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Project Title
Improving Permitting With Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology: Developing a robust technological framework for statewide pesticide permitting and use reporting. Sacramento, California.

Name of Applicant
California Environmental Protection Agency

Name of Project Contact
David Duncan, Branch Chief; Department of Pesticide Regulation; Pest Management and Licensing Branch; 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-3870; Fax: (916) 445-3907; Email: dduncan@cdpr.ca.gov

This project is not being executed or funded in cooperation with another Federal program.

No regulatory flexibility from the Federal government is required to implement this project.

This project does not have a significant component related to hazardous waste management and permitting under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

This project is supported by the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, XXX.

Pre-Proposal Project Narrative
How does this project demonstrate "innovation in permitting" and will the project's outcome enhance its efficiency and effectiveness?
The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is implementing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology into the Department's restricted materials and pesticide use enforcement programs. Through the deployment of this innovative technology, DPR and California's 55 County Agricultural Commissioners (CACs) who carry out the permitting and enforcement activities will be able to use spatial analysis tools to implement reasonable and environmentally sound site- and time- specific decisions required by federal and state laws. This state/local partnership must be fully supported with resources, including technology. Annually, the CACs issue approximately 39,000 restricted material permits, evaluate 250,000 proposed application locations (fields/crops/environmental conditions), receive and review 170,000 notices of intent (NOIs) to apply restricted materials, and receive and enter 2.4 million pesticide use reports (PURs).

Due to varying IT support and capabilities in CAC offices, and in order to implement the new GIS-based permitting program statewide, DPR needs to assist CACs by providing resources to upgrade their networks, provide broadband connectivity and GIS software, and support the development of spatial field border data. The purchase and deployment of these infrastructure components under this grant proposal will enable DPR to implement innovative tools that provide CACs and DPR program staff with increased efficiencies and enhanced effectiveness in the State's pesticide permitting program.

The direct results of these innovative improvements will help to reduce a) public exposure to pesticides used to fumigate land before planting; b) the amount of pesticides entering California's lakes, streams, and rivers; and c) the contribution of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to smog since the CACs will have highly analytical tools and datasets to evaluate, mitigate, or deny proposed pesticide applications and to track actual pesticide usage to keep within regulatory limits. Other highly sensitive sites and populations (i.e., farm workers, schools, urban areas, endangered species, and other crops) will be more accurately identified and thus protected from the potential impacts associated with pesticide use.

Benefits to permittees and CAC staffs include significant improvements in processing permits. Specifically, fields will be more accurately identified (ground-truthed) in a more efficient and timely manner. Counties that have implemented GIS in their permitting activities have indicated that permittees readily identify their fields and adjacent sensitive human health and environmental sites using spatial data, i.e., aerial photography or satellite imagery. The counties estimate a time-savings of 25% when issuing a permit during the initial year of GIS implementation; even greater savings are expected in future years.

Cal/EPA boards and departments, along with other state, federal and local agencies will have access to more reliable and accurate pesticide application data that can be used in carrying out their regulatory mandates.

On another front, DPR's feasibility study report (FSR) for the Statewide Permit and Use Reporting System (SPURS) fully documents the business requirements, functionality, goals and objectives for the development and implementation of a centralized web-based system. Implementation of the SPURS project is pending due to State administrative requirements relative to securing funding ($4 million). In the long-term, full integration of business rules and GIS technology, will provide a state-of-the art permitting system. Funding of this grant proposal is a near-term effort that would result in all counties being positioned to effectively take full advantage of the new system.

What are the goals and objectives of the project and what is the plan to measure and evaluate the project's expected results?
The overall goal of this project is to provide each of the CACs with the necessary infrastructure to implement a statewide GIS-based permitting program. A robust network and high-speed broadband connection are imperative to the success of a GIS-based program. Development of spatial permitted field border data in those counties who currently have no GIS will be a key component of the project. The results of the project will be evaluated and measured by the CACs ability to participate fully in a future statewide GIS-based permitting system.

