GOAL 7. Provide for orderly growth in the Bridgeport Valley in a manner that retains the small town character, and protects the area's scenic, recreational, agricultural, and natural resources.
Guide future development to occur on existing private lands in Bridgeport Townsite, east of Bridgeport Reservoir, in the Evans Tract, and at Twin Lakes.
Policy 7.A.1. Carefully evaluate subdivisions outside the existing community area. Consideration should be given to assigning large minimum parcel sizes in the Valley .
Action 7.A.1.a. Assign agricultural land use designation to the valley and the upland areas surrounding the valley. Minimum parcel sizes shall be determined through the land use designation process.
Policy 7.A.2. Limit future subdivisions outside the community area to large lots (1 -acre minimum). Lot sizes for subdivisions that infill the community should reflect existing lot sizes, patterns, development, neighborhood character, and the availability of community sewer and water.
Policy 7.A.3. Designate land presently in agricultural use as "Agriculture,” and establish a Development Credits program, including voluntary Transfer of Development Rights provisions, which will encourage clustering development away from irrigated land.
Action 7.A.3.a. Parcels created consistent with the Development Credit Program shall consist of a minimum of one acre. Parcels should be sited as follows:
- Adjacent to existing residential development (if feasible).
- A buffer may be required in consultation with adjacent agricultural landowners.
- Avoiding steep slopes and fault hazard areas.
- Avoiding wetlands and areas subject to flooding.
- Away from visually sensitive areas, such as ridgelines or along scenic highways.
- Minimizing impacts to migrating deer.
- Minimizing impacts to cultural resource sites.
- Proximate to existing access and utilities (if feasible).
- On soils of sufficient structural and sanitary waste disposal capabilities.
Policy 7.A.4. Carefully evaluate the exchange of federal lands for community expansion in order to ensure consistency with the Bridgeport Valley land use goal.
Policy 7.A.4.a. Land exchanges should support or enable one or more of the following purposes: increase the availability of services and infrastructure, not be detrimental to the viewscape, mitigate the loss of property tax revenues to the County, and/or provide direct community benefit(s).
Policy 7.A.5. Discourage tract housing developments. The term "tract housing" shall be defined in the Land Development Regulations.
Policy 7.A.6. Designate a limited amount of land to provide for local industrial land use needs.
Maintain the scenic, agricultural, and natural resource values in the Bridgeport Valley.
Policy 7.B.1. Preserve agricultural lands and wetlands.
Action 7.B.1.a. Work with appropriate agencies to manage water resources in the Valley in a manner that will protect the natural and recreational values of the water resource and associated resources (wildlife, riparian, etc.)
Policy 7.B.2. Manage the groundwater resource of the Bridgeport Valley.
Action 7.B.2.a. Consider establishing a Groundwater Management District to manage the groundwater resource.
Action 7.B.2.b. Comply with the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program.
Action 7.B.2.c. Implement the county Groundwater Transfer Ordinance for any out-of-basin transfers of groundwater,
Policy 7.B.3. Ensure that any transfer (by sale or lease) of surface water rights will not impact the natural resource values of the Bridgeport Valley.
Action 7.B.3.a. Monitor efforts to Save Walker Lake that may have impacts on Mono County surface water rights.
Action 7.B.3.b. As necessary and in conjunction with the existing Memorandum of Understanding with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, develop criteria governing the transfer (by sale or lease) of surface water rights by Mono County property owners.
Action 7.B.3.c. As necessary, provide the Board of Supervisors and local planning committees with updates on the sale and/or lease of Mono County surface water rights and provide comments to relevant agencies.
Policy 7.B.4. Monitor community areas at risk from wildfire and work with appropriate agencies to manage that threat.
Action 7.B.4.a. Identify potential fuels reduction projects and funding opportunities for private lands in the Bridgeport Valley.
Action 7.B.4.b. If community interest warrants, consider formation of a Fire Safe Council for Bridgeport Valley.
Maintain, enhance and diversify the natural resource-based recreational opportunities in the Bridgeport Valley.
Policy 7.C.1. Work with appropriate agencies to manage Bridgeport Reservoir in a manner that protects the natural resources in the area and provides additional recreational opportunities.
Policy 7.C.2. Work with appropriate agencies and groups to develop and implement management plans for the local hot springs.
Action 7.C.2.a. As appropriate, assist the BLM and the Bridgeport Indian Colony in their efforts to manage recreation at the Travertine Hot Springs.
Action 7.C.2.b. Work with the USFS to develop a management plan for the Buckeye Hot Spring.
