Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need an encroachment permit for my proposed project?
What types of work require an encroachment permit?
What is an Adopted Plan of Flood Control?
How do you determine where the landside levee toe is located?
How do you determine where the waterside levee toe is located?
Is my project within the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s Designated Floodway?
Can my proposed project be located work on Project Levees or within floodways between the Project Levees?
Can I build a house within an Adopted Plan of Flood Control?
Are there design standards that I should follow if my proposed project requires an encroachment permit?
Can I request a variance if my project will not be in compliance with CCR Title 23 standards?
How complete do my design plans need to be before I can submit an encroachment permit application?
Where can I get an encroachment permit application form?
What is CEQA compliance?
Are there other agencies that I should contact before I submit my encroachment permit application?
Where do I send my two (2) copies of the encroachment permit application package?
How much does an encroachment permit cost?
How long does it take to get an encroachment permit?
Does my encroachment permit application get forwarded to other permitting agencies?
Will my encroachment permit have special conditions or restrictions to my proposed project?
What happens if I begin work without an encroachment permit?
What can I do if my encroachment permit is denied by CVFPB?
Do I need a permit to do maintenance on a previously permitted encroachment?
What if a project is very minor, do I still need a permit?

When do I need an encroachment permit for my proposed project? Top

An encroachment permit from the CVFPB is required for every proposal or plan of work that:

  1. Is located between or in the vicinity of any project levees (see Best Available Maps viewer )
  2. Is located within a Board easement (recorded as: Sacramento San Joaquin Drainage District);
  3. Is located within a Designated Floodway (DF) that has been adopted by the Board (see Best Available Maps viewer );
  4. Is located within 30 feet of a non-leveed regulated stream listed in California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Division 1, Article 8, Table 8.1. (http://cvfpb.ca.gov/docs/regulations/CCRTitle23Division1Vol32.pdf);
  5. May have a negative effect on any Adopted Plan of Flood Control.

What types of work require an encroachment permit? Top

A project that requires any work to be done in or near a regulated stream, DF, or on any federal flood control project levee to include the area 10-feet landward of the landside levee toe. Such activities might include but are not limited to: the placement, construction, reconstruction, removal, or abandonment of any landscaping, culvert, bridge, conduit, fence, projection, fill, embankment, building, structure, obstruction, encroachment or works of any kind, and including the planting, excavation, or removal of vegetation, and any repair or maintenance that involves cutting into the levee, wholly or in part, within an area for which there is an Adopted Plan of Flood Control.

What is an Adopted Plan of Flood Control? Top

A flood control or reclamation strategy for a specific area that has been adopted by the Board or the Legislature and includes the following:

  1. In the case of project flood channels without levees, it means the natural stream channel and overbank area at design flood levels (see Article 5, Designated Floodways);
  2. In the case of project channels with levees, it means the area between and including the project levees, and includes:
    • Additional area outside of the project levees where encroachments could affect the integrity, functioning or maintenance of the flood control system;
    • Any flowage areas that are part of the federal or state flood control project; and
    • Areas where there are flowage easements; and
  3. In the case of Designated Floodways, it means the area within the flood inundation boundary lines.
  4. Where levees are involved, the “Adopted Plan of Flood Control” extends a minimum of ten (10) feet landward from the levee toe except where an operation and maintenance manual furnished pursuant to 33 C.F.R., or the real property rights acquired by the Board specifically provide otherwise.

How do you determine where the landside levee toe is located? Top

Project levees typically have a 20 foot crown with a 2H to 1V landside slope and a 3H to 1V waterside slope. The landside levee toe is located where the projected landside levee slope, locked at the landside levee shoulder (see Exhibit 1 in CCR Title 23), meets the natural ground elevation that existed when the levee was accepted by the Board from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Contact us when you are dealing with an oversized levee to determine the theoretical levee prism.

How do you determine where the waterside levee toe is located? Top

Identify the landside levee toe as explained above and extend a horizontal line through the levee until it intercepts the projected waterside levee slope that is locked at the waterside shoulder (see Exhibit 1 in CCR Title 23). Contact us when you are dealing with an oversized levee to determine the theoretical levee prism.

Is my project within the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s Designated Floodway? Top

Maps of Designated Floodways can be viewed on CVFPB’s website using the Best Available Map (BAM) viewer or at the County Recorder’s office of the county in which the project is located.

Can my proposed project be located on Project Levees or within floodways between the Project Levees? Top

Standards for proposed encroachments within floodways or between project levees can be
found in Title 23 of California Code of Regulations. For additional information, contact the
Central Valley Flood Protection Board at (916) 574-0609, or send an email to:
CVFPBQuestions@Water.ca.gov.

Can I build a house within an Adopted Plan of Flood Control? Top

Dwellings and structures that will be used for human habitation are typically not allowed within an Adopted Plan of Flood Control per Title 23, Section 113, Dwellings and Structures Within an Adopted Plan of Flood Control. Board staff may recommend denial of an application due to non-compliance to Title 23 standards.

Are there design standards that I should follow if my proposed project requires an encroachment permit? Top

California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Article 8 provides standards that must be incorporated into your project design
(Click to download);. To request a hard copy of Title 23, contact the Central Valley Flood Protection Board at (916) 574-0609, or send an e-mail to CVFPBQuestions@Water.ca.gov.

Can I request a variance if my project will not be in compliance with CCR Title 23 standards? Top

An applicant may request a variance to standards per CCR Title 23, Section 11, Variances. A variance request will be considered by the Board as a hearing during a regularly scheduled Board Meeting. The Board may approve or deny the variance request.

