Stewards Blog

18
June

8th ANNUAL SGV LITTER CLEAN-UP, BBQ, MUSIC

PLEASE JOIN US!

SATURDAY JUNE 17TH • 10:00 AM

LAGUNITAS SCHOOL MULTI PURPOSE ROOM
(JUST OFF THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT IN FRONT OF THE GYM)
YOU WILL BE ASSIGNED A SECTION OF ROAD, OBTAIN A SAFETY VEST, GRABBERS AND PLASTIC BAGS. BE BACK BY NOON, RETURN VEST, GRABBERS, AND LITTER BAGS. THE LITTER WILL BE SORTED AND ALL RECYCLABLES WILL BE DISPOSED OF PROPERLY.

12 NOON

JOIN US FOR A COMPLEMENTARY BBQ PREPARED BY OUR OWN ED HEALY!

ENJOY LIVE MUSIC BY WOODACRES JASON JONES (TOM FINCH BAND, THE WRONGLERS, BROTHER LOVE, AND THE SALVATIONS.)

LET'S MAKE A DIFFERENCE
AND HAVE FUN!

MANY THANKS TO OUR YEAR ROUND LITTER REMOVAL VOLUNTEERS, FOR KEEPING TRASH OUT OF THE CREEKS AND OFF OUR ROADWAY!

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER,
DR. ELINOR OSTROM:

"FISHERIES AND NATURAL RESOURCES ARE BEST MANAGED BY LOCAL COMMUNITIES

SGV STEWARDS PHILOSOPHY

WE ARE VALLEY PROUD

15
June

Your Call to Action! Your Home Your Rights
Send your comments to County Officials before June 15th

Mail Your comments to County Officials before June 15th deadline

On May 1, 2017 Marin County released a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for San Geronimo Valley, describing the effects of our family homes on the creek habitat for coho salmon. This report and actions by Marin County and other government agencies, will impact your home and your neighbors for the next decade!

Time is limited!

You must send the government your comments, questions, and corrections on the SEIR no later than June 15. If County does not receive your comments by that date, your rights are forever waived to request changes in the SEIR.

Go to the MarinCounty.org website and click on the page for environmental reviews. You may also "subscribe" to this page so you will receive emails announcing any revisions to the San Geronimo SEIR, and future environmental reports.

http://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/environmental-review

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12
June

SG Valley Stewards Comments to Draft SEIR

From:
San Geronimo Valley Stewards - Koa Pickering, President, Denis Poggio, Peggy Sheneman
By US Mail To:
Rachel Reid
Environmental Planning Manager
Marin Community Development Agency
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite #308
San Rafael CA 94903
By Email: enplanning@marincounty.org
Hard Copies Mailed To County Of Marin Officials Listed On Page 14
RE: Comments from the San Geronimo Valley Stewards
County of Marin - Draft April 2017 Supplemental EIR

San Geronimo Valley Stewards thanks the Marin Community Development Agency and Marin County Counsel for their diligent and professional work on the SEIR draft. We appreciate the research of Stillwater Sciences in this difficult assignment.

Our comments are made with the intent of improving the SEIR and providing more information, so the County can move forward with a 2018 Countywide Plan and a new stream ordinance. Mitigation steps which require taxpayer dollars should be informed by data to make the projects effective.

SG Valley Stewards supported adoption of the 2013 Marin County Interim Stream Conservation Area Ordinance. The 2013 Ordinance was also supported by Marin Conservation League, Marin Audubon Society, and other responsible conservation groups. Unfortunately, it never took effect in San Geronimo Valley because Spawn sued to stop it, which triggered the "poison pill" clause. The 2013 Ordinance governed the other unincorporated areas of Marin, until sunset by its own terms in April 2016.

Why the SEIR is Important to 800 Families Living in Existing Homes Near the Creeks.

The draft SEIR evaluates only one development scenario--a full build out of 358 new units. (SEIR pages 2-25 to 2-45.) The SEIR recommends mitigating the impact of full build out by adopting a new stream ordinance, with strict adherence to 100-foot setbacks, discretionary design review, and hiring expensive experts for every activity within the stream conservation area. (SEIR pages 5-12 to 5-22.) The SEIR recommendations are similar to the Tier 3 stream permit required for large new house construction under Marin's 2013 interim stream ordinance.

The SEIR makes no mention of exceptions or exemptions for small improvements to existing homes, most of which were built in before 1980 on small lots within 100 feet of streams. In suggesting a mitigation ordinance, the SEIR should acknowledge the precedent of the 2013 ordinance Tier 1 and Tier 2 permits for small projects. Consider for an existing home a handicap ramp, children's' play structure, garbage can enclosure, vegetable garden, or driveway paving. Do these small projects justify discretionary design review, Planning Commission hearings, and appeal to the Board of Supervisors?

