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California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Permits

Giant Garter Snake

State and Federally Threatened Giant Garter Snake (Thamnophis gigas)

large-flowered fiddleneck plant

State and Federally Endangered Large-Flowered Fiddleneck (Amsinckia grandiflora)

California tiger salamander adult

State and Federally Threatened California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

Tricolored black bird

State Candidate Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor)

Swainson's Hawk

State Threatened Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)

Blennosperma nanum

State Rare Point Reyes Blennosperma (Blennosperma nanum var. robustum)


The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) states that all native species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants, and their habitats, threatened with extinction and those experiencing a significant decline which, if not halted, would lead to a threatened or endangered designation, will be protected or preserved. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will work with all interested persons, agencies and organizations to protect and preserve such sensitive resources and their habitats.

CESA prohibits the take of any species of wildlife designated by the California Fish and Game Commission as endangered, threatened, or candidate species. CDFW may authorize the take of any such species if certain conditions are met.

Types of Permits

Incidental Take Permits (ITP) - 2081 (b)

Section 2081 subdivision (b) of the Fish and Game Code allows CDFW to authorize take of species listed as endangered, threatened, candidate, or a rare plant, if that take is incidental to otherwise lawful activities and if certain conditions are met. These authorizations are commonly referred to as incidental take permits (ITPs).

Consistency Determination (CD) - 2080.1

If a species is listed by both the federal Endangered Species Act and CESA, Fish and Game Code section 2080.1 allows an applicant who has obtained a federal incidental take statement (federal Section 7 consultation) or a federal incidental take permit (federal Section 10(a)(1)(B)) to request that the Director of CDFW find the federal documents consistent with CESA. If the federal documents are found to be consistent with CESA, a consistency determination (CD) is issued and no further authorization or approval is necessary under CESA.

Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) - 2089.2-2089.26

A Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) authorizes incidental take of a species listed as endangered, threatened, candidate, or a rare plant, if implementation of the agreement is reasonably expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the species, among other provisions. SHAs are intended to encourage landowners to voluntarily manage their lands to benefit CESA-listed species. California SHAs are analogous to the federal safe harbor agreement program and CDFW has the authority to issue a consistency determination based on a federal safe harbor agreement.


Other Related Permits

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – 2081 (a)

MOUs authorize individuals, public agencies, universities, zoological gardens, and scientific or educational institutions to import, export, take, or possess endangered, threatened, or candidate species for scientific, educational, or management purposes.

Voucher Collection Permits for Threatened and Endangered Plant Species

Voucher collection permits are required to collect rare, threatened, and endangered plant species for identification purposes during field surveys, or to collect voucher specimens to document a newly-discovered or previously unvouchered occurrence of a listed plant.

Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP)

An NCCP identifies and provides for the regional protection of plants, animals, including CESA listed species, and their habitats, while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity.

Lake or Streambed Alteration (LSA) Agreement

Fish and Game Code section 1602 requires any entity to notify CDFW before beginning any activity that may substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of, or substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of any river, stream, or lake. If CDFW determines that the activity may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources, a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement will be prepared.

Scientific Collection Permit (SCP)

SCPs are required to take, collect, capture, mark, or salvage, non-CESA listed species for scientific, educational, and non-commercial propagation purposes.



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