Hydromodification and California Wetlands
- WETLAND AND RIPARIAN AREA PROTECTION POLICY
- The California Wetlands Portal: Part of the new, State of California "My Water Quality" webpages, the California Wetlands Portal provides wetland scientists, managers, and the public information about the wetlands of selected regions of California, including information on wetland projects in the Los Angeles Region. The California Wetlands Portal
- The California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) is a standardized, cost-effective tool for assessing the health of wetlands and riparian habitats. CRAM software guides users through assessments that take less than one-half field day to complete. CRAM is applicable to all wetland types. It is designed for assessing ambient conditions within watersheds, regions, and throughout the State. It can also be used to assess the performance of compensatory mitigation projects and restoration projects. California CRAM
Hydromodification is the alteration away from a natural state of stream flows or the beds or banks of rivers, streams, or creeks, including ephemeral washes, which results in hydrogeomorphic changes. Activities that alter natural stream flows include increasing the amount of impervious land within the watershed, altering patterns of surface runoff and infiltration, and channelizing natural water courses. Activities that alter the natural stream channel include, but are not limited to, straightening, narrowing or widening, deepening, lining, piping/under-grounding, filling or relocating; bank stabilization; instream activities (e.g. construction, mining, dredging); dams, levees, spillways, drop structures, weirs, and impoundments.
This Regional Board reiterated its authority over hydromodification via Resolution No. 2005-002: Regional Board Resolution on the Impacts from Hydromodification on the Water Quality and Beneficial Uses of Water Courses in the Los Angeles Region - (Feb 24, 2005)
The State Water Board is considering a new policy for the protection of wetlands and riparian areas. Certain waters of the state have lost protection under the federal Clean Water Act due to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that reduced the scope of federal jurisdiction; the Water Boards do not have a single accepted definition of wetlands that would capture the rich diversity of wetland types throughout the state; and current regulation of wetlands has not prevented loss in the quantity and quality of wetlands. A policy goal of the State Water Board is to achieve no overall net loss and a long-term net gain in the quantity, quality and diversity of waters of the state, including wetlands. For further information see: Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy
To effectively carry out the State's No Net Loss Policy for wetlands, the State needs to closely track both wetland losses and mitigation/restoration project success. Project proponents, as they are issued CWA Section 401 Certifications, will be required to use the Southern California Wetlands Standard Form to provide Project information in a standard format which will be used to track losses and gains in wetlands and which be reflected in the California Wetlands Portal. The completed form shall be submitted electronically to email@example.com or shall be submitted as a hard copy to both: 1) The Water Board to the attention of the 401 and Wetlands Unit; and 2) The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP), 3535 Harbor Blvd., Suite 110, Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1437, to the attention of Christopher W. Solek, Ph.D. The Southern California Wetlands Standard Form