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In 2018, the California Department of General Services (DGS), Real Estate Services Division (RESD) selected Horizon to once again provide environmental compliance services for the agency’s northern region.
DGS RESD is responsible for planning developing many state buildings and properties. Horizon provides DGS with diverse range of environmental services including in-depth biological, hydrology, water quality, and cultural resources investigations.
An example of a recent Horizon project for DGS is the environmental documentation for the relocation and demolition of the State Printing Plant and Textbook Warehouse. Horizon completed a mitigated negative declaration for the project on an accelerated schedule, filing a public draft within 4 months from the DGS notice to proceed. All technical studies were conducted by Horizon staff, which continues to provide permitting and mitigation measure implementation support, including archaeological exploratory trenching.
Recent fire seasons make clear that massive wildfires are the “new normal” in California. As fire risk increases, vegetation management becomes increasingly important to reduce fire hazard.
Horizon is experienced with vegetation management projects and has successfully assisted several clients with vegetation management planning, compliance, and implementation including the City of Oakland, San Jose Water Company, Sonoma County Water Agency and San Mateo County.
Horizon’s approach to vegetation management balances desired vegetation outcomes with protecting biological resources and also addressing community concerns. One recent example of Horizon’s work is the Oakland Vegetation Management Plan, which covers fire risk reduction vegetation management activities occurring on City-owned parcels in Oakland, covering more than 1,400 acres and 300 miles of roadside.
In August 2018, the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority (SRWA) held a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate a key step in completing the Regional Surface Water Supply Project. Construction began on a wet well and pump station facility at Turlock Irrigation District’s (TID’s) infiltration gallery on the Tuolumne River, near the Geer Road bridge. The project helps in the design and development of a regional water treatment plant to provide surface water to the Cities of Ceres and Turlock.
Horizon Water and Environment has had extensive involvement with the project throughout the development and environmental review process. Horizon prepared an IS/MND for the Infiltration Gallery Testing Project (adopted in September 2017) and an EIR for the Surface Water Supply Project (certified in August 2018). Permitting efforts have involved coordination with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Section 401 water quality certification), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Section 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Incidental Take Permit and special-status species requirements), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Section 404 permitting), Central Valley Flood Protection Board (encroachment permit), and State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water (State Revolving Fund loan application process).
(Above) Members of the SRWA Technical Advisory Committee attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Infiltration Gallery Testing Project: (l-r) Garner Reynolds, Michael Cooke, Jeremy Damas, Toby Wells, Phil Govea, Robert Granberg (SRWA General Manager), Bill Penney, Tou Her, and Stephen Fremming.
Horizon Water and Environment together with our client, the San Mateo County Department of Public Works, won the 2019 Award for Outstanding Environmental Resource Document by the California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP). The award-winning document is the San Mateo County Routine Maintenance Program Manual (Maintenance Manual). The Maintenance Manual is a state-of-the-art document for resource planning and protection that provides clear methodology and uses site-specific resource assessments to target and focus impact avoidance and minimization approaches. Additionally, the Maintenance Manual:
- presents a creative but practical approach to categorize routine work sites according to their resource sensitivity, an approach that is supported by regulatory agencies.
- provides an approach to classify and organize different maintenance activities and their potential environmental effects that are directly transferable to other jurisdictions and organizations.
- represents a flexible and programmatic approach toward resource management that can evolve as the County’s needs shift over time
- is a clear and accessible document, structured in a logical sequence for ease of use.
Horizon is a recognized leader in helping public agencies develop their capital improvement and maintenance programs, obtaining long-term permits for on-going activities, conducting resource studies, and completing CEQA/NEPA in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Horizon Water and Environment together with our client, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), won the 2018 Merit Award for Environmental Analysis Document by the California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP). The award-winning document is the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Program EIR. CDFA established this licensing program in compliance with recent legislation and voter-approved initiatives to allow medical and adult use of cannabis. Unregulated cannabis cultivation had led to substantial environmental impacts on water supply, water quality, fisheries, timber conversion, public safety, and other concerns. The program establishes a regulatory framework that allows for commercial cultivation to be conducted in a manner that protects the general public, cannabis cultivation workers, and the environment.
The Program EIR prepared by Horizon provides a comprehensive evaluation of CDFA’s proposed regulations and the activities that would occur in compliance with the regulations. Written in clear and understandable language and organized in a clear manner, the Program EIR strikes an appropriate balance between technical rigor and public accessibility. This innovative EIR:
- Provides an efficient vehicle for minimizing environmental impacts associated with cannabis cultivation.
- Avoids duplication with other cannabis regulatory programs.
- Allows flexibility for local jurisdictions.
- Streamlines future CEQA compliance documents through its tiering strategy.
Horizon is a recognized leader in helping public agencies develop EIRs for regulatory programs that are both technically thorough and clear and understandable for the general public.