The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) serves to:
- Disclose to the public the significant environmental effects of a proposed discretionary project, through the preparation of an initial study, negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, or environmental impact report.
- Prevent or minimize damage to the environment through development of project alternatives, mitigation measures, and mitigation monitoring.
- Disclose to the public the agency decision making process utilized to approve discretionary projects through findings and statements of overriding consideration.
- Enhance public participation in the environmental review process through scoping meetings, public notice, public review, hearings, and the judicial process.
- Improve interagency coordination through early consultations, scoping meetings, notices of preparation, and State Clearinghouse review.
State and local public agencies must comply with CEQA before making a discretionary approval of a project. Compliance can be met by determining a project is exempt from CEQA or preparing an environmental analysis, typically a negative declaration (ND), mitigated negative declaration (MND) or environmental impact report (EIR). MNDs and EIRs identify and contain an analysis of a project's significant environmental effects and discuss feasible measures to avoid or mitigate those effects. EIRs also analyze a reasonable range of potentially feasible alternatives to the proposed project that would avoid or substantially lessen the project's significant effects. Compliance with other environmental laws and regulations is also typically discussed in an MND or EIR.
CDFW is California's Trustee Agency for the State’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources. CDFW, in its trustee capacity, has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitats necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species. For the purposes of CEQA, CDFW is charged by law to provide, as available, biological expertise during public agency environmental review efforts, focusing specifically on projects and related activities that have the potential to adversely affect fish and wildlife resources.
NOTE: CDFW staff cannot make decisions or intercede on CEQA projects under the jurisdiction of another lead agency(opens in new tab). Please direct project-specific comments or questions to the project's CEQA lead agency. For more general information on CEQA, please visit the California Natural Resources Agency(opens in new tab) or the Office of Planning and Research(opens in new tab) pages.