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General Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation

Effective January 2018, cannabis cultivators may apply for a General Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation, referred to as a General Agreement. The General Agreement applies only to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of Stream Crossings, in the form of a bridge, culvert, or rock ford, and Water Diversions on non-finfish rivers, streams, and lakes that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation.

Read the link opens in new windowGeneral Agreement (PDF).

If you are considering applying for a General Agreement, please read the following information prior to submitting a Lake and Streambed Alteration Notification.


Prior to Applying

Are You Eligible For A General Agreement?

Eligibility Criteria

The General Agreement applies to a Covered Activity when an Entity certifies to CDFW that all of the following:

  • Each activity for which you are notifying CDFW is a Covered Activity. Covered Activity is defined as the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under the General Agreement. 
  • Each Covered Activity included in your notification meets the applicable Design Criteria (see below for specific design criteria).
  • The Covered Activity will not occur on or in a finfish stream or lake.
  • The Covered Activity will not result in take of a Listed or Fully Protected Species.
  • The Covered Activity is not the subject of a complaint or order by CDFW under Section 12025 of the Fish and Game Code, a complaint filed by a city attorney, District Attorney, the Attorney General, or an order by a court.
  • If you are seeking authorization under a General Agreement is in response to a notice of violation by CDFW, the authorization will address each violation alleged in the notice.
  • Applicable measures and requirements in subsections (h)-(k) of the General Agreement will be met.

What are the Design Criteria?

To be eligible for a General Agreement, each Covered Activity included in your notification must meet the applicable Design Criteria. Covered Activity is defined as the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under the General Agreement.

Bridge

  • Comprised of a single span structure across a stream with all abutments located outside the top of the stream banks.
  • Minimally conveys a 100-year peak storm flow with one foot of freeboard. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream.
  • The tops of any abutment footings are below the calculated scour depth.

Culvert

  • Comprised of a single pipe.
  • Sized to minimally convey a 100-year peak storm flow or designed to withstand a 100-year peak storm flow.
  • Aligned within the channel and otherwise engineered, installed, and maintained to prevent washout and erosion of the streambed, stream banks, and fill.
  • Embedded below the natural channel grade to facilitate substrate deposition on the culvert floor. Where physical conditions preclude embedment (e.g., channels composed of bedrock or large boulders), the maximum slope of the culvert must be 0.5 percent with no hydraulic drop at the outlet.
  • Extended lengthwise completely beyond the toe of fill. 
  • Set to the natural stream grade of the stream reach, if feasible based on the composition of the affected streambed.
  • Inlets, outlets (including the outfall area), and fill faces are armored using rock where stream flow, road runoff, or rainfall is likely to cause erosion. 
  • Open bottom culverts are placed on footings excavated below the calculated scour depth. 
  • Corrugated metal pipe is used in areas of high to very high fire hazard as indicated by CAL FIRE Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream.

Rock ford

  • Located in a stable stream reach with a coarse gravel and cobble streambed. 
  • Oriented perpendicular to flow and designed to maintain the range of surface flows that occur in the stream.
  • Constructed using rock that can withstand streambed and bank erosion by the expected range of flow velocities. 
  • Does not contain concrete or asphalt in any form. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream. 

Water Diversion

  • Water diverted at each place or point of diversion does not exceed an instantaneous diversion rate of 10 gallons per minute and shall bypass a minimum 50 percent of the surface flow past the point of diversion, as estimated based on visually observing surface water flow at least daily.
  • Water Diversion intakes, including intakes for water trucks, are fitted with a commercially available water pump strainer designed for use in aquatic environments that is securely attached to the intake.
  • All infrastructure used to intercept surface flow, such as rock dams, does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream. 
  • Water diverted to storage for cannabis cultivation does not exceed five acre-feet per year and is stored in a Water Storage Facility (“WSF”) that meets the following criteria:
  1. Located off-stream and outside the active 100-year floodplain.
  2. Is not used to store or mix chemicals.
  • If the WSF is a reservoir
    • Artificially constructed, off-stream water body not exceeding five acre-feet of storage, designed by a Licensed Professional. 
    • No hydrologic connectivity to upstream surface waters. 
    • The overflow outlet is designed and located to prevent erosion in case of overtopping.
    • Constructed and operated in a manner that enables wildlife to exit the waterbody.
  • If the WSF is a bladder, the WSF includes a secondary containment structure that will contain 110 percent of water volume in case of bladder failure and will enable wildlife to escape the structure.
  • If the WSF is a tank:
    • Enclosed (i.e., no open top).
    • Made of rigid material, such as metal or high-density polyethylene, designed to hold water.
    • Piping includes backflow prevention devices to minimize backflow and cross contamination, for example, from mixing tanks.

What Documents Are Required Prior to Applying?

If you qualify for the General Agreement, you will be required to certify that you have the following documents in your possession at the time you apply for the General Agreement:

  • Biological Resources Assessment - a survey and biological resource report of the Project Site by a Biologist.  In preparing a Biological Resources Assessment, the Biologist shall do the following:
    Identify the presence or potential presence of any Species of Greatest Conservation Need and finfish and their habitat, and invasive species, relying on:
  • Design Plans - a detailed description of the site-specific design for the construction or Reconstruction of a Stream Crossing or reservoir prescribed by a Licensed Professional that includes drawings, sizing methods, component details, and construction notes that give specific directions on the construction methods that will be employed for the work. 
  • Property Diagram - a diagram to scale of the Property that identifies the following with locations also provided as coordinates in either latitude and longitude or the California Coordinate System:
    1. The location and size of all existing stream crossings, water diversions, water diversion infrastructure, and water storage facilities of any type on the Property.
    2. The location of the Project Site on the Property.
    3. Each river, stream, lake, and other waters on the Property, including springs.
    4. Sources of water used on the Property and the location of all points of diversion, including pumps and wells.
    5. Water distribution systems.
    6. The Assessor’s Parcel Number for the Property.

