The Queen of Heaven site is an existing cemetery in unincorporated Contra Costa County near the City of Pleasant Hill. The Catholic Church’s final design for the expansion of the existing cemetery was slowed by other issues yet the Church needed to process its applications rapidly for a project that would impact wetlands. Because Zentner Planning and Ecology has completed so many delineations, especially complicated ones, we have developed methodologies to get smaller delineation through the process relatively quickly, using comprehensive field analyses, GPS and CAD. The Corps subsequently approved the delineation as submitted without a site visit.
The Corps provides an appeal process for its wetland delineation reviews. After completing our delineation of the wetlands at Port Sonoma in southern Sonoma County, Corps staff decided that the wetlands which had appeared in the Port’s dredged materials basins should be considered jurisdictional. We had defined these wetlands as non-jurisdictional as the ponds are in active use. Taking jurisdiction over these ponds would have a chilling use on all upland disposal of dredged materials as any disposal would exhibit wetland characteristics within a few weeks of disposal. We appealed the jurisdictional determination and the appeals officer ruled in our favor; the Corps had not provided a reasonable explanation of their decisions in this case.