VIDEO. From the San Mateo County Planning Commission meeting 5/12/2021 by Zoom.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Consideration of a Coastal Development Permit to implement the Butano Farms San Francisco Garter Snake Habitat Enhancement Project. The project is located on undeveloped farm land south of the Town of Pescadero, in the unincorporated Pescadero area of San Mateo County. This project is appealable to the California Coastal Commission.
County File Number: PLN 2021-00010 (San Mateo Resource Conservation District)
The applicant, San Mateo Resource Conservation District, is proposing to construct a habitat enhancement project for the San Francisco Garter Snake. The project area is approximately 65 acres in size and includes open grassland, a large amount of coyote brush dominated coastal scrub, and an existing, partially silted in pond. The project proposes to enhance the upland habitat by reducing the amount of coyote brush in order to allow the re-establishment of open grassland in those areas. The project will also remove accumulated silt from the existing pond to create both shallower and deeper water areas as well as a wetland bench area around the northern side of the pond. The actions are intended to restore grassland and freshwater wetland habitats that support movement, foraging, and breeding habitat used by San Francisco garter snake (SFGS), California Red-Legged Frog (CRLF), and a variety of other native wetland and grassland dependent species.
The Butano Farms property is currently owned by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). Current land uses on the property consist primarily of preserved open space and livestock grazing. The pond is used by the cattle operation as a water source, and the project includes development of an access point for cattle to utilize the water source in a manner consistent with the habitat enhancement measures that are proposed.
The goals of the project are consistent with the recovery actions outlined in the San Francisco Garter Snake Recovery Plan (USFWS, 1985), that stresses the importance of restoring upland, riparian and aquatic habitat in order to aid the recovery of both the SFGS and California Red-Legged Frog. This project was suggested by the Integrated Regional Watershed Restoration Program (IWRP) in 2015. Integrated Regional Watershed Restoration Program is a collaborative species recovery effort that works to provide a coordinated regional process to improve fish and wildlife habitat. The IWRP Technical Advisory Committee saw this project as an important opportunity to reduce sediment loading into Butano Creek and to restore habitat for the SFGS and California Red-Legged Frog.
Staff has completed a review of the project and all submitted documents and reports in order to determine the project’s conformity to applicable LCP policies. Potential impacts to biological resources were identified during this review, and conditions of approval were included to reduce these potential impacts to a less than significant level. With these conditions, the project will comply with the County’s General Plan and Local Coastal Program.