The City had two important kick-off meetings with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) staff on November 5th and 12th. The first was a virtual introduction to the project team at USACE that will be working directly on the San Rafael Channel dredging environmental/design, and the second was an in-person site visit to the Channel at low tide with the USACE project team to view current conditions and identify potential locations for dredged material. We are thrilled with the USACE team San Rafael has been assigned and remain hopeful that this first important phase of the project will be complete this spring – in time for a summer 2021 dredge at the earliest.
The San Rafael Channel dredging project was awarded $1.378m in FY 2020 for environmental testing, dredging design, plans and specs. While the Channel has not yet received federal funding for the full dredging (approx. $13m), it is anticipated that funding will be allocated once the environmental review and design is complete. The City continues to work closely with our elected officials (Congressman Jared Huffman, Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, Supervisor Connolly) to emphasize to USACE the immense local importance of maintaining a navigable waterway in San Rafael.
On November 9th, the City also sent out a letter to waterfront property owners, residents, and business owners advising them of the upcoming dredge cycle, and encouraging them to sign up for a grouped “Umbrella Permitting” approach to obtain environmental approval in order to take advantage of the substantial cost savings from contracting with the USACE dredging contractor for the dredging of private docks, berths. Property owners that sign up for umbrella permitting would ultimately split the cost of the combined permitting process, including the City’s cost of retaining of a consultant for coordination of umbrella permitting.