control in at-risk areas.

·      Explore expediting the replacement of corrugated steel pipes from San Diego’s stormwater infrastructure, as many have failed during rain storms resulting in property damage.

·     Receive updates from the Transportation & Storm Water Department regarding theMunicipal Storm Water Permit regulations and discuss the feasibility of anAlternative Compliance program. In particular, it is critical that theCommittee coordinate with the Department to work collaboratively with theRegional Water Quality Control Board to achieve the goals outlined in the permit in a fiscally responsible manner.

·     Continue working towards more effective interdepartmental coordination, and ensure the City is pursuing all appropriate monitoring mechanisms and fulfilling all enforcement responsibilities.


Climate Action Plan Implementation

·     Move forward with implementation of Climate Action Plan goals and recommendations and receive regular updates on achieving GHG reductions.

·     Receive up-front fair-share analyses of each community planning area, so as to holistically understand how citywide CAP goals will be achieved.

·     Establish a comprehensive climate resiliency plan including mitigation for sea level rise.

·     Receive update from the San Diego Convention Center Corp., Port of San Diego and the appropriate city staff regarding the potential impacts of sea level rise on the operations of the current convention center and any potential expansion of the convention center.

·     Receive updates regarding the study exploring CCA feasibility and explore potential next steps for a City CCA.

·     Monitor inclusion of funding for a Climate Adaption Plan in the FY18 budget.

·     Work with the EconomicDevelopment Department to create an equity framework to create policies that would direct resources to disadvantaged communities utilizing the CAL-EnviroScreen.

·     Explore strategies for reducing vehicular air pollution by assessing algae CO2 absorption units along our freeway systems by engaging CALTRANS and UCSD’s California Center for Algae biotechnology.

·     Increase diversion of organic waste to community gardens, urban farmers and resource recovery areas by reviewing potential changes to the municipal code that would clarify the ability of groups to transfer organic waste to the aforementioned locations.


Urban Forestry Program

·     Receive updates regarding progress of implementation of the Urban Forestry 5-Year Plan.

·     Receive update regarding funding opportunities to improve canopy cover, including leveraging Cap and Trade funds.

·     Support urban greening throughout San Diego.

·     Request a report on the number of shade-producing trees planted in the City over the past 5 years and evaluate how to increase the number of trees planted in underserved communities.


Bicycle Master Plan

·     Receive updates from the Bike Advisory Committee regarding the implementation of the BicycleMaster Plan, Vision Zero, and bicycle-related mode share goals of the ClimateAction Plan. 

·     Monitor and receive updates regarding progress on bicycle infrastructure improvements throughout the City.

·     Receive report on the City’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program and its progress in reducing single occupancy trips.

·     Develop effective strategy for the City to prioritize transit oriented development projects and infrastructure projects built close to transit.

·     Request update from SANDAG on the implementation of regional infrastructure projects including bicycle facility plans and the development of the new trolley lines.


Energy Efficiency and Independence

·     Request a status update report on progress of goals and policies outlined in CouncilPolicy 900-14, Sustainable Building Policy, including developing a Zero NetEnergy Policy for municipal-owned buildings.

·     Receive update on San Vicente Pumped Storage Project.

·     Support and review ways to invest in solar technology throughout the city including, but not limited to:

o  Implementing solar goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

o  Supporting, expanding and monitoring success of approved Property Assessed Clean Energy(PACE) programs, including increasing accessibility to residential and commercial users.

o  Continued monitoring of potential rate changes by SDG&E.

o  Continue exploring the possibility of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program inSan Diego to increase use of renewable energy generation.

o  Update on efforts to install more solar equipment on City facilities.

o  Install energy efficiency upgrades at City facilities.

o  ReviewDSD permitting requirements for residential solar to determine if the process can be streamlined.

o  Promote and apply to programs that enable partnerships with solar installers for multi-family low income housing.


