Ranking Criteria for SF Bay Basin Plan Triennial Review

During the Triennial Review workshop, stakeholders expressed an interest in reviewing the criteria used during the last triennial review to rank projects.  The following text is the description of these criteria from the 2009 triennial review staff report, provided for your review and comment.

1.    Project Ranking Criteria

As was the case during the last Triennial Review, there are more potential projects than resources; only two full-time staff positions are funded for Basin Planning efforts. In this Triennial Review, the ranking criteria remain largely unchanged from the last Triennial Review, except that two criteria (“Customer Service” and “Perceived Public Interest”) have been combined into one, entitled “Public Interest,” and the criteria “User Friendly Basin Plan” has been eliminated. While the criteria, “User Friendly Basin Plan” was eliminated as a ranking criteria, this Board continues to work on improving its web page to provide easier access to an updated Basin Plan. The scoring process was also modified so that the highest score possible is 100 points rather than the 60 used in the last triennial review.  This change resulted in some criteria receiving a higher possible score than others.  Each project receives an overall score, which sums up the project’s individual scores for a range of criteria. The high-scoring projects are given priority for staff action in the following three year period. The ranking criteria and scoring are described below.

1.1.           Water Board Mission (Protect Beneficial Uses)

Projects that improve protection of beneficial uses were given higher scores (five is the highest score possible), while projects that would result in little or no direct improvement of beneficial uses were given lower scores. No projects that would weaken protection of beneficial uses are considered.

1.2.            Staff Resources Already Invested

This criterion recognizes and gives higher priority to projects that already have expended substantial Water Board staff resources. Projects already underway for a year or more received a score of fifteen.  Projects that have not been worked on received a score of five.  Projects that have received some staff resources, but are still at the early stages of developmental were assigned a score of ten.

1.3.            External Resources Already Invested

This criterion recognizes and gives higher priority to projects for which external resources have been expended. External resources may include grant funding or funding provided by affected parties to assist the Water Board in coordinating technical information and stakeholder outreach for Basin Plan amendments. Projects that have received external investment received a score of five; other projects received a score of one. 

1.4.            External Resources Likely Available

Similarly, where external resources will be (or will continue to be) dedicated to a project, higher priority is given. Such resources would augment Water Board staffing, helping to complete controversial or complex projects that otherwise might not have adequate staffing. Scores were assigned based on experience with projects where external resources have been invested, as described above, with a maximum possible score of five. Projects with no external resources received a score of one. 

1.5.            Public Interest

Water Board staff solicited input from the public, including the regulated community, citizens, and environmental groups.  Projects suggested by multiple members of the public or other stakeholders received the highest score of fifteen in this category. 

1.6.            Input from Internal Divisions

Staff from the Water Board’s Groundwater, Watershed, and NPDES divisions were tasked with identifying Basin Planning projects that would facilitate program implementation, clarify the Basin Plan, and provide better customer service. Ten points were given to projects identified as a top division priority.

1.7.            Implement State Water Board Policy

In all Triennial Reviews conducted by Regional Water Boards, one of the first items reviewed is whether there have been changes in statewide policies or plans that are inconsistent with specific Basin Plan language. A highest score of fifteen was given to projects that would bring the Basin Plan into conformance with statewide plans or policies.  

1.8.            U.S. EPA Priority

Projects that address comments in a U.S. EPA Basin Plan approval letter or other input from U.S. EPA, such as the comment letters on previous Basin Plan amendments or the comment letter on this Triennial Review, were given a score of fifteen, and issues that did not relate to U.S. EPA stated interests received a score of five.

1.9.            Geographic Scope

Projects that address multiple water bodies and regulated entities throughout the Region received higher scores (ten versus five) than issues that were more site-specific or discharger-specific.

1.10.       Low Controversy and Low Technical Complexity

These two ranking criteria recognize that projects with lower controversy and lower technical complexity could be completed efficiently, with fewer staff resources. Higher scores were assigned for non-controversial projects and for those that are considered to be straightforward from a technical perspective.

via State Water Control Board