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    11.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 10/13/2020  

SUBJECT:
STRICKLING NATURE PARK TREE GRANT AWARD AND WEST COAST ARBORISTS, INC. AGREEMENT AMENDMENT
RECOMMENDATION:
  1. Accept the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) grant award in the amount of $290,956.
  2. Amend the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to add the Strickling Nature Park Tree Grant project. 
  3. Adopt a Resolution entitled:  A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF CHINO HILLS, ADOPTING A BUDGET AMENDMENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2020-21 INCREASING VARIOUS FUNDING SOURCES FOR THE STRICKLING NATURE PARK TREE GRANT PROJECT BY $275,956.
  4. Approve Amendment No. 1 to Agreement A2019-203 with West Coast Arborists, Inc. (WCA) to increase the annual not-to-exceed agreement amount of $652,700 to $730,497 each year for the remaining four terms of the agreement and a one-time increase of $188,190 for tree removal work for the two grant-funded nature park projects. The total contract authorization for Fiscal Year 2020-21 will increase to $918,687 and the remaining annual not-to-exceed amounts will also increase to $730,497 each for a total five-year agreement authorization of $3,762,878. 
  5. Find the exception to competitive bidding procedures under Chino Hills Municipal Code (CHMC) Section 3.18.050.G applies because California Conservation Corps (CCC) is a governmental entity that is cost-effective and provides young participants with valuable skills and experience.
  6. Authorize the execution of an agreement with the California Conservation Corps, a state agency, for invasive plant removal at Strickling Nature Park in the amount of $65,000. 
BACKGROUND/ANALYSIS:
Many of the Eucalyptus trees located in the City's four nature parks have declined and perished during the last 15 years. Vectors such as the Tortoise Beetle and Red Gum Lerp, as well as years of drought conditions, have hastened this process. Staff has sought grant funding to remove trees, particularly those at risk for falling near homes, and replace them with indigenous species. Consequently, staff applied for the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) grant funding from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to remove and replace trees in Strickling Nature Park. The City was awarded this grant on April 22, 2020.    
 
The City Council adopted Resolution No. 2019-080 on November 26, 2019, approving the application for this grant. On April 22, 2020, the City was awarded $275,956 by the CTC for the proposed project. On September 9, 2020, the City received an executed copy of the grant agreement. The grant funding, in addition to $15,000 in City matching funds, will pay for the removal of 150 dead and declining Eucalyptus trees at Strickling Nature Park as identified by the staff arborist as being the most at risk. Following these removals, 200 indigenous species of trees will be planted. In addition to the tree planting and removal, this project will also include the removal of invasive plant species, downed trees, and dead biomass.  
 
The City was previously awarded EEMP grant funding by the CTC for the same type of removal and tree planting project at Hollow Run Nature Park. This project was scheduled for completion by June 30, 2020; however, due to COVID-19 challenges, it has been extended to June 30, 2021. As with the Hollow Run Nature Park project, staff will schedule the Strickling Nature Park removals during the upcoming cooler months when birds are not nesting. WCA will remove the trees in accordance with their current contract pricing for a cost of $166,800. Staff is also requesting that WCA remove invasive palm trees in Hollow Run Nature Park totaling $21,390, funded by the previous EEMP grant. These two, one-time items total $188,190 and are included in Amendment No. 1 to the WCA Agreement A2019-203.  
 
In addition to increasing the contract authority for the grant funded nature park projects, staff is requesting the WCA annual not-to-exceed authority amount increase by $77,797 annually through 2024. Initially, staff requested the WCA agreement at an annual not-to-exceed amount of $652,700 and attempted to provide similar services in spite of significant price increases over the prior agreement. These increases were primarily due to higher insurance limits and prevailing wage hikes. Realizing that they could not meet the needs of the City, staff developed the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget with additional funds for tree maintenance. Staff delayed the amendment due to the uncertainty of demand and work schedules due to COVID-19. Staff is requesting the agreement authority be increased by $77,797 for the remaining four years of the agreement. With Amendment No. 1, the annual not-to-exceed amount of the agreement will increase from $652,700 to $730,497 bringing the total agreement for FY 2020-21 to $918,687.

Staff is also requesting approval of an agreement in the amount of $65,000 with the CCC to remove plant material at Strickling Nature Park as part of the EEMP grant. The CCC is a state agency enrolling young men and women, ages 18 to 25, aimed to improve California's natural resources. Using the CCC for this work is a cost-effective way to remove the invasive material while also providing the young CCC participants with valuable skills and experience. With the CCC being a public agency, the City may enter into an agreement without the need for competitive bidding pursuant to CHMC Section 3.18.050.G. The CCC has provided similar work at Hollow Run Park with excellent results.  
ENVIRONMENTAL (CEQA) REVIEW:
The proposed project is categorically exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Title 14 California Code of Regulations § 15301 (h) as a Class 1 categorical exemption (Existing Facilities) because it involves the maintenance of existing landscaping and enhances native growth. The proposed project is also categorically exempt pursuant to §15333(a) and (d)(1) as a Class 33 Small Habitat Restoration Projects because the total work area is less than five acres and: (a) there would be no significant adverse impact on endangered, rare or threatened species or their habitat pursuant to section 15065 because disturbance or removal of existing trees will occur during non-nesting season as confirmed by a qualified biologist or following confirmation from nest surveys conducted by a qualified biologist that no nests are present; (b) There are no hazardous materials at or around the project site that may be disturbed or removed, (c) The project will not result in impacts that are significant when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects, and (d)(1) the project would revegetate a disturbed areas with native plant species by removing 150 declining Eucalyptus trees and replacing them with 200 native trees which will enhance habitats for birds and wildlife, particularly for the Least Bell's Vireo, listed as an endangered species. Further, the project involves planting native tree species and is not anticipated to have any significant impacts with regards to traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality.
FISCAL IMPACT:
The proposed budget amendment will increase the revenue and expenditure budget in the Miscellaneous Grants Fund by $275,956 and move $15,000 for matching funds from the Parks and Landscape General Fund operating budget to the Capital Improvement Program for a total of $290,956. There is a zero net effect on fund balance with this item. Upon approval of the budget amendment, there will be sufficient funding to cover the Fiscal Year 2020-21 cost of the Amendment No. 1 to WCA Agreement and California Conservation Corps agreements. Future agreement costs will be budgeted for in the appropriate fiscal year. There is no impact on the General Fund with this item.
REVIEWED BY OTHERS:
This agenda item has been reviewed by the Finance Director and City Attorney. 
Attachments
Grant Agreement
Budget Resolution
Exhibit No. 1 - Budget Amendment
Amendment No. 1 to Agreement No. A2019-023
CCC Agreement

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