Policy: Dredging, No. 11

"a. A project that uses dredged material to create, restore, or enhance Bay or certain waterway natural resources should be approved only if: The Commission, based on detailed site specific studies, appropriate to the size and potential impacts of the project, that include, but are not limited to, site morphology and physical conditions, biological considerations, the potential for fostering invasive species, dredged material stability, and engineering aspects of the project, determines all of the following:
the project would provide, in relationship to the project size, substantial net improvement in habitat for Bay species; no feasible alternatives to the fill exist to achieve the project purpose with fewer adverse impacts to Bay resources; the amount of dredged material to be used would be the minimum amount necessary to achieve the purpose of the project;beneficial uses and water quality of the Bay would be protected; and there is a high probability that the project would be successful and not result in unmitigated environmental harm;The project includes an adequate monitoring and management plan and has been carefully planned, and the Commission has established measurable performance objectives and controls that would help ensure the success and permanence of the project, and an agency or organization with fish and wildlife management expertise has expressed to the Commission its intention to manage and operate the site for habitat enhancement or restoration purposes for the life of the project; The project would use only clean material suitable for aquatic disposal and the Commission has solicited the advice of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Dredged Material Management Office and other appropriate agencies on the suitability of the dredged material; The project would not result in a net loss of Bay or certain waterway surface area or volume. Any offsetting fill removal would be at or near as feasible to the habitat fill site; Dredged material would not be placed in areas with particularly high or rare existing natural resource values, such as eelgrass beds and tidal marsh and mudflats, unless the material would be needed to protect or enhance the habitat. The habitat project would not, by itself or cumulatively with other projects, significantly decrease the overall amount of any particular habitat within the Suisun, North, South, or Central Bays, excluding areas that have been recently dredged;The Commission has consulted with the California Department of Fish and Game, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that at least one of these agencies supports the proposed project; and After a reasonable period of monitoring, if either: the project has not met its goals and measurable objectives, and attempts at remediation have proven unsuccessful, or the dredged material is found to have substantial adverse impacts on the natural resources of the Bay, then the dredged material would be removed, unless it is demonstrated by competent environmental studies that removing the material would have a greater adverse effect on the Bay than allowing it to remain, and the site would be returned to the conditions existing immediately preceding placement of the dredged material.

b. To ensure protection of Bay habitats, the Commission should not authorize dredged material disposal projects in the Bay and certain waterways for habitat creation, enhancement or restoration, except for projects using a minor amount of dredged material, until: Objective and scientific studies have been carried out to evaluate the advisability of disposal of dredged material in the Bay and certain waterways for habitat creation, enhancement and restoration. Those additional studies should address the following: The Baywide need for in-Bay habitat creation, enhancement and restoration, in the context of maintaining appropriate amounts of all habitat types within the Bay, especially for support and recovery of endangered species; and The need to use dredged materials to improve Bay habitat, the appropriate characteristics of locations in the Bay for such projects, and the potential short-term and cumulative impacts of such projects; and The Commission has adopted additional Baywide policies governing disposal of dredged material in the Bay and certain waterways for the creation, enhancement and restoration of Bay habitat, which narratively establish the necessary biological, hydrological, physical and locational characteristics of candidate sites; and The Oakland Middle Harbor enhancement project, if undertaken, is completed successfully."

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