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Environmental Review and Permitting


California’s fish and wildlife depend upon the quality and quantity of habitat including lands, waters, and other environmental factors necessary for survival.
CDFW’s Environmental Review and Permitting Programs implement sections of the California Fish and Game Code, California Code of Regulations, and other statutes and regulations. These Programs help fulfill CDFW’s mission to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Permits

CESA authorizes CDFW to permit project proponents to take state-listed threatened, endangered or candidate species if certain conditions are met. The CESA Program administers the incidental take provisions of CESA, including Incidental Take Permits, Consistency Determinations, and Safe Harbor Agreements to ensure regulatory compliance and statewide consistency.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Review

CEQA requires public agencies to disclose and mitigate environmental impacts of discretionary projects they approve. Most often, CDFW acts as a Trustee and/or Responsible Agency and provides the requisite biological expertise to review and comment upon CEQA environmental documents prepared by another Lead Agency. CDFW may also act as Lead Agency.

Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements

Fish and Game Code Section 1602 requires any entity to notify CDFW before beginning any activity that may substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of, or substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of any river, stream, or lake. If CDFW determines that the activity may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources, a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement will be prepared.

Timberland Conservation Program

Forest practices on private timberlands in California are overseen by multiple state agencies to address the variety of potential impacts timber operations have on the environment. CDFW often issues permits for building roads across streams and for water drafting from streams and lakes. Occasionally, CDFW issues incidental take permits when timber operations impact threatened and endangered species.

Habitat Conservation Planning Branch
1700 9th Street, 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95811
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 653-4875