Environmental and CEQA Considerations
The issuance of a Board encroachment permit requires review for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). No proposed project or work will be approved until the requirements of CEQA have been met. Board environmental staff conducts environmental and CEQA compliance reviews over submitted encroachment permit applications in accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Waters, Division 1, Article 3, Section 8, Applications, and Section 10, Environmental Review. If a project is also within United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jurisdiction, permit applications will be transmitted to USACE for a Section 408 review. A Section 408 review includes an engineering, environmental, real estate, and legal review to ensure a proposed alteration does not impair the usefulness of the federal project and is not injurious to the public interest. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that every Federal agency consider the effects of Federal actions on the quality of the human environment, and to consider alternatives to those actions. USACE Section 408 program staff will review each individual Section 408 permission request to determine NEPA compliance needs.
Board encroachment permit applications (submitted on 3615 and 3615a application forms) are required to include a copy of all CEQA documents prepared or being prepared for a project. These CEQA documents include:
- A copy of the proposed project’s environmental documents prepared by the Lead Agency, e.g., a Notice of Exemption (NOE), or the Initial Study, Negative Declaration, Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/ND/MND), or the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
- A copy of the Mitigation Monitoring Reporting Program or Plan (MMRP) prepared and adopted by the Lead Agency.
- A copy of the “Findings” made by the Lead Agency relative to the potential environmental impacts of the project as approved by the Lead Agency.
- A copy of the Statement of Overriding Considerations made by the Lead Agency if one was necessary.
- A copy of the Notice of Determination (NOD) that has been signed and filed with Office of Planning and Research’s State Clearinghouse (SCH).
The 3615a – Environmental Assessment Questionnaire should be completely filled out. If a question cannot be answered, please explain why. Incomplete answers may result in delays in processing of permit applications. Failure to complete the questionnaire may result in rejection of the application. All CEQA documentation should be submitted with the application as an attachment.
Please indicate if a CEQA document has been prepared, who is the CEQA Lead Agency, and provide the SCH Number assigned when the CEQA document, Notice of Determination or Notice of Exemption was filed. If a CEQA document has not been prepared, it is helpful to know what steps are being taken to comply with CEQA, what level CEQA document is currently being prepared, and when it is expected to be approved by the CEQA Lead Agency.
Please list and submit copies of all permits or approvals necessary for this project or use. Typical permits or approvals are:
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Streambed Alteration Agreement or Incidental Take Permit
- Regional Water Quality Control Board – 401 Water Quality Certification
- United States Army Corps of Engineers – Section 404 or Section 10 Permits
- State Lands Commission – Use of State Lands (Lease or Permit)
- Local Agency Grading Permits
- Local Agency Conditional Use and/or Use Permits
For information on preparing CEQA documents, please refer to:
Additional publications on CEQA requirements are available on the website of the Office of Planning and Research:
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (USACE) REVIEW
The USACE review will be carried out pursuant to Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (RHA) (codified in Title 33 United States Code Section 408) regarding the authority to make alterations to, or to temporarily or permanently occupy or use, any USACE federally authorized civil works project.
A decision on a USACE Section 408 request is a federal action subject to NEPA and other federal environmental and cultural resources compliance requirements such as Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), essential fish habitat consultation, and tribal consultation. While the USACE is responsible for ensuring that the environmental compliance for a Section 408 request is complete, the applicant is responsible for providing all supporting information and documentation that the USACE identifies as necessary to assess compliance.
If USACE determines that a Section 7 consultation with United States Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service is necessary, a biological assessment (BA) may be required. If USACE determines that a Section 106 consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer is needed, a cultural resources report may be required. Board environmental staff may coordinate USACE’s requests for these studies and reports with applicants. If another Federal agency is involved in the proposed project in any way (e.g., funding, permitting), the USACE may designate that agency as lead Federal agency to conduct any applicable environmental consultations on USACE’s behalf. Early coordination is recommended whenever a Federal agency besides USACE is involved in a project.
In addition, your application will be forwarded to USACE Regulatory Program which administers and enforces Section 10 of the RHA (codified in Title 33 United States Code Section 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (codified in Title 33 United States Code Section 1344). Under RHA Section 10, a permit is required for work or structures in, over or under navigable waters of the United States. Under CWA Section 404, a permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Many waterbodies and wetlands in the nation are waters of the United States and are subject to the USACE’s regulatory authority. If your project is subject to to USACE’s regulatory authority, please submit an application or pre-construction notification to the USACE Regulatory Branch.
For more information on Section 404 or Section 10 permits, please contact the USACE Regulatory Branch at:
Sacramento District HQ Office
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 557-5250
Fax: (916) 557-7803