California is subject to a suite of environmental regulations protecting its biological resources, and many of the regulations allow for a permitting process when projects will impact the state’s biological resources.  The regulations occur at the federal, state, regional, and local levels as do the permits that support the regulation. The major permits associated with the common regulations that are encountered in California are summarized below and a link is provided to a detailed description and additional resources for each one.

Federal Permits

Federal permits allow for the “take” of endangered species and allow for impacts to “Waters of the US”.

  • Section 404 of the Clean Water Act Permit – Permits from the Army Corps of Engineers are required prior to projects being conducted in “Waters of the US”, and a proposed project’s degree of impacts to these areas will determine what permit type is required. All impacts associated with a proposed discharge must be mitigated using a three-step sequence associated with all of the Section 404 Permits: avoidance, then minimization, and lastly compensation for unavoidable impacts. Learn more
  • Section 7 Endangered Species Act Consulation – Section 7 of the  Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs all federal agencies to ensure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry-out does not jeopardize the continued existence of an endangered or threatened species or designated or proposed critical habitat.  In order to meet this goal, federal agencies must review their actions and determine whether the action may affect federally listed and proposed species or proposed or designated critical habitat. Learn more
  • Section 10 ESA Consultation (HCP Process) – Section 10 of the ESA allows an individual or private citizen to “take” a listed species if they develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The purpose of the HCP process and issuance of Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) is to authorize the incidental take of threatened or endangered species, not to authorize the underlying activities that result in take. Learn more
  • Section 10 ESA Recovery Permits

California Permits

California also has a host of state permits pertaining to biological resources.

  • Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA) – Fish and Game Code Section 1602 requires any entity (defined as any person, State or local governmental agency, or public utility) to notify the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) before beginning any activity that will substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of and river, stream, or lake, substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of, any river, stream, or lake, or deposit or dispose of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream, or lake.  Learn more
  • California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Incidental Take Permit –  Section 2081(b) of the California Fish and Game Code allows CDFW to permit the incidental take of a species listed to CESA. Learn more
  • Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) – An NCCP identifies and provides for the regional protection of plants, animals, and their habitats, while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity. Working with landowners, environmental organizations, and other interested parties, a local agency oversees the numerous activities that compose the development of an NCCP. CDFW and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provide the necessary support, direction, and guidance to NCCP participants. Learn more