Recycling and Waste Reduction:

·     Discuss ongoing efforts and explore any new ideas to expand the life of the MiramarLandfill.

·     Receive updates regarding waste reduction efforts at municipal facilities.

·      Receive updates from the EnvironmentalServices Department regarding the implementation of the Zero Waste Plan, to ensure current diversion strategies are achieving their objectives and meeting stated goals.

·      Explore feasibility of changing from bi-weekly to weekly municipal recycling services.

·      Receive update on Resource Recovery Facility and Organics Diversion Facility projects, including any additional actions required to achieve waste diversion goals.

·      Receive update on integration of expanded polystyrene food containers into the City’s recycling stream.

·      Monitor and take any needed action on theSolid Waste Collection Franchise agreement.

·      Revise City Recycling Ordinance to reflect proposals and goals in Zero Waste plan.

·      Discuss Districted Exclusive CollectionSystem Study Final Report.

·      Consider changes to the Miramar Landfill FeeSchedule.


Regional Parks, Canyons and OpenSpace:

·     Receive update on designation of Chollas Creek as a Regional Park and ensure designation moves forward.

·     Request a report on public and private infrastructure projects that implement the Chollas Creek EnhancementProgram in order to reduce heavy metals and other toxic elements that ultimately flow into the San Diego Bay.

·     Review Otay Valley RegionalPark Concept Plan.

·     Review Mission Bay ParkImprovement Fund 10-Year Plan.

·     Review Vernal Pool HabitatConservation Plan.

·     Receive progress report of efforts to complete the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Plan Update. Provide necessary support to complete update by the end of FY 2017.

·     Receive update on efforts to expand the Mission Trails Regional Park trail network, including an accounting of any property that may need to be purchased.

·     Receive status update from thePark & Recreation Department regarding Measure J funding changes to ensure they are applied in a manner that best leverages improved services throughout regional parks.

·     Review planned and potential improvements to canyon areas for recreational and educational opportunities.

·     Discuss protecting and finding new ways to enhance park and recreation activities in the city’s regional parks.

·     Discuss City policy regarding park equivalencies, particularly the issue of how to account for regional parks in the park equivalency analysis.

·     Pursue further dedication and designation of park lands, where appropriate.

o  Review of eligible lands and work to remove barriers to dedication.

o  Discuss enhancement of a contiguous river park along the San Diego River, particularly on the current Qualcomm Stadium site.

o  Continue Implementation of the San Diego RiverPark Masterplan.

Maintenance of Canyons and Open Spaces

·     Receive regular updates on brush clearance and an update on required resources moving forward for more regular and thorough brush clearance near homes.

·     Explore strategies that would allow homeowners more defensible space in high fire risk areas.

Proactive Monitoring ofEnvironmental Issues at the Federal, State and Regional Levels

·     Review and discuss action the committee can take regarding environmental issues at all levels of government affecting San Diegans quality of life.

·     Work closely with the City’s State and Federal lobbyists to identify potential grant funding and regulation changes that can promote and expedite city programs and funding for water, storm water, and climate action projects/activity.


Utility Undergrounding

·      Receive semi-annual status reports regarding the Utility Undergrounding Program and review any proposed amendments.

·      Ensure that updates to the Utility Undergrounding Master Plan reflect community concerns about timeline and access to timely, accurate information about planned projects. Seek opportunities to accelerate the pace of undergrounding and continue efforts to minimize impacts on community character, historic resources, and right of way.


StreetCleanliness Assessment

·      Discuss coordination between theTransportation and Storm Water Departments and Environmental ServicesDepartment to create assessment of the cleanliness of City streets in order to reduce illegal dumping, graffiti and litter in the public right-of-way, streets, storm channels and storm drains.


I look forward to chairing theEnvironment Committee in 2017 and working with each committee member on their priorities to ensure the City continues its commitment to protection and oversight of precious natural and cultural resources throughout San Diego.

David Alvarez with District 80 residents


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