Since the 2007 Countywide Plan, Marin County has recognized the crises in affordable housing, especially in West Marin. Second units and junior second units are the least expensive and fastest way to add housing, privately financed, without taxpayer dollars. A 350 square foot addition to an existing house can create a new bathroom and studio/bedroom. This would provide caregiver housing for a senior, or enable a homeowner to rent space for workforce housing.

Marin Community Development Agency has recommended that a stream ordinance should follow guidelines for "CASE": The ordinance should be Clear, Affordable, Simple and Enforceable.

SUMMARY:

SGV Stewards respectfully request the following corrections and additions be made to the Draft SEIR before it is approved by the Board of Supervisors:

A. Amend the SEIR to also evaluate two reasonably probable developments with lesser impact on habits; Building 108 new houses, and /or permitting small improvements to existing homes. Calibrate the new stream ordinance (suggested as a mitigation measure) to the lesser impacts of these projects.

B. Recognize and accommodate geographic constraints, by studying the impact of a 35-foot setback for existing homes on small lots near the creeks.

C. Do not place regulatory obstacles to fire prevention. Vegetation and tree management is dictated by state law, our fire insurance policies, and the Marin Fire Department. Fire conflagration would be a disaster for the San Geronimo salmon species.

D. Provide more information and hard data on: How TIA is measured under existing conditions, impervious area caused by roads and paved surfaces, current and historic water flows, sediment impact on watershed lands owned by exempt parties (government agencies and agriculture), and effect of septic effluent on groundwater.

E. Clarify SEIR guidance on the proposed Mitigation Ordinance: Can homeowners rebuild after disaster? Who performs and pays for site assessments?

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16
may

Your Home Your Rights - Public Forum May 16

Marin County's NEW Repor Will Govern Your House on or near a Creek
Come to the Public Forum Tuesday May 16, 2017 * 7 pm
Lagunitas School Multipurpose Roo

Speak Out Now, or your rights are waived.

San Geronimo Valley Stewards welcomes the public to a community forum:
Tuesday May 16, 2017 at 7 pm

We want to hear YOUR concerns, objections, ideas for improvements. County officials have been invited, but this meeting is for YOU.

Marin County released its 2017 Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR), per Court order in the Spawn lawsuit. The SEIR measures impact on the coho salmon and creeks of the 900 family homes now located close to the San Geronimo streams. It looks at future home-building on the 100 empty lots remaining in the Valley.

The County intends to use the SEIR to prepare a new stream ordinance which will govern how you use and improve your house over the next decade. The County is also considering a new Countywide Plan.

COME TO THE MAY 16 MEETING AND LEARN MORE!

You can read the SEIR report online at the www.marincounty.org website: www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/environmental-review

You can download and print, but it is over 150 pages, with fold out graphs and maps.

San Geronimo Valley Stewards has arranged for printed copies to be purchased at a reasonable price from Avatar, 769 Center Blvd., in Fairfax, phone 415-457-5773.

Time is limited!

The County must receive your comments by Thursday June 15.

Send comments on the SEIR to: Marin Community Development Agency
Attn: Rachel Reid
3501 Civic Center Drive, 3rd floor, San Rafael CA 94903 or by email to RReid@marincounty.org

We suggest you copy our Supervisor Rodoni with your comments:DRodoni@marincounty.org

Nobel Prize winner, Dr Elinor Ostrom:
"Fisheries and natural resources are best managed by local communities."

SGV Stewards philosophy.
WE ARE VALLEY PROUD

18
apr

Environmental Impact Report Scoping Session Lagunitas School Multipurpose Room

The SGV Stewards board and committee wish to inform you of the second important meeting concerning the progress of the waste water project, and its future. We hope you can attend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 • 6pm

Environmental Impact Report Scoping Session - Lagunitas School Multipurpose Room

This is an opportunity to provide input to the County regarding the issues that should be considered in the Environmental Impact Report for the Woodacre/San Geronimo Wastewater Project

The executive summary and complete draft report for the Waste Water Project can be found online at the County's webpage:
http://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/environmental-health-services/woodacre-san-geronimo-wastewater

Woodacre/San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Recycling Project
www.marincounty.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:
http://WoodacreSan GeronimoFlats.org

From the Woodacre/San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group, Christin Anderson, Liza Crosse, Wypke DeVries, Maya Gladstern, Rich Lohman, Catherine McQuilkin, Denis Poggio, Jim Rawlinson, Ann Seramin, Liz Vial, Mark Weiss, Bruce Wick, Mark Wilson (technical advisor)

http://WoodacreSanGeronimoFlats.org

7
Mar

Clear Invasive Weeds

On Tuesday, March 7th from 7pm-9pm Marin Resource Conservation District and UC Cooperative Extension have organized a community forum on clearing invasive weeds from our watershed.