How complete do my design plans need to be before I can submit an encroachment permit application? Top

At a minimum, drawings must be at a 60% design level before submitting an application. Depending on the complexity of the proposed project, 90% design drawings may be required.

Where can I get an encroachment permit application form? Top

Application forms (3615, 3615a) are available on the CVFPB website. If you prefer, you may request a hard copy by calling (916) 574-0609. Fill out the forms as completely as possible, being sure to sign the 3615 form. Encroachment permit application submittals must include two hard copies of the application forms and all additional required information (see General Permit Information). In addition, electronic copies of all submitted information must be included with the application submittal. Mail encroachment permit application submittals to:

Central Valley Flood Protection Board Attention: Permitting Section
3310 El Camino Avenue, Suite 170
Sacramento, California 95821

Application submittals may also be hand delivered to CVFPB’s office at 3310 El Camino Avenue, Sacramento, California 95821.

What is CEQA compliance? Top

Each permit application is required to be incompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in accordance with Title 23, CCR Section 191 Incorporation of California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines. All encroachment permit applications must include a 3615a form and a copy of all CEQA documents that have been submitted to the State Clearinghouse or the County Recorder’s Office of the county where the project is located.

For additional information on submitting CEQA documents refer to:

The CEQA Technical Advisory
The State Clearinghouse Handbook 2009

Additional publications on CEQA requirements are available on the website of the Office of Planning and Research at: http://www.opr.ca.gov/index.php?a=planning/publications.html

If you are unsure which CEQA documents are required for your encroachment permit application, please contact the Environmental Services Section at (916) 574-0609

Are there other agencies that I should contact before I submit my encroachment permit application? Top

Yes, when applicable you will need to have the local maintaining agency (LMA) review and endorse your project by signing item five (5) on the 3615 form (CCR Title 23, Section 7). Applicable LMA’s have the responsibility to maintain the project levees and/or channel in the vicinity of the proposed project. LMA’s can be reclamation districts, levee districts, state maintenance areas, a county, or a city. The links below will help you determine if there is a LMA in the vicinity of your proposed project. Please contact Board staff if you are still unable to determine if your proposed project is inside the jurisdictional boundaries of a LMA.

Central Valley Flood Protection and Levee Districts
Flood Control Agencies
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

You should also contact the Regulatory Branch of the USACE to inquire about the need for a 404 permit. Work done within or near a stream channel may also require a Streambed Alteration Agreement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Where do I send my two (2) copies of the encroachment permit application package? Top

Two hard copies of a complete application, to include electronic copies, may be mailed or delivered in person to:

Central Valley Flood Protection Board
Attention: Permitting Section
3310 El Camino Avenue, Suite 170
Sacramento, California 95821

How much does an encroachment permit cost? Top

Currently there is no fee charged for the encroachment permitting process.

How long does it take to get an encroachment permit? Top

It is recommended that you allow six to nine months to receive your encroachment permit from the CVFPB. If an application package is complete when submitted, and includes all CEQA documentation, the time required to issue an encroachment permit could be less.

Does my encroachment permit application get forwarded to other permitting agencies? Top

No, it is the applicant’s responsibility to contact all the other federal, state, and local agencies that may have jurisdiction to inquire about the need for additional permits. Encroachment permit application submittals to the CVFPB are only forwarded to the Levees and Channels Branch (408 Section) of the USACE. At a minimum, it is recommended that you contact the Corps Regulatory Branch, as the Corps’ review of the submitted application includes a review by this branch. The Corps review culminates with an approval or denial letter that is sent to CVFPB staff. The Corps’ approval letter is required prior to the issuance of the encroachment permit.

Will my encroachment permit have special conditions or restrictions to my proposed project? Top

Yes, most approved projects will have special conditions included in the issued encroachment permit and must be followed by the applicant. If any conditions of the permit are not complied with, the encroachment permit may be revoked on 15 days’ notice.

What happens if I begin work without an encroachment permit? Top

The Central Valley Flood Protection Board has an active inspection/enforcement program to identify unauthorized projects. Violators will be issued a citation or a cease and desist order, and be directed to remove the unauthorized work. Civil penalties can be assessed, and serious violations are referred to the California Attorney General.

What can I do if my encroachment permit is denied by CVFPB? Top

The applicant may petition the Board for reconsideration no later than 30-days after adoption by the Board of a decision or order (CCRTitle 23, Section 23, Section 30).

Do I need a permit to do maintenance on a previously permitted encroachment? Top

No, permits are not required for maintenance activities on encroachments that have been permitted as defined in CCR Title 23, Article 2, Section 4. Maintenance activities means any work required to retain or maintain the intended functions of flood control facilities and of existing encroachments. Maintenance activities include, but are not limited to, mowing, tree and brush trimming and removal, revetment restoration, rodent control, spraying, painting, coating, patching, burning, and similar works, and does not include any significant excavation or any excavation during flood season. Maintenance activities of public agencies to maintain the designated level of function of flood control facilities within their jurisdiction are authorized and defined by Water Code sections 8361, 8370 and 12642. It is strongly recommended that you check with us first before performing maintenance. If it is determined that the proposed work can be considered maintenance a concurrence letter will be sent to the requester, California Department of Water Resources Inspection Section (DWR), and the local maintaining agency (LMA). DWR and/or the LMA may ask you to stop work if you do not have a maintenance concurrence letter from us.

What if a project is very minor, do I still need a permit? Top

The Executive Officer may waive the requirement for a permit for minor alterations within an Adopted Plan of Flood Control that would not be injurious to the Adopted Plan of Flood Control (CCR Title 23, Article 3, Section 6). Please contact CVFPB staff at (916) 574-0609 for more information.