It Takes a Team to Build a Dam



Saturday, May 20, 2017
10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. CDT

San Francisco, CA, United States

CM | 1.50

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Originally built in 1890 and 1925, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Lower Crystal Springs Dam and Calaveras Dam and their reservoirs provide approximately 165,000 acre feet of water storage at full capacity. These reservoirs represent critical storage to ensure water delivery to 2.6 million water users—a particularly important agency mission in view of increasing drought conditions in California. Following Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) operating restrictions that decreased reservoir storage capacity by approximately 16% (LCSD) and 40% (CD), the SFPUC undertook a large scale endeavor to modify LCSD and replace CD which required successful completion of challenging CEQA and permitting processes in order to restore storage in the reservoirs. During construction, the SFPUC implemented an extensive environmental monitoring


and compliance program to meet the projects’ environmental obligations. Both projects encountered a wide variety of environmental obstacles during preparation of the CEQA documents ranging from public access conflicts, traffic, noise, massive spoils disposal, and potential impacts to sensitive habitats and species during construction, air quality and naturally occurring asbestos, and restoration of reservoir water levels. Challenges were also encountered during permitting and construction.


However, through clearly stated team roles and responsibilities, a defined decision making process, set design and implementation protocols, stakeholders and public involvement programs, and commitment to development of a mitigation program on an ecosystem scale, the SFPUC-led teams successfully completed CEQA and obtained the resource agency permits to implement both projects. Join us as we explore the factors which posed potential complications during CEQA, permitting, and construction compliance as well as the solutions that led to their ultimate success. The panelists will represent the key specialty disciplines involved as well as the decision making and approving agencies: SFPUC, SF Planning, and BAWSCA, the water users.



Chris Kern

Chris Kern is a senior environmental planner with the San Francisco Planning Department, in charge of CEQA review for public and private projects and supervises staff responsible for review of CEQA documents for SFPUC projects. He has 25 years of experience in environmental and land use planning and regulation. Prior ... Read More

Debbie Craven-Green

Debbie Craven-Green is the Permitting Manager at the SFPUC and has been working in the Bureau of Environmental Management for nine years. She has over twenty years of experience in the environmental field, with a background in ecology and permitting. She has obtained numerous permits from the US Army Corps ... Read More

Kimberly Stern

Kim Stern Liddell is the Environmental Construction Compliance Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in their Bureau of Environmental Management (BEM) Manager. Kim develops procedures for and oversees environmental compliance inspection and monitoring services during construction of the SFPUC’s projects. She and her staff manage numerous projects ... Read More

Daniel Wade

Daniel L. Wade, P.E., G.E., is the Director of SFPUC's $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP). At over 90 percent complete, the WSIP is one of the largest water infrastructure programs in the country, and will enable the SFPUC to provide reliable, affordable, high quality ... Read More

Nicole Sandkulla

Nicole Sandkulla is Chief Executive Officer/General Manager of the Bay Area Water supply & Conservation Agency, better known as BAWSCA. Read More

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Lynne Bynder,