Location: SGV Community Center in the large loft above the gym.

Topic: The watershed-threatening invasive plant species specific to San Geronimo Creek and the overall Lagunitas Creek watershed called Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica). It is getting out of control and land managers downstream and upstream are becoming very concerned.

Come on March 7 to learn how to identify it, and why it’s harmful for the riparian habitat and property values. Come together as a community to identify the best steps toward getting rid of it before it’s too late. For more info, contact Sarah Phillips at Marin RCD.

Sarah Phillips Urban Streams Program Manager
Marin Resource Conservation District
phone 415.663.1170 ext 302
email: Sarah@marinrcd.org, website: www.marinrcd.org

9
Feb

Marin Court Denies Spawns's Request for Injunction

On Feb. 9, 2017, Marin Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson denied Spawn's request to stop all construction and home projects in the San Geronimo Valley, in Civil case # 1004866. (You can access the records on www.marincourts.org.)

In March 2014, the Court of Appeals ordered the County to prepare a new SEIR (Supplemental Environmental Impact Report), and asked Judge Haakenson to enforce that order. However, the Court of Appeals denied an injunction against building, as an improper restriction on property owners' rights.

Continue Reading

 

18
june

Summer English Ivy Bash Woodacre Creek

31
May

Wildfire!

Valley Fire

May 31, 2016 Tuesday 7pm
FREE Public Program at
San Geronimo Comminity Presbyterian Church
6001 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., corner Nicasio Rd.
SEE color slides of Inverness Vision Fire and other firefighting actions.
LISTEN to prevention and evacuation advice from Fire Officials.
LEARN about preparation and response strategies.
Everyone is welcome!
Presented by SGV Stewards
For Info email info@sgvstewards.org

 

11
Apr

Next Court Date

The County will give a progress report to the Court on April 11, 2016 for the cumulative impact analysis and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

 

26
Feb

Next Hearing

Spawn's second lawsuit:
In 2013 Spawn filed a second lawsuit against Marin County (Civ. No. 1304716). Spawn seeks to void the Interim Stream Conservation Area Ordinance adopted in October 2013, because it was not tough enough on homeowners. (The Interim SCA Ordinance was supported by San Geronimo Valley Stewards, Marin Conservation League, and other responsible conservation groups.) The next hearing is February 26, 2016.

 

12
dec

What's Next

Your Tax Dollars Paid to SPAWN's Lawyers. What's next?

Marin Superior Court on December 11, 2015 awarded SPAWN's lawyers $652,000. The fees must be paid by Marin County taxpayers.

Stanford Law Clinic and Attorney Michael Graf originally applied for $917,000 in fees to represent SPAWN in its 2010 lawsuit (Civ. No. 1004866). Spawn demanded that the County pass a stream conservation ordinance, and asked the Court to order the County to prepare a cumulative impact analysis showing the effect on salmon of additional home improvements in San Geronimo Valley.

The court reduced the $917,000 fees by 28%, with most of the cuts made in billings by Stanford Law Clinic. County Counsel called the reduced fees "grossly excessive" for filing one motion and one appeal brief.

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21
Nov

Hearing Update

Judge zeroes in on salmon group's bid to bill taxpayers $917,000

Salmon run up in Lagunitas Creek. Attorneys want $917,000 from the county after winning a court order requiring the county to study how development affects salmon in the San Geronimo Valley

A Marin judge needs a few more days to sort out how much if anything taxpayers owe fishery group lawyers who won a court order requiring the county to study how development affects salmon in the San Geronimo Valley.

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20
Nov

SPAWN Fees Hearing is Nov 20

On November 20 Friday at 9 am, the Court will consider Spawn's request for Marin taxpayers to fund $916,953 in SPAWN's attorneys fees for the lawsuit opposing the 2007 Countywide Plan. The hearing will be in Courtroom E at Civic Center, before Judge Haakenson.

San Geronimo Valley Stewards will attend to observe. (We are not allowed to make comments or written objections. The County is the defending party.)

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17
Oct

Creek Clean Up October 17

Creek Clean Up October 17

San Geronimo Valley Stewards were hard at work doing creek clean up from the Montazuma Bridge in Forest Knolls down to the Lagunitas Road Bridge in the San Geronimo Valley on Saturday, October 17th. Sarah Phillips, Marin Resource Conservation Districts Urban Stream Coordinator, outfitted SGV Stewards volunteers with vests, gloves, and buckets, as well as participating in picking up all unwanted debris along that stretch of the Lagunitas creek. It was a very successful day, and a very tasteful lunch was rewarded for those that helped in Forest Knolls Park.
More Pictures

3
Oct

Map Our San Geronimo Trails

On Saturday October 3 from 1 pm - 4 pm, Marin Parks & Open Space District will map the trails for our San Geronimo Valley. Some new trails will be added, old trails may be closed.

