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The City Council does find and declare that:

A. Public health and safety requires creek and watershed management and planning in order to control flood and erosion damages.

B. A dependence on structural solutions for reduction of property damage such as creek channelization, culverting and channel riprapping, often has been found to result in the loss of property from unanticipated problems associated with their design. Channelization can result in changes in stream meander, bank erosion, channel filling and channel degradation, causing damages by the undercutting of bridges, homes and other structures or by the over-the-bank flows caused by channel filling. Culverts can result in upstream and downstream bank erosion problems and, because debris removal from them is difficult, they can back up flows and cause floods. Undersized culverts and culverts installed at the wrong slope can also cause flooding and bank erosion.

C. The use of riprap or other debris to stabilize banks can result in the erosion of streambanks up and downstream of the riprap. Riprap and other debris may decrease channel capacity contributing to potential flooding.

D. Streams managed as close to a natural system as possible without interference from structures, maintain a geomorphic equilibrium or watercourse best suited for carrying stream flows, and carrying and depositing suspended bed loads.

E. Natural streams and their associated riparian habitat have great ecological value, and should be protected and restored because they provide environmental amenities to the community and riparian owners.

F. The desired condition of creeks within the City of Berkeley includes natural stream banks and a corridor of riparian vegetation.

G. Culverting or channelization of existing open creeks should not occur unless there is strong evidence that there is no other means to prevent the erosion of supports, foundations or other structures.

H. It is in the interest of the community to encourage the removal of culverts and channels, prevent unnecessary channel riprapping, and to restore natural watercourses whenever safely possible.

I. It is in the interest of the City of Berkeley to develop incentive programs and stream management resources designed to assist property owners in protecting creek corridors.

J. Construction over a culverted creek is discouraged but if performed must protect building safety, access to the culvert and the environmental quality of the water flowing through the culvert.

K. These regulations should protect and restore natural creeks functions in an urban environment while respecting the interests of property owners.

L. In recognition of private property, daylighting of culverted creeks is entirely voluntarily.

M. The California Environmental Quality Act applies to actions taken under this chapter. (Ord. 6956-NS § 1 (part), 2006: Ord. 5961-NS § 2, 1989)