Possible exemption for ASBS

11/27/2011

The California State Water Resources Control Board is currently evaluating the feasibility of its staff recommendation to allow 27 municipalities, agencies and other entities, including the Point Reyes National Seashore, to receive approval for the illegal but uniformly practiced discharge of storm water into Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS). The proposed exemption plan would place formal oversight on the organizations and require them to monitor water quality in runoff areas and eliminate the source of toxicity if a problem is identified. Board spokesman George Kostyrko said environmentalists have advocated, both in writing and at a recent meeting in Santa Monica, for no exemptions to be granted. But agencies affected by the proposed plan have said the restrictions will be cost prohibitive and difficult to manage, and the Seashore has sent a letter listing its grievances. “It would be difficult to hire a full-time position to do additional monitoring,” said Seashore spokesman John Dell’Osso, who added that the park already does a significant amount of water quality protection. “It’s a real work load.” The Point Reyes Headlands Reserve, Duxbury Reef, Double Point and Bird Rock all have waters considered to be ASBS. The board is considering the criticism it has received and will make a final decision in January.