If you love to hike, bike or ride horses, come to this workshop! Public comments welcome. At Lagunitas School this Saturday.

28
July

Stewards Support Remodel of Old Family Home

In the first test case for San Geronimo Valley, the Marin Board of Supervisors approved the reconstruction of a 90-year old home in Lagunitas and overruled Spawn's objections to the house. The five Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the 941 square foot Saban family home. Supervisors hailed this as a model of environmentally sensitive development near the stream.

SG Valley Stewards and the neighbors of the Saban family support the project. Valley Stewards wrote letters and spoke at the Planning Commission and Supervisors hearings. We congratulate the Saban family, and welcome them to the Valley.

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2
July

Educational Evening on: Eroding Creek Banks and Salmon!

Thursday, July 2nd
7-9 pm
Spirit Rock Center
5000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Woodacre, CA

Learn about Salmon Habitat Needs, current populations in West Marin and how best to repair and restore eroding creek banks with nationally acclaimed specialists!

Dr. Ann Riley is the author of Restoring Streams in Cities, the executive director of the Waterways Restoration Institute and a watershed and river restoration advisor for the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board. she has organized, planned, designed, constructed, and funded numerous stream restoration projects in California and throughout the United States and garnered many awards for her great work.

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27
JAN

CONTACT INFO FOR HOMEOWNER HELP

You can call or email the following people at public agencies to arrange for homeowner evaluations and site visits, answer questions about permits, or help with volunteer projects for creek restoration.

Marin RCD assures residents that it does not enter private property without an invitation from the owner. RCD has no regulatory authority and does not file enforcement complaints. Marin DPW uses outside consultants who have no regulatory or code enforcement duties.

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21
JAN

HOMEOWNERS AND CREEKS GET HELP

San Geronimo Valley Stewards thank the volunteers, Spirit Rock Center which donated meeting space, Kallie Kull of Marin Dept. Public Works, and Sarah Phillips and Richard Plant of Marin Resource Conservation District for our January 14 program on creek restoration. Over 90 homeowners attended. People suggested volunteer projects, and asked questions about County and RCD assistance for creekside homes.

Sarah Phillips and Community of San Geronimo Valley

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13
dec

Control Access to Your Creek Property

Control Access to Your Creek Property

Have you seen a notice tucked in your fence or under a gate? It may be hard to see or have blown away in the wind. The notice is from SPAWN stating they will enter your property and walk your creek looking for salmon.

If you do not respond, the notice will assume you consent and SPAWN will enter your land.

SPAWN cannot operate in your creeks without your consent.

YOU CAN SAY "NO" TO SPAWN

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6
dec

Court Victory for County and Homeowners

Court Victory for County and Homeowners

Marin County Counsel won a victory for homeowners on December 5, 2014 when the Court denied SPAWN's request for an injunction in San Geronimo Valley. Judge Paul Haakensen ruled against SPAWN because the injunction would have affected the rights of homeowners who were given no opportunity to address the impact of the injunction. Families can once again apply for permits, including home improvements located within 100 feet of streams.

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5
dec

Peak Spawning Season is Heres

Report from Eric Ettlinger, MMWD

We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks on Lagunitas Creek with lots of both rain and fish. In that time we’ve received over eight inches of rain and Lagunitas Creek flows increased from 20 cubic feet per second to a peak of 1,800 cfs. During a break in the rain on Monday we observed 63 coho, 28 Chinook, and one a chum salmon.

The stats for the season so far include:
· 117 coho, 74 Chinook, and two chum salmon
· 24 coho redds (gravel nests), 20 Chinook redds, one chum redd, and nine redds we couldn’t classify
Our coho observations are far above average for this early in December and we’ve already seen the second-highest number of Chinook recorded for the creek.

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1
dec

San Geronimo Valley Supports Streams, Not Injunctions

Editorial in Marin IJ

On December 5, SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) will ask Marin Superior Court for a second injunction against all home improvement permits in San Geronimo Valley. SPAWN's first court injunction lasted 18 months. This followed a 24-month Valley building moratorium demanded by SPAWN. Enough is enough.

San Geronimo Valley is home for 2,000 families. The average house is 1400 square feet, on a lot measuring 110 feet by 110 feet. About half of our small lots are located near a stream, which may be a main channel with fish, a seasonal runoff, or an "ephemeral stream" (drainage that appears only in the rain).

Over the past five years, San Geronimo families have been prohibited from making normal home improvements. We cannot install a garden shed, add a bedroom, or enclose our trash containers because the County is barred from issuing permits. Our hands are tied by the legal maneuvers of SPAWN, which also calls itself Turtle Island Restoration Network.

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1
Jun

Our New Fence Sign

SGV Stewards Bumper Stickers 2014

Stewards Signs and Bumper Stickers