Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report
San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project: Spartina Control Program
April 2003

3.0   ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING, IMPACTS, AND
MITIGATION MEASURES

This chapter describes the environmental setting, analyzes the potential impacts to environmental resources that would occur from the implementation of the alternatives described in Chapter 2, Program Alternatives, and identifies feasible mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate impacts.

This is a program-level EIS/EIR intended to provide a general level of detail of the potential effects of regional approaches to invasive cordgrass control. It does not address site-specific control impacts. This document provides general mitigation measures that can be applied to specific treatment sites, as well as an overview of regional impacts and general site-impacts of each alternative. Additional CEQA and NEPA assessments may be required as site-specific invasive cordgrass treatment projects are proposed.

This chapter uses the term "Project" to indicate the "Spartina Control Program." Under CEQA, an EIR analyzes a project and alternatives to the project. Alternatives are intended to reduce one or more of the project's impacts. Under NEPA, "Alternatives" include the project. This EIS/R follows NEPA guidance and regulation, and addresses each alternative in equal depth. However, Alternative 1 constitutes the CEQA "Project", and the other alternatives are intended to reduce some significant impacts compared with Alternative 1.

CEQA and NEPA have different terminologies for setting and impacts. CEQA uses "Setting" to describe existing conditions, while NEPA uses "Affected Environment". CEQA uses "Impacts" to describe the project's adverse or beneficial effects on the environment, while the NEPA terminology is "Environmental Consequences" or "Environmental Effects". This document considers the CEQA and NEPA terms to be broadly synonymous. Therefore, this document considers "Setting" to have the same meaning as "Affected Environment" and "Impacts" to have the same meaning as "Effects" or "Consequences". The terms are used interchangeably in this document. Both CEQA and NEPA use the term "Mitigation" identically.

Analysis of impacts requires comparison of post-project conditions with a baseline condition. CEQA case law is clear that, in most cases, the Setting is the existing, on-the-ground conditions at the time that the draft EIR is prepared. NEPA allows the setting to be either existing on-the-ground conditions or some future baseline without the project. Because of CEQA's strict definition of the "Setting" conditions, this EIS/EIR uses the existing conditions as the baseline. Adverse effects compared to these existing conditions are considered project impacts. Beneficial effects of each alternative also are described to provide the public and decision-makers with information upon which to evaluate the alternatives; these effects are identified in this chapter as "Beneficial Effects."

Future no-project conditions are compared with existing conditions under the No-Action alternative (continuation of existing control efforts and no control efforts). Environmental changes that would result under the No-Action alternative are considered adverse or beneficial impacts.

Baseline and post-project conditions used in this chapter are summarized in Table 3-1, below:

 

Table 3-1:  Baseline and Post-project Conditions

 

Action Alternatives

(Alternatives 1 and 2)

No-Project Alternative

 (Alternative 3)

Baseline

Now (2002 existing conditions)

Now (existing conditions)

Impacts

Change in the Future

Change in the Future

General Types of Impacts

 

Adverse Impacts of Treatment Methods

Adverse Impacts from Treatment

Methods (for Alternative 3 only)

 

No adverse impacts of Future Spread

Adverse Impacts of Future Spread

 

Benefits of Removal of Existing Infestations

No Benefits or Adverse Impacts from Removal of Existing Infestations

 

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