Resilient Infrastructure​

Enhance services to the community by investing in County facilities and infrastructure; including roads, buildings, communications, and flood protection.

Goal 5, Objective 2

Implement land use planning and assessments to address flood protection, including river setbacks and riparian corridors, and make resources available for residents.
On Track

Updated: January 2024

Summary of objective implementation status (achievements or progress over last year; significant delays or issues, etc.)

Task 1. Implement Existing Riparian Corridor Ordinance.

Task 1a. Continue to implement the County’s existing riparian corridor ordinance program which requires zoning or use permits for most human activity in the currently mapped and regulated riparian corridors in the County.

The Natural Resources Division has been tasked with the implementation of the County’s Riparian Corridor Ordinance permitting program. A dedicated Senior Environmental Specialist has been assigned as coordinator of this program. Operating this highly resource-based program from the Natural Resources Division has improved riparian corridor protections by focusing attention on preventing or limiting new incursions into established riparian corridor to the extent allowed by the current ordinance. New guidance documents, checklists, and procedures are being developed as part of the overall management improvement process at Permit Sonoma.

Task 1b. Update the narrative of the existing Riparian Corridor Ordinance to reflect lessons learned in the first decade of implementation as well as associated application materials, guidance documents and policies.

A working draft of a revised Riparian Corridor Ordinance has been developed in preparation for when the General Plan Update begins. In addition, the improved map being developed in Task 2 will inform the General Plan Update policy conversation of what streams the County wishes to provide riparian corridor protections to.

Task 2. Applying the results of the improved “top of bank” riparian mapping project in the Sonoma Valley (previously funded with a US EPA Wetland Program Development Grant), create new Riparian Corridor Combining District Setback map to replace the outdated and inaccurate current layer based on the USGS “blue-line” stream GIS layer.

Using the map being developed in Task 3 with the Russian River Regional Monitoring Program (R3MP) and the San Francisco Estuarine Institute (SFEI), an improved top-of-bank mapping algorithm will be applied enabling a more accurate Riparian Corridor Combining District to be developed as part of the General Plan Update process.

Task 3. Use latest LIDAR data and other GIS data for the County, develop a GIS layer which maps all streams in Sonoma County from the top of all watersheds to the ocean or bay (from zero-order to the ocean or bay.

Permit Sonoma is engaged as a project partner with the R3MP and SFEI to create a complete stream map of Sonoma County, including small streams with watersheds less than 500 acres. This mapping project was initiated in November 2023 and is expected to be completed in fall 2024.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

– New County-Wide LIDAR data obtained.

– Stream and Riparian Mapping Collaborative Project with Russian River Regional Monitoring Program and San Francisco Estuarine Institute Initiated in November 2023 with expected completion in fall 2024.

Coordination and partnership update

Permit Sonoma continues to coordinate and partner with the R3MP and SFEI on obtaining an improved stream and riparian corridor map for Sonoma County.

Community, equity and climate update

No updates as of this reporting period. Extensive community and equity components will be initiated during the General Plan Update process.

Funding narrative (If this objective received Strategic Plan funding in year 1 or year 2, please provide a status of expenditures to date.)

Permit Sonoma is utilizing existing staff (Deborah Waller, John Mack) to implement this project as well as leveraging work being performed by R3MP and SFEI using their funding sources.. No additional funding was obtained from the Board to implement this objective.