Title: Determining significance within CEQA: a new UC program to assist planners in conserving oak woodlands
Author: Giusti, Gregory A.; McCreary, Douglas D.;
Source: In: Merenlender, Adina; McCreary, Douglas; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. eds. 2008. Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today's challenges, tomorrow's opportunities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-217. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: pp. 185-194
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: In 2004, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1334 (Bill), titled Oak Woodlands Conservation: Environmental Quality. This Bill states, “A county…shall determine whether a project within its jurisdiction may result in a conversion of oak woodlands that will have a significant effect on the environment”. Once a determination has been made, counties have the option to 1) evaluate the utility of conservation easements as a vehicle for conservation; 2) enforce mitigation planting; 3) make a in-lieu contribution to the Oak Woodlands Conservation Fund (established in 2001 under the administration of the Wildlife Conservation Board), or implement other mitigation actions as outlined by the county. This Bill initiates a new attitude for the state that requires all counties to consider significant impacts as defined in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for all non-agricultural projects affecting oaks. Faced with implementing this Bill, counties began asking the University of California (UC), the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) and the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) questions, including what types of projects fell under the purview of the Bill, what constituted “significant impacts,” and how to determine suitable, appropriate mitigation. To help answer these questions, the UC Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program (IHRMP) initiated a grant proposal to the WCB that was funded in early 2006. The grant proposed activities and products to specifically assist planners who are charged with implementing SB 1334 at a local level. In response to the county questions, the agencies receiving inquiries about SB 1334 formed a committee to develop and disseminate information, including compliance guidelines and effective strategies to conserve oak woodlands. Specifically this committee charged itself with developing a strategy and tools that planners could use to analyze proposed project effects on oak woodlands. This new initiative includes both static and interactive Web-based decision keys, PowerPoint presentations, and visual comparison standards for assessing oak woodland impacts. Although these efforts are ongoing, the products will be important tools to help counties comply with SB 1334 and conserve their important oak woodlands.
Keywords: CEQA, Planning, Matrix
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Giusti, Gregory A.; McCreary, Douglas D. 2008. Determining significance within CEQA: a new UC program to assist planners in conserving oak woodlands. In: Merenlender, Adina; McCreary, Douglas; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. eds. 2008. Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today's challenges, tomorrow's opportunities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-217. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: pp. 185-194
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