The City of Los Angeles is participating in the development of Enhanced Watershed Management Programs (EWMPs) for the Upper Los Angeles River, Ballona Creek, Dominguez Channel, Marina del Rey, and Santa Monica Bay Jurisdictional Groups 2 and 3 Watershed Management Areas. Catalyst prepared a Programmatic EIR to support the City's decision-making process with respect to the EWMPs for these five watersheds.
The analysis identified projects for which no CEQA review is required, projects for which limited CEQA review is required, and projects which require full CEQA review. Subsequently, this Programmatic EIR will significantly streamline 46 the CEQA compliances for EWMP projects and allow greater certainty in planning schedules and budgets. This project was comprehensive in both the geography of the City and the types of projects that may be implemented under the program.
In 2018, Catalyst completed the first of the high-priority projects identified in the Programmatic EIR – the Ballona Creek Bacteria TMDL EIR, which was a proposed stormwater treatment and diversion project. Catalyst led all aspects of CEQA compliance for this project. An Initial Study was prepared to analyze the environmental effects of implementing projects to help address the Bacteria TMDL for Ballona Creek Reach 2, and to support the City’s decision-making regarding appropriate level of environmental review under CEQA for implementing the Project at this facility. The Initial Study provided the basis for determining that an EIR would be required owing to public controversy (the project would divert the dry-season flow of Ballona Creek). The purpose of the projects is to treat and divert flows in Ballona Creek, Centinela Creek, and Sepulveda Channel to improve downstream water quality in the Ballona Estuary and Wetlands, and to meet the water quality requirements provided in the Ballona Creek Bacteria TMDL and Basin Plan. The projects will treat up to 7 million gallons per day with ultraviolet disinfection technology and release this flow back to Ballona Creek. Additionally, up to 27 million gallons per day will be diverted to the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant for treatment and/or beneficial reuse to offset potable water demands in the dry-season. Key issues include biological resources, hydrology, cultural resources, and construction impacts. The Final EIR was certified in December 2018, concluding this successful CEQA process.