Rural California CEQA Toolbox Additions
Saturday, May 20, 2017
8:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. CDT
San Francisco, CA, United States
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Rural areas in California have historically been dependent on a natural resource utilization base that has, in recent years,’ turned into’ sensitive habitats, requiring use of tools not normally thought of in CEQA analysis. Staying ahead in current trends requires developing application of these tools suited for the rural environment. Panel members will present on applications of services such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)drone services, horizontal drilling and others. Are these technologies considered in the development of or as a feasible mitigation in your CEQA document? Two examples are described below but there are several others that will be discussed.
UAVs are utilized for mapping and quantifying spatial coverage of sensitive habitats such as intertidal eel grass or other sensitive plant habitat. UAVs have also been utilized to establish, through full color spectral analysis, where Quinoa crops are stressed due to lack of irrigation or nutrients. This technology can be applied to reduce water withdrawal/water consumption of crops that impact creek and wetland resources by direct withdrawal from creeks and springs. By monitoring stress levels appropriate irrigation amounts can be applied. UAV technologies can also be utilized to develop digital elevation models and topographic mapping of hillside quarries, gravel bars, landslides and can be utilized economically for emergency response personnel responding to natural disasters.
Another tool in use is horizontal drilling technology that allows avoidance of trenching through sensitive or aquatic environments by tunneling under them. By positioning horizontal drilling correctly there are minimal direct impacts to the creek or wetland; water diversions are not necessary and erosion control/revegetation adjacent to these aquatic environments is minimized. It can be further utilized where utilities need to be deep underground or to avoid disrupting traffic on roadways with no detours.
These and other technologies will be discussed with examples that have recently been implemented.
Lynne Bynder, email@example.com