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Scientific Collecting Permits

A permit is required to take, collect, capture, mark, or salvage, for scientific, educational, and non-commercial propagation purposes, mammals, birds and their nests and eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates (Fish and Game Code Section 1002 and Title 14 Sections 650 and 670.7). These activities require a Scientific Collecting Permit (SCP), and you need to pay a fee for it. The take of some animals may also require a Memorandum of Understanding or other additional written authorization from CDFW.

The collection, possession, transplantation or propagation of rare, threatened or endangered plants or manipulation of their habitat requires a Rare, Threatened or Endangered Plant Collecting Permit or Plant Research Permit. These permits are free and are required for activities conducted on both private and public land.

Take of threatened or endangered species incidental to an otherwise lawful activity requires a Section 2081(b) permit.

All species may be taken for scientific purposes but not all may be taken for educational, non-commercial propagation, or management purposes. This is determined by whether a species is classified as a fully protected species, candidate, threatened, or endangered species, species of special concern, a standard exception species, an endangered or rare plant species, or other native species.

Species Category Species Category Definition Allowable Purpose for Take
Fully Protected Species Includes species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals listed as Fully Protected by the State Legislature (see Fish and Game Code, Sections 3511, 4700, 5050, and 5515). Scientific
Threatened, Endangered, or Candidate Species Includes all species listed by the California Fish and Game Commission (see Title 14 CCR, Section 670.5), and by the federal government under ESA. Scientific, Educational, Management
Species of Special Concern Includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that the Department has determined are potentially at risk to become threatened or endangered (see Species of Special Concern section for explanation of criteria for this designation). Scientific, Educational, Non-commercial propagation
Standard Exception Animals Includes species included in the three above categories, and bird nests and eggs, raptors, bats, carnivores, game animals, and other specially protected birds and mammals. The back of the application for an SCP (see below for SCP application process) has a list of these species. Scientific, Educational, Non-commercial propagation
Other Native Animals Includes the other animals not included in the sections above. Scientific, Educational, Non-commercial propagation
Endangered and Rare Plants Includes all plants listed by the Fish and Game Commission (see Title 14 CCR, Section 670.2) Scientific

The Scientific Collecting Permit Process

Fees

Entitlements Fee 2018 Description
Individual & Entity (non-students)
SCP Application Fee $108.92 Paid with submittal of an Application (PDF Form) by an Individual or Entity to process a new application or a renewal of an existing permit. For each Principal Investigator listed on an Entity permit, an Application and Permit fee is required.
SCP Permit (Issuance) Fee $324.75 Paid at time when notified by License and Revenue Branch that permit is ready for issuance. For each Principal Investigator listed on an Entity permit, an Application and Permit fee is required
SCP Amendment Fee $108.92 Paid at time when requesting via Amendment (PDF Form) any changes to an existing permit (such as type and number of wildlife requested for take, locations, methods, disposition), or to change names on the List of Authorized Individuals. Amendments are valid for the remaining duration of the original permit’s dates
Students only
SCP Application Fee $27.04 Paid with submittal of an Application (PDF Form) by a Student to process a new application or a renewal of an existing permit. Any resident or nonresident student in a school of collegiate level, who is required by an instructor or graduate supervisor in wildlife research to collect specimens used in laboratory work or research
SCP Permit (Issuance) Fee $54.59 Paid at time when notified by License and Revenue Branch that permit is ready for issuance
SCP Amendment Fee $27.04 Paid at time when requesting via Amendment (PDF Form) any changes to an existing permit (such as type and number of wildlife requested for take, locations, methods, disposition). Amendments are valid for the remaining duration of the original permit’s dates.

July 1, 2018 Update – New Regulations Effective October 1, 2018

On May 1, 2018, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory changes to link opens in new windowSections 650 (PDF) and link opens in new window703 (PDF), Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR) (OAL regulatory file 2018-0320-05S) for Scientific Collecting Permits (SCPs). The new SCP regulations (including the new application structure and online submission format) will be effective on October 1, 2018. Please continue to use the existing 2018 SCP application forms linked below (version date rev. 10/31/17), with the corresponding 2018 permit fees (listed in table below) until September 30, 2018. Starting July 15 through Sept. 30, 2018, the permit fee ($324.75 and $54.59 for students) will be required to be paid up-front with the application fee.

To help inform existing and prospective permitholders and other affected stakeholders, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) is addressing the following information on the new SCP regulations and transition to the new SCP online application portal:

  • How existing permits will be honored after the October 1, 2018 effective date of the new regulations;
  • How the new permit structure and other changes in new regulations compare to the existing regulations; and
  • General information about the new SCP online application portal.

