TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: NOVEMBER 1, 2005
SUBJECT: FORRESTAL NATURE PRESERVE – FUNDING FOR A BIOLOGICAL SURVEY
Staff Coordinator: Ara Mihranian, aicp, Senior Planner
Adopt Resolution No. 2005-___ approving a $7,000.00 budget appropriation for the preparation of a biological survey by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy for proposed trail improvement projects at the Forrestal Nature Preserve.
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes purchased the 160-acre Forrestal Nature Preserve in 1996 with funding from various sources, including Measure A funds from the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District. In June of 2001, the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) executed an Operating Agreement that authorizes the PVPLC to undertake the day-to-day management of the Preserve, including trail maintenance and trail repair projects.
At the time the City Council approved the Forrestal Management Plan in March 2005, it was reported that specific trail routes within the Trails Network Plan were in need of repair or realignment in order to be utilized by the public. It was also reported that because of the extensive level of repairs combined with the close proximity of sensitive habitat, any trail improvements in this area will undergo the appropriate environmental review in accordance to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In order for the City and the PVPLC to proceed with the trail improvements, a biological survey needs to be prepared that assesses the potential impacts the trail improvements projects may have on the surrounding environment. The City and the PVPLC sought proposals from environmental consultants and received two cost proposals. The cost proposals to prepare a biological survey were submitted by David Magney Environmental Consultants and Dudek & Associates. Based on the scope of work and the proposed cost, Dudek & Associates was selected as the consultant for this project (see attachment).
Staff is seeking Council approval to appropriate $7,000.00 from the Measure A Maintenance Fund to the City’s Parks, Trails & Open Space Improvement Program within the Capital Improvement Projects Fund to cover costs for the preparation of the biological survey.
The Forrestal Nature Preserve was partially purchased with Measure A funds from the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District. By utilizing Measure A funds, the City is eligible to utilize Measure A Maintenance and Servicing funds for specific maintenance activities on the property. Thus far, the City has received reimbursement for various maintenance activities at Forrestal, such as, weed abatement, fence replacement, and sign installation to name a few.
At this time, the City and the PVPLC are working towards repairing unsafe trail routes within the Forrestal Nature Preserve. In order to design the trail repairs and improvements, a biological survey must be completed to assess potential impacts to the surrounding environment. Since the biological survey is considered an integral component of the overall trail improvement project for the Forrestal Nature Preserve, Staff contacted representatives with Los Angeles County to determine whether costs incurred for the biological survey qualify to be reimbursed (see attachment). According to County representatives, the City’s costs associated with the biological survey are extraordinary Maintenance and Servicing expenses and are therefore reimbursable (see attachment). Since this expense was not previously budgeted in the City’s FY 05-06 budget, Staff is requesting that the Council appropriate $7,000.00 from the Measure A Maintenance Fund to the City’s Parks, Trails and Open Space Improvements Program within the Capital Improvement Projects Fund. The attached resolution is needed to amend the City’s budget accordingly.
It should be noted that the City’s initial correspondence with the County indicated that the biological survey would cost $5,000.00. However, after further evaluating the scope of work with the environmental consultant, the initial cost was increased. Staff contacted the County to inform them of the cost increase and received an approval, via email, to the increased cost provided that the appropriate paperwork is submitted to the County. As such, Staff will send the necessary paperwork to the County to receive a full reimbursement. Furthermore, the environmental consultant hired to prepare the biological survey (Dudek and Associates) will be working directly for the PVPLC on this project. As part of the Operating Agreement, invoices generated by Dudek and Associates will be submitted and paid by the PVPLC, who will then submit a bill to the City for payment.
The actual trail improvement projects contemplated at the Forrestal Nature Preserve will require Council approval. As soon as the biological survey is completed, Staff will design trail improvement projects that minimize impacts to existing habitat. Staff will then place the trail improvement projects on the Council’s agenda for review and approval. Additionally, a public notice will be transmitted to interested parties and to list serve subscribers.
It should be noted that four of the eleven trail improvement projects are a result of damage caused by the heavy rains that occurred in winter and spring of this year. Because the damage to the trails is storm related, the City was able to secure FEMA funding for the actual trail repair projects.
Staff recommends that the City Council appropriate $7,000.00 from the Measure A Maintenance Fund to the City’s Parks, Trails and Open Space Improvements Program within the Capital Improvement Projects Fund to cover costs associated with the preparation of a biological survey for trail improvement projects at the Forrestal Nature Preserve.
Costs incurred for the preparation of a biological survey for the trail improvement projects at the Forrestal Nature Preserve qualify to be reimbursed by the County‘s Measure A funds as a Maintenance and Servicing expenditure. Therefore, although the Council will be amending the 05-06 Fiscal Year budget by appropriating $7000.00 to the City’s Parks, Trails and Open Space Improvements Program within the Capital Improvements Projects Fund, this cost will be reimbursed by the County resulting in no net change to the budget.
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement
Attachments (the following attachments are not available electronically and can be viewed at City Hall):