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Pinole Valley Watershed by Kristin Myers Harvey

The East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) is one of the largest landowners in the East Bay.  As a public utilities agency, their mission is:

To manage the natural resources with which the District is entrusted; to provide reliable, high quality water and wastewater services at fair and reasonable rates for the people of the East Bay; and to preserve and protect the environment for future generations.

Since EBMUD is clearly in the business of protecting the environment, we at EBCNPS hold this agency to a high standard.  Therefore, when we were informed about their new mitigation bank, we believed this would be a great opportunity to set aside important habitat and manage it with greater care.

Upon reviewing the EBMUD prospectus for the Pinole Valley Mitigation Bank, we believe that there is much room for improvement.  The document was surprisingly weak on habitat descriptions and monitoring standards. We asked for more complete descriptions and precise plans on grazing and monitoring the mitigation bank.  Additionally, we argued against Pinole Valley being a proper mitigation site for oak impacts that occur as far away as Brentwood and San Ramon.  Rather, we asked EBMUD to narrow the geographic scope of the “oak mitigation zone”.  We also wanted the bank to consider known impacts of Sudden Oak Death in the PVMB area. Additionally, we wanted clarity on how a for-profit mitigation bank fits into the mission of the non-profit public utilities agency.

We will continue to work on a better mitigation bank prospectus and plan as this process sets important precedent for conservation efforts in the East Bay, as well as future mitigation banks on EBMUD land.

Here are EBCNPS comments on EBMUD PVMB.

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