Policy 7.C.3. Work with appropriate agencies to improve dispersed recreational opportunities (picnicking, camping, sledding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, biking, OHV, etc.) with information signs and maps, restrooms, bike lanes, etc.
Action 7.C.3.a. Utilize the existing maps and publications developed for the promotion of existing regional trails.
Action 7.C.3.b. Develop a wayfinding system that directs travelers to recreation amenities from the town.
Action 7.C.3.c. Work with appropriate agencies to develop a Bridgeport Area Trails Plan that identifies future trail development opportunities.
Policy 7.C.4. Work with California Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure continued stocking of fish into area lakes and streams, and continue to support local aquaculture efforts to enhance DFW stocking efforts.
Policy 7.C.5. Support the development of recreation opportunities on public and private lands.
Preserve Bridgeport’s historic significance and economic base.
Policy 7.D.1. Work with appropriate agencies to retain the historic significance of the county courthouse, encouraging continued use of the facility by the courts and the Board of Supervisors.
Policy 7.D.2. Develop plans for Main Street Revitalization in Bridgeport, including traffic calming, pedestrian safety and other enhancements to encourage exploration of the town and surrounding area.
Policy 7.D.3. Streamline permitting activity where possible to facilitate economic development in the town.
Bridgeport Area Wetlands Policies
GOAL 8. Preserve and enhance wetland functions and values, including wildlife and plant habitat, beneficial livestock forage value, water quality benefits, and aesthetic and recreational values, while providing for orderly growth and an efficient, coordinated permitting process.
Guide development in the Bridgeport Valley so that no net loss of wetlands functions and values or acreage results from development activities.
Policy 8.A.1. Work with the US Army Corps of Engineers to establish procedures for the processing of building and development proposals in or adjacent to wetlands  areas in the Bridgeport Valley.
Action 8.A.1.a. Seek a regional permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers that incorporates the mitigation strategy and process specified in these policies.
Policy 8.A.2. Work with willing landowners, agencies and applicants to establish a Bridgeport land bank to be used as mitigation for those areas where on-site mitigation is not feasible.
Action 8.A.2.a. Investigate potential sites for mitigation bank enhancement including:
- The East Walker River and its floodplain, which offers an excellent opportunity for enhancement of high-quality riparian habitat and fisheries habitat.
- The Robinson Creek outwash plain, which offers an opportunity for vegetation enhancement and possible connection to extended habitat corridors.
- Aurora Canyon, which offers an opportunity for enhancement of limited riparian areas within a few yards of the creek.
- The pond area at the intersection of US 395 and SR 182 (in the Airport Clear Zone), which offers an opportunity for marsh development.
Action 8.A.2.b. Investigate potential sites for a mitigation bank for the creation of wetlands, including:
- Irrigation-induced wetlands that could be permanently converted to wetlands.
- Upland areas where a reliable water source could be applied to convert the area to wetlands.
Action 8.A.2.c. Contact public and private landowners in the Valley, including the Walker River Irrigation District (WRID), for potential sites and interest in participating in a mitigation bank.
Action 8.A.2.d. Establish a Wetlands Mitigation Bank Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for the Bridgeport Valley. This group should include a representative from applicable agencies (e.g., Corps of Engineers, EPA, FWS, SCS, DFG, RWQCB, and Mono County) and a representative of the following:
- Landowners in an area where wetland impacts will occur and mitigation will be required on a case-by-case basis.
- Landowners or the managing entity of the area where the mitigation bank will be located.
- Bridgeport Agricultural Property Owners.
- US Board of Water Commissioners.
Policy 8.A.3. Work to establish The Land Bank for the Bridgeport Valley.
Action 8.A.3.a. The Land Bank shall be established as follows:
- The goals of the mitigation bank shall be to enhance or create self-sustaining functional ecosystems, providing equal functions and values to those impacted by development.
- The life of the bank shall be 20 years from its inception. After the original 20 years, the life of the bank shall be renewed on 20-year cycles as needed, barring any significant changes in regulations, natural conditions or catastrophes.
- Parcels eligible to contribute to the bank shall be illustrated on a map.
- Mitigation sites incorporated into the land bank shall be developed and managed in accordance with a management plan prepared with the assistance of the Wetlands Mitigation Bank Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) established for the Bridgeport Valley. The TAC shall assist in the design and implementation of a management plan for the bank. This plan shall include specific debiting and crediting procedures for the bank and shall detail remedial action responsibilities.
