In 2016, the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s (SFEI) Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) approached Bay Planning Coalition (BPC) to receive input on developing the program’s dredger fee schedule for 2017-2019. As an organization that was founded on dredging issues in San Francisco Bay and a representative of the dredging industry in the region, BPC was excited to have the opportunity to engage with SFEI on this matter. Among other requests, BPC asked that the RMP continue to encourage dredging-related studies with fees collected through dredging operations.
To that end, BPC was pleased to become a designated member of the RMP Exposures and Effects Workgroup and attend their recent meeting in May in which a dredging-related study was presented and discussed. The study, which is currently in draft form, looks at the impact of periodic dredging on macroinvertebrate prey availability for foraging fishes in benthic habitats. While BPC supports furthering the understanding of potential effects from dredging and other activities on the benthic habitat of San Francisco Bay, our members voiced concerns regarding the study’s selection of reference sites in addition to other items in the draft report. As a result, BPC took this opportunity to express these concerns and provide recommendations on the draft report in comment letter to the RMP.
Dredgers, one of the RMP’s five major dischargers that must pay RMP fees, contribute approximately 17% to the program’s budget. It is important to our organization’s dredging community that some of these fees are put toward dredging-related studies. Many of BPC’s members must perform regular maintenance dredging to ensure safe, navigable access to San Francisco Bay. These members support and consistently comply with conservation measures and regulatory requirements necessary for protecting the aquatic environment from potential impacts of dredging. Collaboration, such as that demonstrated during the RMP’s development of the latest dredger fee schedule, continues to be key in decision-making processes involving regulated communities.
BPC greatly appreciated the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft dredging study. Furthermore, BPC thanks SFEI for their invitations to stay involved with the RMP and looks forward to future meetings.
“The Bay Planning Coalition is a non-profit organization well known for its advocacy and credibility in the San Francisco Bay Area corporate and environmental community. When we speak about an issue, legislators and regulators listen.” – John A. Coleman CEOTags: blog, dredging, RMP