Water is one of California’s most coveted commodities, and the focus of intense competition between stakeholders such as industry, agriculture, residents, and environmental interests. The state cannot afford to waste or pollute its already limited supply.
Maintaining adequate water supplies and water quality, and protecting the beneficial uses of water depends largely on land use decisions made by local government. How we plan and develop our communities has an enormous impact on the quality and quantity of California’s water. Learn more about local government programs and policies, General Plan language, case studies and more that you can apply in your community on the following topic areas:
LGC’s work since 1991 to help local governments build more livable communities also serves to protect and conserve water resources. It has helped promote communities like Village Homes of Davis, CA, that sport narrow streets (20-24 feet), lawns that slope away from the street and into natural drainage systems, and a well-connected pedestrian/bicycle trail system. Such communities help enable on-site water infiltration that percolates water through the soil, instead of releasing it to surface waters.
The Ahwahnee Principles for Water complements the Ahwahnee Principles for Resource-Efficient Communities that were developed in 1991. Many cities and counties are already using them to improve the vitality and prosperity of their communities.
Lawn trees can and must be saved during the drought. What you can do:
The “Lower Stanislaus Low Impact Development Alternative Compliance Plan” addresses the physical and fiscal constraints of on-site LID, which are disproportionately experienced by projects in infill, brownfield, and redevelopment contexts. LID can be land consumptive and/or too expensive for infill projects. Infill and redevelopment areas are of particular importance given recent state legislation that encourages more compact and coordinated growth (i.e., SB 375, AB 32, formation of Strategic Growth Council, etc.). This Plan serves as a demonstration project for communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, providing options for local governments to comply with both stormwater management goals and sustainable growth goals.
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In order to comply with existing and future stormwater discharge regulations, while promoting a resource efficient and sustainable approach to reducing stormwater runoff pollution, the City of Riverbank recognized the need to develop Low Impact Development (LID) standards and specifications. The City’s General Plan provides the overarching policy framework for a more natural approach to drainage. This document provides specific guidance for LID solutions that are customized to the local context.
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While many communities understand the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID), getting LID projects built has been difficult. In an effort to address this issue, the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) commissioned the Local Government Commission (LGC) in partnership with the Center for Water and Land Use at University of California, Davis Extension (UCDE) to assist with identifying barriers SMC members and other practitioners have faced and in prioritizing strategies to remove those barriers.
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Safe, clean water is essential to California, its nearly 37 million residents, its vibrant and diverse economy, and its cherished
quality of life. However, accessible quantities of clean wateradequate to meet California’s current and projected future needs are limited and relatively finite. It is becoming increasingly evident to policy-makers that to accommodate the often competing needs of various end-users, while providing for continued demographic and economic growth, requires careful, forward thinking management of California’s water resources.
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The pressure to grow and the development patterns to accommodate this growth have significant implications for water resources in Amador and Calaveras counties. This watershed plan examines the connections between land use policies, development patterns and water resources, and how these connections relate to local planning efforts. Within this plan is an assessment of existing conditions and policies; explanation of the links between land use decisions, watershed health, water quality, and water quality regulations; strategies and recommendations that match local needs, suggestions for planners, administrators and developers as they plan future developments, and implementation measures.
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The purpose of this plan is to better understand and bridge the disconnect between how we regulate land development and the standards we expect related to watershed health. This document is comprised of four main parts:
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LGC collaborated with the Sierra Nevada Alliance to develop a guidebook for watershed-friendly land use planning and development practices in the Sierra Nevada region.
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The fast growing Sierra Nevada is home to 24 watersheds that provide over 65% of the state’s water supply. How and where future growth occurs is essential to the long-term sustainability of the region’s water. This fact sheet provides strategies to align water and land use planning.
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Below are links to tools from across the country that will help you in your land use and watershed planning efforts. Each listing includes a brief description and a link to the resource.
Guidelines for assessing and monitoring conditions in a watershed. http://cwam.ucdavis.edu/
A nonprofit organization that provides local governments, activists, and watershed organizations around the country with the technical tools for protecting our streams, lakes and rivers. http://www.cwp.org/
Describes planning considerations, tools, and best management practices to create a more visuially appealing community. http://wupcenter.mtu.edu/education/land_use/design_guidelines/index.htm
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is a management approach to address the challenges of human activities on land and in the ocean that are changing coastal and marine ecosystems. It considers all ecosystem components, including humans and the environment, rather than managing one issue or resource in isolation. EBM tools are software or other processes that can help implement EBM by: • Providing models of ecosystems or key ecosystem processes. • Generating scenarios illustrating the consequences of different management decisions on natural resources and the economy. • Facilitating stakeholder involvement in planning processes. http://www.ebmtools.org/
Natural resource-based planning process to ensure that land use decisions are made in an environmentally sensitive and fiscally responsible way. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/nrig/index.html
The Nonpoint Source Pollution program web page for the State of Massachusetts includes "The Clean Water Toolkit", an NPS Management Manual. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/watersheds/nonpoint-source-pollution.html
This website has been developed through a Cooperative Assistance Agreement under the US EPA Office of Water 104b(3) Program in order to provide a web-based clearinghouse that allows researchers, practitioners, and program managers to collaborate and efficiently disseminate and share information with local governments, states, builders, developers, stakeholders, and environmental groups. The administrative and technical information available through this clearinghouse will be useful to permit writers, local government officials, watershed managers, and stakeholders. http://www.lid-stormwater.net/clearinghouse/
The Menu of BMPs is based on the Stormwater Phase II Rule's six minimum control measures. http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/swbmp/
National database of Phase 1 stormwater monitoring data. http://unix.eng.ua.edu/~rpitt/Research/ms4/mainms4.shtml
Scenario planning is a tool to help transportation professionals analyze various forces (health, transportation, economic, environmental, land use) that affect growth. Developed by the Federal Highway Administration. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/scenario_and_visualization/scenario_planning/index.cfm