- The Corps shall require periodic inspections conducted with assistance from the TAC to identify whether the mitigation site is in compliance with the management plan.
- The management plan shall identify an appropriate methodology to assess pre- and post-mitigation functional values, in order to establish bank credits and debits. To the extent possible, this methodology will be quantitative.
- The management plan shall specify the methodology that will be used to protect the enhanced or created wetlands in 20-year cycles. This may include conservation/open space easements, deed restrictions, transfer of the property to a tax-paying conservation organization or agency, or other appropriate methods.
Action 8.A.3.b. Seek funding to support land bank projects in the Bridgeport Valley, including but not limited to, grants, loans or other potential funding from Soil Conservation Service, Grants for sewage effluent treatment, EPA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Resources Agency, and Ducks Unlimited.
Maintain and enhance wetland habitat values and functions with willing landowners in the Bridgeport Valley.
Policy 8.B.1. Work with participating ranchers in the area to manage their land bank using one or more of the following methods/techniques:
- beneficial grazing practices;
- living organisms;
- human creativity; and/or
- animal impacts.
Action 8.B.1.a. If grazing practices beneficial to wetlands are to be utilized, the grazing practices shall be specified in a grazing management plan approved by the SCS in consultation with the TAC.
Action 8.B.1.b. Investigate the use of sewage effluent for wetland restoration, creation, or enhancement purposes.
Policy 8.B.2. Work with developers to provide buffer zones around wetland areas adjacent to the developed areas
Policy 8.B.3. Work with public agencies and interested local groups to develop and post informational and educational signs around wetlands areas on public lands.
Policy 8.B.4. Work with interested local groups willing to participate (either financially or with donations of labor) with willing landowners in the protection or enhancement of wetlands.
Policy 8.B.5. Restrict public and animal (e.g., cattle) access as necessary to land bank riparian areas during times of nesting or other critical periods in the life cycles of wildlife or fish.
At the request of the landowner, reevaluate the jurisdictional status of sites proposed for development that are located in irrigated areas in the Bridgeport Valley when and where irrigation water is no longer applied.
Policy 8.C.1. Ensure that accurate and adequate data are collected to permit a reevaluation of wetland status for irrigation-induced wetlands that will meet federal delineation standards.
Action 8.C.1.a. The following additional conditions shall apply to altering the irrigation regime, acquiring data, and seeking a reevaluation of jurisdictional status:
- Areas shall be reevaluated only where a definite project proposal exists.
- The entire area of the proposed project will be reevaluated.
- The existing topography in the vicinity of the subject area should not be altered without contacting the US Army Corps of Engineers.
- During the time of reevaluation, livestock may be excluded as necessary (in consultation with the SCS) to allow plant species to be identified and catalogued. Cattle exclosures in representative areas may be necessary for monitoring or evaluation.
- Reevaluation should begin no later than May 1. Water-table levels should be monitored throughout the early growing season by means of pits or piezometer wells, and vegetation should be studied at a time that may vary from mid-May to July, depending upon weather.
- Data should be acquired at locations on both sides of apparent wetland boundaries. The locations of piezometer wells or other tests of soil conditions (for example, a,a-dipyridil test for reducing conditions) should be representative of the entire subject area. Methodologies in the current jurisdictional wetland manual will be used to define wetlands.
- As per the new National Technical Committee on Hydric Soils (NTCHS) criteria for hydric soils, poorly drained areas with soil permeability less than 6.0 inches/hour (such as most of Bridgeport Valley) would be determined to meet the mandatory soils and hydrology criteria for jurisdictional wetlands if the water table remains within 1.5 feet of the surface for at least two weeks during the growing season.
Action 8.C.1.b. Reevaluations of jurisdictional status of proposed project sites located in irrigated areas shall be performed by a qualified professional under the direction of the County and in consultation with the Soil Conservation Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The work shall be funded by the project applicant.
The "community area" in the Bridgeport Planning Area includes the Bridgeport Townsite, the private lands east of Bridgeport Reservoir, the Evans Tract, Rancheria, and Twin Lakes. The "Valley" area includes the flat meadow area bounded to the east by US 395 and to the west and south by the upland areas. The "Valley" area also includes the flat meadow area north of US 395 and west of the reservoir.
These policies pertain to "jurisdictional wetlands"; i.e., those areas subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which requires a permit for the discharge of dredged or filled materials into waters of the U.S., including wetlands. Under a Memorandum of Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for determining wetland jurisdiction and issuing permits; the Soil Conservation Service may, in the future, become responsible for determining wetland jurisdiction on intensively managed agricultural lands.