Limoneira/Lewis Denied 401 Certification for the East Area 1 Project

By Sheryl Hamlin

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board notified the Limoneira/Lewis company that their application for a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the East Area 1 Specific Plan has been denied without prejudice “because it is inadequate” in a letter dated November 1, 2016.

The 401 Permit affects the following per the Water Board website: The Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification and Waste Discharge Requirements Program for dredge and fill activities is an important tool for regulating hydrologic modification projects in addition to other projects which involve dredge and fill. Click here for complete details on the 401 permit.

The principal concerns according to the letter are as follows:


On October 17, 2016 Mike Penrod of the Parkstone Group presented an update of the East Area 1 project to the Santa Paula City Council. His report occurs at 1:14:07 on the video. In his report, Mr. Penrod said that the Army Corps of Engineers and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) were at odd over the solution for the bridge, a question asked by Council Member Gherardi. Mr. Penrod said that a “jeopardy letter” existed regarding the steelhead trout which must be resolved before they move forward, but he said nothing about streambed removal or dredging. The previous article on this council meeting is here.

Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) East Area 1

In the Final SEIR for East Area 1, Meridian Consultants said the following about streambed alteration, so it appears that there was discussion about removal of natural streambed flow during the EIR process.


Current Conditions

In the aerial photographs shown below, the current conditions as of October 2016 can be seen including the grading of the area for the first phase which Mr. Penrod described in his report to council. The first picture is looking east while the second is looking north. Both pictures were taken by Tom Koff, pilot of Santa Paula.


Aerial looking east by Tom Koff


Aerial looking north by Tom Koff


Continuing Story

This is a continuing investigation. Click on this website for additions. The phrase “without prejudice” means that the applicant (Limoneira/Lewis) may return, pay more fees and present an alternate solution.

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