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General Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement for Activities Related to Cannabis Cultivation

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Cannabis cultivators may apply for a General Lake or Streambed 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 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not apply to the General Agreement because it is a link opens in new windowministerial permit. Upon receipt of the notificaiton, certificaitons, and applicable fee(s), CDFW shall authorize the Covered Activity or Activities described in the Notification.

Before you apply, CDFW recommends you:


Prior to Applying

Definitions

The following definitions apply to the General Agreement:

Authorized Activity
a Covered Activity an Entity is authorized to conduct under this General Agreement after notice by CDFW
Biological Resources Assessment
a survey and biological resource report of the Project Site by a Biologist. In preparing a Biological Resources Assessment, the Biologist shall do the following:
Identify the presence or potential presence of any Species of Greatest Conservation Need and finfish and their habitat, and invasive species, relying on:
Biologist
a person who meets the following minimum qualifications:
  • possesses a degree in biological or natural resources, or a closely related scientific discipline, from an accredited university;
  • is familiar with Species of Greatest Conservation Need, their home ranges compared to the Project Site, and their local ecology;
  • has experience analyzing project impacts on Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitat; and
  • is familiar with invasive species prevention and eradication
Bladder
a flexible container designed to store water
Cannabis Cultivation
any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis
Covered Activity
the construction, Reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under this General Agreement
Design Plan
a detailed description of the site-specific design for the construction or Reconstruction of a Stream Crossing or reservoir prescribed by a Licensed Professional that includes drawings, sizing methods, component details, and construction notes that give specific directions on the construction methods that will be employed for the work
Entity
“entity” as defined in Section 1601, subdivision (d), of the Fish and Game Code
Finfish
any species of bony fish; finfish do not include mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, or invertebrates
Finfish stream or lake
any stream or lake where finfish are always or seasonally present
Fish
“fish” as defined in Section 45 of the Fish and Game Code
Licensed Professional

a person licensed under the:

  • Professional Engineer Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 6700-6799),
  • Geologist and Geophysicist Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 7800-7887),
  • Professional Land Surveyors’ Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 8700-8805),
  • Professional Foresters Law (Pub. Resources Code, §§ 750-783), or
  • a licensed professional hydrologist.
Listed or Fully Protected Species
  • any native plant species listed as rare under the Native Plant Protection Act (Fish & G. Code, § 1900 et seq.; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 670.2);
  • any species that is listed or is a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (Fish & G. Code, § 2080 et seq.; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §§ 670.2, 670.5); or
  • any fully protected species (Fish & G. Code, §§ 3511, 4700, 5050, 5515)
Permittee
an Entity who has obtained authorization from the department to conduct a Covered Activity under this General Agreement
Project Site
the location of the Covered Activity and the surrounding area
Property
the property on which the Project Site is located as identified by an Assessor’s Parcel Number
Property Diagram
a diagram to scale of the Property that identifies the following with locations also provided as coordinates in either latitude and longitude or the California Coordinate System:
  • the location and size of all existing stream crossings, water diversions, water diversion infrastructure, and water storage facilities of any type on the Property
  • the location of the Project Site on the Property
  • each river, stream, lake, and other waters on the Property, including springs
  • sources of water used on the Property and the location of all points of diversion, including pumps and wells
  • water distribution systems
  • the Assessor’s Parcel Number for the Property
Reconstruction
the major repair or complete replacement of an existing Stream Crossing or Water Diversion where any new structure:
  • will be located on the same site as the structure replaced or repaired and will have substantially the same purpose as the structure replaced or repaired
  • will minimize or avoid direct and indirect adverse impacts on fish and wildlife resources compared to the existing structure
River
includes stream
Species of Greatest Conservation Need
“Species of Greatest Conservation Need” that are listed in Appendix C of the California State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 Update, Volume II, or meet the definition of “endangered” or “rare” in Section 15380.
Stream
any stream or river, including streams or rivers that are dry for periods of time.Stream Crossing means a bridge, culvert, or rock ford in or over a stream or river, and all fill material within the crossing prism
Take
“take” as defined in Section 86 of the Fish and Game Code
Water Diversion
the act of diverting surface flow or hydrologically connected subsurface flow for use or storage. “Water diversion” includes all infrastructure used to divert (e.g., rock dams, excavation pools in fast-moving water, and wells) or store such flow
Water Storage Facility
an artificial water storage facility comprised of a bladder, reservoir, or storage tank
Waters of the State
“state waters” as defined in Section 89.1 of the Fish and Game Code

Eligibility

The General Agreement only applies to specific project types and activities that meet the eligibility requirements. If your project is not eligible for the General Agreement, you may apply for a Standard Agreement.