Project Schedule and Time Frame
The following are the proposed

Preparation of detailed project plan 9/01/04 through 10/31/04
Development/award contracts with counties
County procurement of hardware/software
Complete training of county staffs in GIS software and field border data creation
Complete county development of field border data

Target Priority Environmental Areas
Program Criteria 5.2.1:
This proposal addresses the priority environmental issues of a) public exposures to fumigants; b) restoring and maintaining water quality, specifically agricultural runoff; and c) reducing the contribution of pesticide VOCs to smog. The offsite movement of pesticides can impair the fresh water habitat and drinking water uses in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their tributaries. Air quality issues in the San Joaquin Valley call for a 30 % reduction beyond the 1994 State Implementation Plan (SIP) commitment in the use in VOC-containing pesticides by 2010. Providing the necessary network, hardware, software, and GIS data framework required to implement a GIS-based permitting system will ensure that CACs have the necessary problem solving tools to use spatial data to identify and take action to mitigate or if necessary halt the use of pesticides that negatively impact agricultural runoff and air quality before the proposed application occurs.

Likely Improvements in Results from Project Implementation
Program Criteria 5.2.2:
DPR is responsible for ensuring compliance with state pesticide laws. DPR and the CACs jointly carry out enforcement activities. Chapter 308, Statutes of 1978 (AB 3765) provides an abbreviated environmental impact report (EIR) program that serves as the functional equivalent to a full-scale EIR, required by California's principal statute, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which mandates environmental impact review. The use of restricted materials (pesticides deemed to have a high potential to cause harm to public health, farm workers, domestic animals, honeybees, wildlife, the environment, or other crops) requires a permit issued by the CAC. To comply with functional equivalency mandates, applicants for each permit must provide, and the CACs must evaluate, information regarding any adverse environmental impact that may result from the application of a restricted material in a specific location. When a permit is issued and again when a Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply a restricted use pesticide is submitted, impacts to surface water through runoff or drift, to air quality, endangered species habitat, human health, and other sensitive sites must be identified, evaluated, and mitigated or disapproved if adequate safeguards cannot be implemented.

Program Criteria
The Restricted Materials Permitting Program (RMPP), developed by DPR in 1990, is a computer program written in Dataflex and runs on a standalone PC in each CAC field office. The RMPP is used to gather information and issue pesticide permits. The RMPP has no means of identifying permitted locations geographically, and therefore much of the work required to identify sensitive sites such as surface water bodies, endangered species, farm labor camps, schools, etc. requires extensive research of the data and associated paperwork by CAC staff.

DPR's long-term strategy for deploying an environmental management system (EMS) (i.e., a fully functioning and integrated GIS-based permitting system outlined in SPURS), will provide both state and county staff with a set of problem identification and problem-solving tools that can be implemented in their respective organizations in many different ways, depending on the organization's activities and needs.

Program Criteria
Some CACs have implemented GIS programs to capture spatial permitted field border data. These data have been shown to significantly improve the accuracy of data, reduce permittee and CAC time required to permit a site for pesticide use, and enhance permittee's and CAC's abilities to identify and locate sensitive areas such as drainage structures, canals, lakes, rivers, endangered species, schools, and other sensitive sites and crops.

Program Criteria
Program effectiveness will be measured by reductions in permitting processing times, improved access to more accurate spatial data for environmental management purposes, and the ability to share institutional knowledge that is so valuable to the permitting process. Some of the time staff currently spend on permitting could be redirected to other aspects of the pesticide enforcement program. By ensuring that all CACs in California have access to the same infrastructure and GIS capabilities (through this grant), DPR will be able to implement a statewide EMS in the future, of which the GIS-based permitting program will be a core component.

Program Criteria
Once GIS datasets are developed, CACs will be more efficient and timely in issuing permits, permit changes, and in reviewing/evaluating NOIs. Implementation of a robust network and communications environment will allow DPR to implement a browser-based centralized GIS-based permitting system (SPURS) in the future. Currently, the RMPP is "serviced" by two full time state employees who travel from county to county updating software, installing new features, training CAC staff, and troubleshooting. When SPURS is implemented, administrative functions will be centralized, minimizing the need to install updates locally, reducing problems associated with troubleshooting, and, hence, travel costs. Other state and federal environmental agencies will have access to more complete, accurate, and timely pesticide usage data.

