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Cannabis Cultivation and the Lake and Streambed Alteration Program

Cannabis cultivation site
Lake scene

New! Online Notification Now Available for Cannabis Cultivation Projects

New! Effective January 2, 2018, cannabis cultivators may apply for a General Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation (General Agreement). The General Agreement applies only to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of Stream Crossings, in the form of a bridge, culvert, or rock ford, and Water Diversions on non-finfish rivers, streams, and lakes that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation.

Learn More About the General Agreement

Read the link opens in new windowGeneral Agreement (PDF)

Annual licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by link opens in new windowCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) beginning January 2018 will require the applicant to demonstrate compliance with Fish and Game Code section 1602. Compliance must be demonstrated with a Lake or Streambed (LSA) Agreement or written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required.

Temporary licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by CDFA will not require an applicant to demonstrate compliance with Fish and Game Code section 1602. However, Fish and Game Code section 1602 still requires an entity to notify CDFW if their activity will:

  • Substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of any river, stream or lake;
  • Substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel or bank of any river, stream, or lake; or
  • Deposit debris, waste or other materials that could pass into any river, stream or lake.

Please note that "any river, stream, or lake" includes those that are dry for periods of time as well as those that flow year round.

Learn more about CDFW’s Cannabis Program.


How Do I Demonstrate Compliance With Fish And Game Code Section 1602?

Begin the Notification process.

  • Notifications requesting a General Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation (General Agreementmust use the online submittal process.
  • Notifications for cannabis cultivation projects requesting a Standard Agreement (term of five years or less) may use the online or paper submittal process.
  • Notifications for cannabis cultivation projects requesting Agreements with a term of greater than five years must use the paper submittal process.

Based on your project, you will receive either:

  • An LSA Agreement issued in the form of a Standard LSA Agreement or a General Agreement for Cannabis Cultivation.
  • Written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required issued in the form of a letter when 

(a) CDFW determines a LSA Notification and/or LSA Agreement is not required pursuant to Fish and Game Code section1602, or 

(b) CDFW has not issued a draft standard agreement within 60 days from the date the LSA Notification is deemed complete.

Do I Have To Notify CDFW Of My Cannabis Cultivation Project?

Annual licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by link opens in new windowCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) beginning January 2018 require the applicant to demonstrate compliance with Fish and Game Code section 1602. Compliance must be demonstrated with a Lake or Streambed (LSA) Agreement or written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required.

Temporary licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by CDFA will not require an applicant to demonstrate compliance with Fish and Game Code section 1602. However, Fish and Game Code section 1602 still requires an entity to notify CDFW if their activity will:

  • Substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of any river, stream or lake;
  • Substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel or bank of any river, stream, or lake; or
  • Deposit debris, waste or other materials that could pass into any river, stream or lake.

Please note that "any river, stream, or lake" includes those that are dry for periods of time as well as those that flow year round.

If you believe your project will not substantially divert or obstruct he natural flow of, or substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of any river, stream, or lake, or deposit or dispose of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream or lake, you may use Cannabis Cultivation Self-Certification (currently available through online notification only).

What is Cannabis Cultivation Self-Certification?

Cannabis Cultivation Self-Certification is available for cannabis projects only. There is no fee for submitting the Cannabis Cultivation Self-Certification.

When you begin the online notification process, you will be asked questions about your project to determine whether your project does or will result in any of the following:

  • Diversion or obstruction of water from any river, stream, or lake; or use water from a source other than a municipal/public water supply
  • Disturbance to land or vegetation in, or adjacent to, any river, stream, or lake, including those that are periodically dry
  • Deposition of any material in, or adjacent to, any river, stream, or lake, including those that are periodically dry

You will also be asked to describe your project in detail, including the project location, and provide photographs of the project location and immediate surroundings, as well as diagrams, drawings, plans, and maps.

You may self-certify that implementation of your project, as described, will not 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, or deposit or dispose of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream, or lake.

CDFW will review your self-certification. Based upon your responses, you will either:

  • Receive written verification from CDFW that a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement is not required for the activities described in your self-certification.
  • OR
  • CDFW may advise that you provide a complete Notification, including the notification fee.

Do I Need An LSA Agreement?

An LSA Agreement is required when CDFW determines that the activity, as described in a complete LSA Notification:

  1. Will substantially alter a river, stream, or lake, and 
  2. May substantially adversely affect existing fish or wildlife resources, as specified in section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code. 

An LSA Agreement identifies covered activities and measures necessary to protect fish and wildlife resources, which may limit the work period.

For Cannabis Cultivation Projects:

  • An LSA Agreement may be issued in the form of a Standard LSA Agreement or a General Agreement for Cannabis Cultivation.
  • Written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required may be issued in the form of a letter when 

(a) CDFW determines a LSA Notification and/or LSA Agreement is not required pursuant to Fish and Game Code section1602, or 

(b) CDFW has not issued a draft standard agreement within 60 days from the date the LSA Notification is deemed complete.

To obtain an LSA Agreement or written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required, begin the

Notification Process

Am I Eligible For A General Agreement For Cannabis Cultivation?

Cannabis cultivators may apply for a General Lake or Streamed Alteration Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation, referred to as a General Agreement. The General Agreement applies only to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of Stream Crossings, in the form of a bridge, culvert, or rock ford, and Water Diversions on non-finfish rivers, streams, and lakes that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation. The General Agreement is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

If you are considering applying for a General Agreement, please review the terms of the General Agreement prior to submitting a Lake and Streamed Alteration Notification.

What If I Already Have An LSA Agreement?

Be sure your LSA Agreement is not expired and that it covers all of your activities subject to Fish and Game Code section 1602. If all activities are not included in the LSA Agreement, you will need to submit a new LSA Notification to receive an LSA Agreement for the additional activities. If the LSA Agreement has expired before the work has been completed, you will need to submit a new notification to obtain a new LSA Agreement.

What If There Is A Threatened Or Endangered Species On My Property?

The California Endangered Species Act (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.

If cannabis cultivation activities may result in the take of a state listed species, a separate California Endangered Species Act permit may be required. Please note if a species is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, you will need to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Is Compliance With The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Required?

Yes. Before CDFW can issue an LSA Agreement, with the exception of a General Agreement, it must comply with CEQA. CEQA requires public agencies to disclose and mitigate environmental impacts of discretionary projects they approve, including an LSA Agreement.


For project and site specific LSA questions, contact the CDFW Region where the project is located.

Email the LSA Program Sacramento



Habitat Conservation Planning Branch
1700 9th Street, 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95811
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 653-4875