Frequently Asked Questions
What is a EWMP?
The Los Angeles County Flood Control District (District) along with other agencies throughout Los Angeles County are embarking on a new way to address and manage stormwater runoff with the Enhanced Watershed Management Programs (EWMPs). The EWMPs will seek and investigate opportunities throughout Los Angeles County to construct multi-benefit projects that will improve stormwater quality, water supply, and/or flood control. [Click Here to see Map]
Why is the District Preparing a Program EIR?
- The Los Angeles County Flood Control District is preparing a Program EIR to evaluate the proposed EWMPs that are being developed to improve water quality in Los Angeles County.
- The Program EIR is an Advanced Planning Document describing details of the EWMPs being launched to comply with the new MS4 Stormwater Permit.
- It differs from a "Project EIR" in that No Specific Projects will be approved by this Program EIR.
- It will describe future development goals and policies without assessing any individual projects.
- Advance Planning improves public awareness and government transparency and provides for a higher level assessment of policy decisions prior to the consideration of individual projects.
What is the Role of the Flood Control District and Other Permittees?
- The Flood Control District is the Lead Agency preparing the Program EIR, evaluating each of the EWMPs within the County. This County-wide approach provides for a comprehensive view that will result in hundreds of water quality projects installed by multiple entities over a diverse geographic area.
- Each Permittee may choose to adopt the Program EIR at its own discretion and is responsible for implementation of individual projects.
What is a Program EIR?
A Program EIR is a type of Environmental Impact Report (EIR) allowed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that is used to evaluate a plan or program that has multiple components or actions that are related either geographically, through application of rules or regulations, or as logical parts of a long-term plan.
What is CEQA?
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a California law enacted in 1969 that requires public agencies in the state to evaluate environmental impacts of proposed projects. The act includes a public review period allowing the public and interested agencies time to comment on the project and potential impacts.
What does the Program EIR Cover?
- The Program EIR describes and assesses policy-level commitments required to implement the EWMP.
- These commitments include installation of structural improvements alongside the storm drain infrastructure as well as adoption of non-structural policies aimed at reducing pollutant loading in our urban storm sewer runoff.
- Structural projects range from small, localized drainage improvements to large capture and treatment projects.
What Does this Program EIR Accomplish?
This Program EIR assesses environmental effects of implementing Enhanced Watershed Management Programs (EWMPs) throughout the County to achieve compliance with the MS4 Permit.
- It is a disclosure process that identifies potential impacts to the environment.
- It informs the public and decision makers about the potential impacts.
- It identifies ways to avoid or reduce potential impacts.
What is the Schedule?
- The Program EIR will be published for public review on January 16, 2015 at www.LACoH2Osheds.com
- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider certifying the Program EIR in April 2015.
- The EWMPs will be submitted to the Water Quality Regional Board by June 28, 2015 to comply with the MS4 permit.
- Subsequent environmental analysis will be required for all the storm water quality improvement projects currently under development through the EWMP process.
What is an MS4 Permit?
A Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is the network of storm water drainages throughout our cities that conveys storm water to the larger flood control channels and rivers and ultimately to the ocean. The federal Clean Water Act requires that MS4s be covered under a discharge permit that ensures the region will achieve regional water quality objectives. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a new MS4 discharge permit to the 85 Permittees within Los Angeles County in December 2012.
Are Specific Projects Being Approved with this Program EIR?
No. This Program EIR covering preparation of EWMPs does not approve any individual projects. Each Permittee is responsible for ensuring CEQA compliance for each of the subsequent, related projects that will arise from this planning effort.
Is the PEIR Countywide?
Yes, however there are some Cities that elected to do plans on their own.
Is there a financial commitment?
The LACFCD is sponsoring the PEIR, so there is not a City obligation for the PEIR. The Cities are already in the process of contributing finances for the planning and monitoring efforts associated with the Enhanced Watershed Management Program. Implementation costs are still being developed, but agencies should expect to cost share implementation efforts, too.
Does the PEIR contain costs?
No, but the EWMP Plans will and draft copies will be available in the upcoming months.
Is there a project schedule in the PEIR?
No, but the EWMPs will contain more details on projects including some partial time frames.