Program Criteria
In the immediate future, permit holders will have more accurate site-specific location data to provide to their pesticide applicators, farm workers, and neighboring growers. This allows CACs and permittees to more efficiently protect human health the environment. In the long-term, implementation of an on-line GIS permitting system (SPURS) will provide an opportunity to submit permits, as well as manage NOIs and PURs) over the Internet. Cost savings and efficiencies will be measured by the number of NOIs and PURs submitted electronically.

Measuring Improvement and Accountability
Program Criteria
To provide state and local pesticide regulators, as well as the regulated community, with the tools to manage pesticide use, especially those that impact surface water, air quality, endangered species, other sensitive environmental sites (schools), and human health to better protect and restore California's valuable natural resources.

Program Criteria
DPR currently monitors for agricultural pesticides in the rivers of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Continued monitoring will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the improved permitting process. DPR will coordinate data collection efforts with other CalEPA boards and departments, notably the Air Resources Board (ARB) and the State Water Resources Control Board SWRCB), to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.

Program Criteria
Baseline measurements for human health and water and air quality are identified when a level of concern or issue is raised regarding a specific chemical. At this point, DPR begins monitoring to track pesticide exposure levels.

Program Criteria
DPR will negotiate and administer contracts with the counties to upgrade their network and telecommunications capabilities and to acquire the necessary GIS software and data layers when funding is received from USEPA. DPR will train county staff as necessary in the use of the GIS software and methods to develop field border databases. Counties will create and maintain their field border and other geo-spatial data by May-June 2007.

Program Criteria
The counties will complete upgrades to their network and telecommunications infrastructure. More importantly, the counties will complete development of their GIS field border databases and digitizing sensitive site layers (water bodies, endangered species, schools, farm labor camps, etc.) to be used in the analysis and evaluation of proposed applications of restricted use pesticides. These tools and datasets will be incorporated into their daily permitting and use reporting activities.

Program Criteria
The long-term benefits to federal, state and local environmental regulatory agencies will include more timely access to precise (location specific), complete and accurate pesticide usage data. The CACs will be able to maintain their geo-spatial datasets and continue to use the GIS-based analytical tools to evaluate, mitigate or deny proposed pesticide applications, although continued duplication of efforts will be necessary to maintain two distinct systems (relational permit data and GIS field border data).

Once funding and project approvals are obtained for the SPURS project, DPR's efforts to develop a browser-based and fully integrated GIS permitting and use reporting system are currently projected to be completed in May-June 2007. At that time, all counties would have the basic infrastructure and GIS data layers in place to take full advantage of the centralized and fully integrated GIS/business rules-based system. The feasibility study documents the long-term goals, objectives and quantifiable/measurable results for the SPURS project and can be made available upon request.

Transferring Innovation
Program Criteria
Project reports and documentation will be placed on the DPR website.

Program Criteria
With increasing demands on many environmental programs and declining budgets, states must finds efficient ways to manage increased program demands without additional staff. Technology provides government with a way to achieve such efficiencies. As sophisticated GIS, Internet and other technologies become more widely available to regulators, industry, and the general public, the use of an information system that allows CACs, permittees, and DPR to fully integrate geographic and relational data places the State of California in a solid position to achieve efficiencies, environmental protection and meet program objectives.

Program Criteria
The integration of GIS data with state and local business rules will improve the CACs direct ability to mitigate proposed pesticide uses and to monitor and track actual pesticide use and movement into the environment. By incorporating the use of innovative tools and systems into their daily business processes, state and local staffs will begin to recognize the possibilities that are available and how these technologies can be applied to other critical program elements. More importantly, staff will be able to more accurately monitor and review results of pesticide use and then refine, modify and incorporate more specialized or localized business rules into their permitting activities.

Program Criteria
DPR and the CACs have developed GIS data standards, processes, tools, minimal data layers, and hardware/software recommendations for creating and maintaining field border databases. These are available on DPR's website; DPR will continue to update it's website with relevant information and documentation. Staff would be available to provide consultation depending on the frequency of contacts from other states.

[Budgetary Information withheld by U.S. EPA]

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