This SCP home page will serve as the primary online resource for information about implementation and, starting on October 1, 2018, will also provide access to the online application portal. Department staff will inform and educate affected stakeholders by posting outreach materials, guidance, and tools to this webpage throughout the summer of 2018.

The Department has prepared a  link opens in new windowFAQ document (PDF) to address common concerns that existing and prospective permitholders may have about the new regulations and online application portal.

The Department highlights two immediate considerations for existing and prospective permitholders:


Phasing out of existing application forms

Phasing out of existing application forms. Any permit issued prior to October 1, 2018, or any issued permit that was applied for by September 30, 2018 using the existing hard copy forms will be valid until the expiration date listed on that permit. However, all new applications, amendments to existing permits and permit renewals requested on or after October 1, 2018 will require submission in the new SCP online application portal, and adherence to the new SCP regulations (refer to Title 14, link opens in new windowSubsection 650(a)(7), CCR for more information).

In an effort to promote a smooth transition into the new regulations, the Department will accept and process applications under the existing regulations and hard-copy forms through September 30, 2018. This will allow affected permitholders to continue their permitted activities without interruption in their scheduled field and/or laboratory activities, after the new regulations become effective October 1, 2018.

Applications submitted via the new online application portal starting October 1, 2018 will be processed concurrently with applications on the existing hard copy forms submitted by September 30, 2018. If a permitholder anticipates needing to amend or renew their existing permit in the next three or so months, or throughout that permit’s term, it is in the permitholder’s best interest to wait, if practicable, until October 1, 2018 or later, to apply under the online application portal, for the following reasons:

  • Applications to amend or renew existing permits will not be accepted after September 30, 2018 in the existing hard copy process, under current regulations. An amendment to, or renewal of, an existing permit on and after October 1, 2018 will require the permitholder to apply (as a new applicant in accordance to the new permit and fee structure) in the online application portal. This way the permitholder pays just the new permit fees (Question 8 in the FAQs), rather than paying existing fees to amend or renew before September 30, 2018, in addition to paying new permit fees when coming in to use the new online application portal after October 1, 2018.
  • Once active, early use of the online application portal will also assist:
    • Department’s IT staff to identify and then work out any issues not identified during beta-testing.
    • Department review staff to process the queue of existing applications under the existing hard copy process.

The Department highly recommends that a permitholder whose existing SCP does not expire until January 1, 2019 or later, wait to amend or renew an existing SCP under the new online application portal. This will help the Department process applications in the order received, and work with applicants to help maintain permit coverage for necessary periods of work (see also Question 6 of the FAQs).

Up-front payment of permit fee required July 15 through Sept. 30, 2018

Up-front payment of permit fee. Currently, the non-refundable application fee is required when an application is submitted, and then the permit fee is requested separately when the permit is approved. Effective July 15, 2018, new applicants or renewing permitholders under the existing hard copy process will be required to submit at the same time both the application fee ($108.92, or $27.04 for students) and the permit fee ($324.75, or $54.59 for students) to the Department’s License and Revenue Branch (LRB) at the time of application submission. This will help the Department:

  • Finalize permits issued under the existing system sooner, to better facilitate a smooth transition to the new online application portal.
  • Phase out these older license items earlier; Department staff will not have to delay issuance while requesting permit fees upon permit approval (from applicants applying under the existing system between July 15 and September 30, 2018).
  • Encourage applicants to save a few dollars by avoiding the annual fee adjustments for any permits issued after December 31, 2018. Department license items are adjusted annually in January pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 713. Therefore, if the application is approved in early 2019, then the applicant would have to pay the higher, adjusted fee (up to a 3% increase).

Scientific Collecting Permit Contacts

For questions about the status of an application and/or for assistance with payment of an application fee or permit fee, please contact the License and Revenue Branch’s Special Permits Unit by telephone at (916) 928-5849 or email at spu@wildlife.ca.gov.

Depending on the taxonomic areas of interest, questions about submitting an application (new, renewal, or amendment) may be directed to the appropriate CDFW permit review scientist(s) below:

Fisheries – anadromous & non-anadromous fish and aquatic invertebrates sampled in inland salt or freshwater – Leslie Alber, Fisheries Branch

Marine – anadromous & non-anadromous fish, algae, seagrasses, and invertebrates sampled in marine waters – James “Steve” May, Marine Region

Wildlife – amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, terrestrial invertebrates, and vernal pool invertebrates – Justin Garcia, Wildlife Branch

Information

Permit Applications (through Sept. 30, 2018)

Report Forms (through Sept. 30, 2018)