Press Release: Supes to Authorize $550K Annually for Cloud Seeding

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    Keymaster

    County of Los Angeles

    Press Release | Friday, Oct 16, 2015

    http://scvnews.com/2015/10/16/supes-to-authorize-550k-annually-for-cloud-seeding/

    Staff recommendation before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015:

    This action is to adopt the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration for the County of Los Angeles Weather Modification Project and to award a service contract for As-Needed Weather Modification (Cloud Seeding) Services to augment the amount of rainfall within select watersheds of the San Gabriel Mountains.

    IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE BOARD:

    1. Consider the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration to augment the amount of rainfall within select watersheds of the San Gabriel Mountains; find that the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration reflects the independent judgment and analysis of the Board; adopt the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program; find that the Mitigation Monitoring Reporting Program is adequately designed to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures during project implementation; find on the basis of the whole record before the Board that there is no substantial evidence that the project will have a significant effect on the environment; and adopt the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration.

    2. Approve the County of Los Angeles Weather Modification Project and award a service contract for As-Needed Weather Modification (Cloud Seeding) Services to North American Weather Consultants, Inc. This contract will be for a term of 1 year commencing upon execution of the Contract by both parties in an annual amount not to exceed $550,000 with four 1-year renewal options and a month-to-month extension up to 6 months for a maximum potential contract term of 66 months and a potential maximum contract sum of $3,025,000.

    3. Authorize the Director of Public Works or her designee to annually increase the contract amount up to an additional 10 percent of the annual contract sum for unforeseen, additional work within the scope of the contract, if required, and to adjust the annual contract sum for each option year over the term of the contract to allow for an annual cost-of-living adjustment in accordance with County policy and the terms of the contract.

    4. Authorize the Director of Public Works or her designee to execute the contract; to renew the contract for each additional renewal option and extension period if in the opinion of the Director of Public Works or her designee, North American Weather Consultants, Inc., has successfully performed during the previous contract period and the services are still required; to approve and execute amendments to incorporate necessary changes within the scope of work; and to suspend work if, in the opinion of the Director of Public Works or her designee, it is in the best interest of the County to do so.

    PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION OF RECOMMENDED ACTION

    California is currently in its fourth consecutive year of drought and is experiencing serious shortfalls in available water resources. Weather modification programs have been historically implemented in Los Angeles County and many other areas to successfully increase the amount of rainfall over targeted areas. The program proposes to increase rain fall in Los Angeles County by seeding clouds with a condensation agent from land based generators. Additional rain fall will be captured in dams and spreading grounds throughout the Pacoima, Big Tujunga, and San Gabriel watersheds. A Board Motion on January 7, 2014, directed Public Works to report back on enhancing local water supplies, including cloud seeding. The proposed reactivation of the cloud seeding program is a result of that report.

    The purpose of the recommended action is to adopt the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), (Enclosure A), and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP), (Enclosure D), for the County of Los Angeles Weather Modification Project, and to award a service contract for As-Needed Weather Modification (Cloud Seeding) Services to augment the amount of rainfall within select watersheds of the San Gabriel Mountains. Public Works has intermittently contracted this service since 1962.

    Implementation of Strategic Plan Goals

    The Countywide Strategic Plan directs the provisions of Operational Effectiveness/Fiscal Sustainability (Goal 1), Community Support and Responsiveness (Goal 2), and Integrated Services Delivery (Goal 3). The contractor has the specialized expertise to provide this service accurately, efficiently, timely, and in a responsive manner to support Public Works in meeting these goals.

    FISCAL IMPACT/FINANCING

    There will be no impact to the County General Fund.

    The annual contract amount is $550,000 plus 10 percent for additional work within the scope of the contract and cost-of-living adjustments in accordance with this contract with a maximum potential contract sum of $3,025,000. This amount is based on the annual price quoted by the contractor and Public Works estimated annual utilization of the contractor’s services.

    Funding for this service is included in the Internal Service Fund Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget, which will be reimbursed by the Flood Control District Fund. Funds to finance the contract’s optional years and 10 percent additional funding for contingencies will be requested through the annual budget process.

    FACTS AND PROVISIONS/LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

    The recommended contractor is North American Weather Consultants, Inc., located in Sandy, Utah.

    This contract will commence upon the Board’s approval or execution by both parties, whichever occurs last, for a period of 1 year. With the Board’s delegated authority, the Director of Public Works or her designee may renew the contract for four 1-year renewal options and a month-to-month extension up to 6 months for a maximum potential total contract term of 66 months.

    The contract will be in the form substantially similar to the form previously reviewed and approved by County Counsel (Enclosure B). Prior to the Director or her designee executing this contract, the contractor will sign and County Counsel will review it as to form. The recommended contract with North American Weather Consultants, Inc., was solicited on an open-competitive basis and is in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and County requirements. The contractor is in compliance with the requirements of the Interim Chief Executive Officer and the Board.

