Agenda Item #
October 5, 2006

September 28, 2006

Alameda County Board of Supervisors
Administration Building
1221 Oak Street, Fifth Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

SUBJECT: Proposed establishment of a Creeks Taskforce, as outlined through a series of public workshops and input from the Transportation and Planning Committee of the Board

Dear Board Members:


Transportation and Planning Committee of the Board of Supervisors:

The Transportation and Planning Committee (T&P) evaluated the proposal for the Creeks Taskforce developed through a public process, and recommended four (4) specific changes outlined in this report. In addition, the T&P recommended that the Board adopt the proposed taskforce configuration, focus and intent.

Staff Recommendations:

1. Approve the proposed Creeks Taskforce configuration, focus and intent developed by the Creeks Taskforce Planning Group (CTPG) with specific changes recommended by the T&P as outlined in this report.

2. Approve the application/selection process and schedule.


The Creeks Taskforce proposal herein is the culmination of several meetings of the Creeks Taskforce Planning Group (CTPG), convened by Supervisors Lai-Bitker, Miley and Steele; input gained at a series of community creeks meetings; and recommendations from the Board's Transportation and Planning Committee. The Creeks Taskforce (Taskforce) has been suggested as the best method to develop citizen recommendations to address a wide array of creek-related issues facing Unincorporated Alameda County.

This report outlines the proposed form of the Taskforce, its focus (both geographically and with respect to its priority issues), a start-up timeline, and associated needs. Notes from the CTPG (Attachment A) and the T&P staff report (Attachment B) have been attached to provide further background detail.

T&P reviewed and made specific comments, and suggested four (4) changes to the CTPG's Taskforce recommendations. T&P requested the following changes:

1. Eastern Alameda County will not be included in the Taskforce process.
2. The Taskforce will focus on the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed (which encompasses lands within the districts of Supervisors Lai-Bitker, Miley and Steele).
3. The membership should be drawn from these three supervisorial districts.
4. No generalized templates should be created through this Taskforce process, as issues differ among watersheds and should be addressed separately.

During an earlier community meeting, Supervisor Steele has asked that the Taskforce process separate out immediate needs of the middle reach of San Lorenzo Creek, where several homeowners are facing substantial bank erosion and the potential for loss of property. These specific issues are being addressed through the Public Works Agency.


The CTPG identified a series of issues that might be addressed by the Taskforce, suggesting that review and enhancement of ordinances as well as a strengthening of development standards should be considered as priority items. The Board has enacted a Creeks Moratorium that has the potential to run for as long as two years. The primary concerns identified in implementing the Moratorium were the need for better development standards in the vicinity of creeks and a strengthening of ordinances pertaining to creeks. The strong correlation between the focus of the Moratorium, as well as the CTPG direction, suggests that the early work of the Taskforce might focus on development standards and ordinances.

By focusing on the San Lorenzo Creek Watershed, the Taskforce would be able to pay particular attention to those waterways that are most affected by the urban environment (and vice versa). Both the suggested geography and initial work would allow for the Taskforce to focus its attention and have greater potential to accomplish realistic goals.

The Taskforce will require a series of meetings to start up, define protocols and discuss the series of identified issues. Staff anticipates the Taskforce could meet as early as January 2007, with a minimum of a two year process assumed. The Taskforce would hold regular meetings and should also have a reporting function to the Unincorporated Services Committee of the Board (the Transportation and Planning Committee agreed that Unincorporated Services is a more appropriate venue for these reports given the geographic scope of the exercise).

Another point of consideration for the Board is the need for dedicated resources, both in staffing and budget, to accomplish the proposed goals of the Taskforce. Thus far, CDA and PWA have been providing the bulk of the staff support to this effort. Among anticipated future staffing, there will be a need for County Counsel input and review, and the potential need for a neutral facilitator and technical experts. Staff will provide a more complete evaluation of needs at a future Board meeting, once the Taskforce has met and developed its initial scope of work.

Taskforce Membership

The Taskforce make-up has been discussed at some length, with a resulting recommendation of fifteen members chosen through an at-large application process. The Taskforce members should be citizens of Unincorporated Alameda County and should be drawn from the three noted Supervisors' districts. A group of stakeholder groups should be considered for membership including:

* Homeowners
* Agriculturalists
* Ranchers
* Developers
* Environmentalists
* Recreation Community
* Community-based Watershed Organizations

Taskforce Start Up

Should the Board decide that the described Taskforce and process is appropriate, a number of steps are necessary to initiate. These include:

* Develop application and materials (draft application attached for review - Attachment C)
* Public notice and invitation to apply (begin early October 2006)
* Board review and selection of Taskforce members (late December 2006 or early January 2007)


The proposed Creeks Taskforce is anticipated to have some fiscal impact to the County. Once the Taskforce has formulated its work scope and identified resource needs, a request for funding and resource support will be made to the Board. Currently, activities and costs of the Taskforce process are being absorbed within existing CDA and PWA budgets, but a more expansive Taskforce effort will likely necessitate identified funding in the FY 2007-2008 budget.


James E. Sorensen
Director, Community Development Agency