2022 CEQA Environmental Document Filing Fees now available. More Information

No Effect Determination (NED)

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 711.4, subdivision (c)(1)(opens in new tab), all project proponents including public agencies subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) shall pay an environmental document filing fee for each project. The environmental document filing fee will be waived if the project will have no effect on fish and wildlife. Projects that are statutorily or categorically exempt from CEQA are not subject to the environmental document filing fee and do not require a no effect determination (NED) (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §§ 15260 – 15333; Fish & G. Code, § 711.4, subd. (d)(1)(opens in new tab)).

Determining whether a project subject to CEQA will affect fish and wildlife is the responsibility of CDFW. An NED is made solely for the purpose of determining environmental document filing fees and is not part of the assessment a lead agency makes under CEQA (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 753.5, subd. (c)(1)(A)(opens in new tab)). Lead agencies continue to be responsible for determining whether projects will have potentially significant environmental effects on the environment, including biological resources.

NED Eligibility

CDFW may determine that a project would have no effect on fish and wildlife if all of the following conditions apply:

  • The project would not result in or have the potential to result in harm, harassment, or take of any fish and/or wildlife species.
  • The project would not result in or have the potential to result in direct or indirect destruction, ground disturbance, or other modification of any habitat that may support fish and/or wildlife species.
  • The project would not result in or have the potential to result in the removal of vegetation with potential to support wildlife.
  • The project would not result in or have the potential to result in noise, vibration, dust, light, pollution, or an alteration in water quality that may affect fish and/or wildlife directly or from a distance.
  • The project would not result in or have the potential to result in any interference with the movement of any fish and/or wildlife species.

If CDFW determines that a project meets all of the above conditions, the project may qualify for an NED (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 753.5, subd. (d).).

Examples of Qualifying Projects

Only a small fraction of projects with a Negative Declaration (ND), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), or Environmental Impact Report (EIR) have qualified for an NED. CDFW makes each NED on a case-by-case basis. CDFW has previously found the following types of projects to have no effect on fish and wildlife:

  • Development and redevelopment in highly urbanized or industrialized settings, typically within existing footprints, and demolition and rebuilding at sites where the project did not affect nearby animals, bat roosts, nesting birds, and other resources.
  • Minor zoning changes that did not lead to or allow new construction, grading, or other physical alterations to the environment.
  • Minor modifications to existing structures including addition of a second story to single or multi-family residences.
  • Approval of administrative regulations, school, or special district redistricting, and air quality improvement plans subject to CEQA that did not authorize activities that could cause effects on fish and wildlife or physical alterations to the environment.

A proposed project’s similarity with the example projects listed above should not be used as justification for an NED.

Submit NED Request

The lead agency or project applicant should thoroughly review the information on this page to pre-screen their project prior to submitting an NED Request Form (PDF Form) (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §753.5, subd.(c)(1)(A)). If you anticipate that your project will have no effect on fish and wildlife, please follow the instructions below:

  • Complete an NED Request Form (PDF Form).
  • Submit document in digital format by email to the appropriate CDFW Regional Office. Digital files for documents larger than 20 MB cannot be accepted through CDFW’s email system. Please send a web link if documents are available online or mail a compact disk/flash drive of documents to Regional Office. Contact the appropriate Regional Office to obtain the correct mailing address to mail your compact disk or flash drive.
  • The request should be submitted when the CEQA document is released for public review, or as early as possible in the public comment period.
  • NOTE: Projects with a statewide scope, send the completed NED Request Form and associated documents to the Habitat Conservation Planning Branch by email at CEQA@wildlife.ca.gov.

Finding Effect

If CDFW determines that a project has the potential to affect fish, wildlife, or habitat, the lead agency and/or project applicant will be notified that an NED will not be issued. Environmental document filing fees are due at the time the project’s notice of determination (NOD) is filed with the county clerk (for local agencies) or State Clearinghouse (for state agencies). Fees for certified regulatory program documents are due to CDFW prior to filing of the notice of decision with the California Natural Resources Agency.

Finding No Effect

If CDFW determines that a project will not have the potential to effect fish, wildlife, or habitat, CDFW will provide the lead agency and/or project applicant with a written NED. The lead agency and/or project applicant should retain the original NED for their records and submit two copies to the county clerk (for local agencies) or State Clearinghouse (for state agencies) along with the NOD (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §753.5, subd. (c)(2)). If the project is subject to a certified regulatory program, the lead agency and/or project applicant should retain the original NED for their records and submit a copy to the California Natural Resources Agency along with the notice of decision.

Only a CDFW-issued NED form will be accepted in lieu of the environmental document filing fee. For local lead agencies, although the NED may be used in lieu of an environmental document filing fee when the NOD is filed with the county clerk, the county’s processing fee may still apply.