General Agreement Definitions

The following definitions apply to the General Agreement:

Authorized Activity
a Covered Activity an Entity is authorized to conduct under this General Agreement after notice by CDFW
Biological Resources Assessment
a survey and biological resource report of the Project Site by a Biologist. In preparing a Biological Resources Assessment, the Biologist shall do the following:
Identify the presence or potential presence of any Species of Greatest Conservation Need and finfish and their habitat, and invasive species, relying on:
Biologist
a person who meets the following minimum qualifications:
  • possesses a degree in biological or natural resources, or a closely related scientific discipline, from an accredited university;
  • is familiar with Species of Greatest Conservation Need, their home ranges compared to the Project Site, and their local ecology;
  • has experience analyzing project impacts on Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitat; and
  • is familiar with invasive species prevention and eradication
Bladder
a flexible container designed to store water
Cannabis Cultivation
any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis
Covered Activity
the construction, Reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under this General Agreement
Design Plan
a detailed description of the site-specific design for the construction or Reconstruction of a Stream Crossing or reservoir prescribed by a Licensed Professional that includes drawings, sizing methods, component details, and construction notes that give specific directions on the construction methods that will be employed for the work
Entity
“entity” as defined in Section 1601, subdivision (d), of the Fish and Game Code
Finfish
any species of bony fish; finfish do not include mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, or invertebrates
Finfish stream or lake
any stream or lake where finfish are always or seasonally present
Fish
“fish” as defined in Section 45 of the Fish and Game Code
Licensed Professional

a person licensed under the:

  • Professional Engineer Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 6700-6799),
  • Geologist and Geophysicist Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 7800-7887),
  • Professional Land Surveyors’ Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 8700-8805),
  • Professional Foresters Law (Pub. Resources Code, §§ 750-783), or
  • a licensed professional hydrologist.
Listed or Fully Protected Species
  • any native plant species listed as rare under the Native Plant Protection Act (Fish & G. Code, § 1900 et seq.; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 670.2);
  • any species that is listed or is a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (Fish & G. Code, § 2080 et seq.; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §§ 670.2, 670.5); or
  • any fully protected species (Fish & G. Code, §§ 3511, 4700, 5050, 5515)
Permittee
an Entity who has obtained authorization from the department to conduct a Covered Activity under this General Agreement
Project Site
the location of the Covered Activity and the surrounding area
Property
the property on which the Project Site is located as identified by an Assessor’s Parcel Number
Property Diagram
a diagram to scale of the Property that identifies the following with locations also provided as coordinates in either latitude and longitude or the California Coordinate System:
  • the location and size of all existing stream crossings, water diversions, water diversion infrastructure, and water storage facilities of any type on the Property
  • the location of the Project Site on the Property
  • each river, stream, lake, and other waters on the Property, including springs
  • sources of water used on the Property and the location of all points of diversion, including pumps and wells
  • water distribution systems
  • the Assessor’s Parcel Number for the Property
Reconstruction
the major repair or complete replacement of an existing Stream Crossing or Water Diversion where any new structure:
  • will be located on the same site as the structure replaced or repaired and will have substantially the same purpose as the structure replaced or repaired
  • will minimize or avoid direct and indirect adverse impacts on fish and wildlife resources compared to the existing structure
River
includes stream
Species of Greatest Conservation Need
“Species of Greatest Conservation Need” that are listed in Appendix C of the California State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 Update, Volume II, or meet the definition of “endangered” or “rare” in Section 15380.
Stream
any stream or river, including streams or rivers that are dry for periods of time.Stream Crossing means a bridge, culvert, or rock ford in or over a stream or river, and all fill material within the crossing prism
Take
“take” as defined in Section 86 of the Fish and Game Code
Water Diversion
the act of diverting surface flow or hydrologically connected subsurface flow for use or storage. “Water diversion” includes all infrastructure used to divert (e.g., rock dams, excavation pools in fast-moving water, and wells) or store such flow
Water Storage Facility
an artificial water storage facility comprised of a bladder, reservoir, or storage tank
Waters of the State
“state waters” as defined in Section 89.1 of the Fish and Game Code

Is There A Fee?

To seek authorization to conduct a Covered Activity under the General Agreement, you must submit the fee(s) as specified:

The Entity must pay a fee in the amount the Entity would need to pay for a Standard Agreement for a term of five years or less, as specified in link opens in new windowCDFW's fee schedule for Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements if applicable (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 699.5, subd. (b)).

The Entity must also pay a remediation fee if applicable (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 699.5, subd. (i)).


Application Instructions

Fish and Game Code section 1602 requires any person, state or local governmental agency, or public utility to notify CDFW before beginning any activity that will substantially modify a river, stream, or lake. 

To seek authorization to conduct a Covered Activity under the General Agreement, you must Notify using the Online Submittal process,  

Be sure to read the link opens in new windowOnline Submittal Instructions prior to submitting your Notification. If you believe you are eligible and are seeking authorization under the General Agreement, some sections of the Notification are not required to be completed. See notes under each section in the Online Submittal Instructions for details.


For project and site specific LSA questions, contact the CDFW Region where the project is located.

Email the LSA Program Sacramento



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