Menu
Contact Us Search

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

How CEQA applies to CDFW programs and jurisdictions

Any public agency (state or local) may be a CEQA lead agency or have CEQA obligations. The best resources for general CEQA information, regardless of lead agency, are the Office of Planning and Research, the Natural Resources Agency and your local county planner's office.

CEQA applies to all discretionary projects proposed to be conducted or approved by a California public agency, including private projects requiring discretionary government approval. CEQA helps to guide CDFW during issuance of permits and approval of projects.

The purpose of CEQA is to:

  • Disclose to the public the significant environmental effects of a proposed discretionary project, through the preparation of an Initial Study (IS), Negative Declaration (ND), or Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
  • Prevent or minimize damage to the environment through development of project alternatives, mitigation measures, and mitigation monitoring.
  • Disclose to the public the agency decision-making process utilized to approve discretionary projects through findings and statements of overriding consideration.
  • Enhance public participation in the environmental review process through scoping meetings, public notice, public review, hearings, and the judicial process.
  • Improve interagency coordination through early consultations, scoping meetings, notices of preparation, and State Clearinghouse review.

CDFW’s CEQA review and compliance generally occurs at the regional office that serves the county where the project would take place. When a project spans multiple Regions, or would have statewide impacts, the Habitat Conservation Planning Branch (HCPB) in Sacramento coordinates CDFW’s CEQA review and compliance. HCPB also administers the CEQA filing fee program. Other branches of CDFW may be responsible for CEQA review and compliance when a project implements or substantially affects a Branch program.

CDFW imposes and collects a filing fee to defray the costs of managing and protecting California’s vast fish and wildlife resources, including, but not limited to consulting with other public agencies, reviewing environmental documents, recommending mitigation measures, and developing monitoring programs (Fish & G. Code, § 711.4). The filing fee will be waived, however, if CDFW determines the project will have no effect on fish and wildlife and issues a “No Effect Determination.”


Contact CDFW's CEQA Program: CEQA@wildlife.ca.gov

NOTE: CDFW staff cannot make decisions or intercede on CEQA projects under the jurisdiction of another lead agency. Please address project-specific comments to the project's lead agency.



Habitat Conservation Planning Branch
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-4875


NEW! County Clerks please download the 2017 Environmental Filing Fee Cash Receipt (PDF)

Effective January 1, 2015, CDFW no longer prints and distributes numbered books of Environmental Filing Fee Cash Receipts to counties. The books have been replaced by this electronic version.