    The award of the contract will not result in unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and will be in full compliance with Federal, State, and County regulations. The contract contains terms and conditions supporting the Board’s ordinances, policies, and programs including, but not limited to:

    the County’s Greater Avenues for Independence and General Relief Opportunities for Work Programs (GAIN and GROW), Board Policy No. 5.050; Contract Language to Assist in Placement of Displaced County Workers, Board Policy No. 5.110; Reporting of Improper Solicitations, Board Policy No. 5.060; Notice to Contract Employees of Newborn Abandonment Law (Safely Surrendered Baby Law), Board Policy No. 5.135; Contractor Employee Jury Service Program, Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.203; Notice to Employees Regarding the Federal Earned Income Credit (Federal Income Tax Law, Internal Revenue Service Notice 1015); Contractor Responsibility and Debarment, Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.202; the Los Angeles County’s Child Support Compliance Program, Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.200; Defaulted Property Tax Reduction Program Ordinance, Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.206; and the standard Board-directed clauses that provide for contract termination or renegotiation.

    Data regarding the proposers’ minority participation is on file with Public Works. The contractor was selected upon final analysis and consideration without regard to race, creed, gender, or color.

    Proof of the required Comprehensive General and Automobile Liability insurance policies, naming the County as additional insured, and evidence of Workers’ Compensation insurance will be obtained from the contractor before any work is assigned.

    The Request for Proposals (RFP) for this contracted service was not submitted to any union for review since no classifications were impacted.

    Public Works has evaluated and determined that the Living Wage Program (Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.201) does not apply to this recommended contract, which is for services required on an as-needed and intermittent basis; hence, this contract is not a Proposition A contract (Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 2.121).

    The contract includes a cost-of-living adjustment provision, which is in accordance with the Board’s policy approved January 29, 2002.

    ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTATION

    An initial study was prepared for the County of Los Angeles Weather Modification Project to augment the amount of rainfall within select watersheds of the San Gabriel Mountains, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The initial study identified potentially significant effects of the project, but prior to the release of the proposed MND and initial study for public review, revisions to the project were made or agreed to which would avoid the significant effects or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant effects would occur, as described below:

    Biological Resources, Geology and Soils, Hydrology and Water Quality, and Mandatory Findings of Significance will all be mitigated through a set of project suspension criteria that will halt all cloud seeding operations within the targeted watersheds when precipitation rates, dam capacity, rainfall forecast, burn area, and/or earthquake thresholds are met.

    The initial study and project revisions showed that there is no substantial evidence, in light of the whole record before the County, that the project may have a significant effect on the environment.

    Based on the Initial Study and project revisions, an MND was prepared for the proposed Project (Enclosure A).

    Public notice was published in the Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star News, and San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspapers on July 24, 2009, pursuant to Public Resources Code, Section 21092, and posted pursuant to Section 21092.3. Copies of the MND were also sent to 8 cities and 11 local libraries, the United States Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, and the State Clearinghouse for public review. The public review period for the MND ended on August 24, 2009.

    Comments were received from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the California State Department of Fish and Game after the close of the public review period. The comments and Public Works’ responses are incorporated into the MND. No other comments were received. Responses to the comments received were sent to each respective public agency pursuant to Section 21092.5, and are included in Appendix D of the MND.

    A review of the MND was conducted in April 2015. Public Works concluded that none of the conditions set forth in Section 15162 of the State CEQA Guidelines, which would require further circulation of a subsequent environmental document have occurred. Written results of the review are included in the MND, Appendix F.

    The MND reflects that all identified significant environmental effects of the project can be avoided or reduced to a level of insignificance through the implementation of the MND mitigation measures. An MMRP narrative consistent with the conclusions and recommendations of the MND has been included within the MND and an MMRP grid was prepared and is attached as Enclosure D. The MMRP has been incorporated into this project.

    The location of the documents and other materials constituting the record of the proceedings upon which your Board’s decision is based are located at the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Water Resources Division, 900 South Fremont Avenue, 2nd Floor, Alhambra, California 91803. The custodian of such documents and materials is Keith Hala, County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Water Resources Division.

    The project is not exempt from payment of a fee to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife pursuant to Section 711.4 of the Fish and Game Code to defray the costs of fish and wildlife protection and management incurred by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Upon the Board’s adoption of the MND, Public Works will file a Notice of Determination in accordance with Section 21152(a) of the California Public Resources Code and pay the required filing and processing fees with the County Clerk in the amount of $2,210 plus the $75 county posting fee.

    CONTRACTING PROCESS

    On May 19, 2015, a notice of the RFP was placed on the County’s “Doing Business With Us” website (Enclosure C). Also, Public Works informed 1319 entities consisting of local small business enterprises, independent contractors, and community business enterprises about this business opportunity.

    On June 17, 2015, two proposals were received. The proposals were first reviewed to ensure they met the minimum requirements in the RFP. All proposals having met these requirements were then evaluated by a committee consisting of Public Works staff. The evaluation was based on criteria described in the RFP, which included the price, experience, work plan, and references, utilizing the informed averaging methodology for applicable criteria. Based on this evaluation, it is recommended that this contract be awarded to the highest-rated, apparent responsive, responsible, and lowest-cost proposer, North American Weather Consultants, Inc.

    IMPACT ON CURRENT SERVICES (OR PROJECTS)

    The award of this contract will not result in the displacement of any County employees as this service has been intermittently contracted with the private sector.

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