  • Each activity for which you are notifying CDFW is a Covered Activity. Covered Activity is defined as the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under the General Agreement. 
  • Each Covered Activity is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation.
  • Each Covered Activity included in your notification meets the applicable Design Criteria (see below for specific design criteria).
  • The Covered Activity will not occur on or in a stream or lake where finfish are always or seasonally present.
  • The Covered Activity will not result in take of a Listed or Fully Protected Species.
  • The Covered Activity is not the subject of a complaint or order by CDFW under link opens in new windowsection 12025 of the Fish and Game Code, a complaint filed by a city attorney, District Attorney, the Attorney General, or an order by a court.
  • If you are seeking authorization under a General Agreement is in response to a notice of violation by CDFW, the authorization will address each violation alleged in the notice.
  • You will meet all applicable Administrative Measures, General and Specific Measures to Protect Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Reporting Requirements.

Design Criteria

To be eligible for a General Agreement, each Covered Activity included in your notification must meet the applicable Design Criteria. Covered Activity is defined as the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair of a Stream Crossing or Water Diversion that is used or will be used for the purpose of Cannabis Cultivation for which the Entity is seeking authorization under the General Agreement.

Bridge

  • Comprised of a single span structure across a stream with all abutments located outside the top of the stream banks.
  • Minimally conveys a 100-year peak storm flow with one foot of freeboard. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream.
  • The tops of any abutment footings are below the calculated scour depth.

Culvert

  • Comprised of a single pipe.
  • Sized to minimally convey a 100-year peak storm flow or designed to withstand a 100-year peak storm flow.
  • Aligned within the channel and otherwise engineered, installed, and maintained to prevent washout and erosion of the streambed, stream banks, and fill.
  • Embedded below the natural channel grade to facilitate substrate deposition on the culvert floor. Where physical conditions preclude embedment (e.g., channels composed of bedrock or large boulders), the maximum slope of the culvert must be 0.5 percent with no hydraulic drop at the outlet.
  • Extended lengthwise completely beyond the toe of fill. 
  • Set to the natural stream grade of the stream reach, if feasible based on the composition of the affected streambed.
  • Inlets, outlets (including the outfall area), and fill faces are armored using rock where stream flow, road runoff, or rainfall is likely to cause erosion. 
  • Open bottom culverts are placed on footings excavated below the calculated scour depth. 
  • Corrugated metal pipe is used in areas of high to very high fire hazard as indicated by CAL FIRE Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream.

Rock ford

  • Located in a stable stream reach with a coarse gravel and cobble streambed. 
  • Oriented perpendicular to flow and designed to maintain the range of surface flows that occur in the stream.
  • Constructed using rock that can withstand streambed and bank erosion by the expected range of flow velocities. 
  • Does not contain concrete or asphalt in any form. 
  • Does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream. 

Water Diversion

  • Water diverted at each place or point of diversion does not exceed an instantaneous diversion rate of 10 gallons per minute and shall bypass a minimum 50 percent of the surface flow past the point of diversion, as estimated based on visually observing surface water flow at least daily.
  • Water Diversion intakes, including intakes for water trucks, are fitted with a commercially available water pump strainer designed for use in aquatic environments that is securely attached to the intake.
  • All infrastructure used to intercept surface flow, such as rock dams, does not prevent, impede, or tend to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and downstream. 
  • Water diverted to storage for cannabis cultivation does not exceed five acre-feet per year and is stored in a Water Storage Facility (“WSF”) that meets the following criteria:
  1. Located off-stream and outside the active 100-year floodplain.
  2. Is not used to store or mix chemicals.
  • If the WSF is a reservoir
    • Artificially constructed, off-stream water body not exceeding five acre-feet of storage, designed by a Licensed Professional. 
    • No hydrologic connectivity to upstream surface waters. 
    • The overflow outlet is designed and located to prevent erosion in case of overtopping.
    • Constructed and operated in a manner that enables wildlife to exit the waterbody.
  • If the WSF is a bladder, the WSF includes a secondary containment structure that will contain 110 percent of water volume in case of bladder failure and will enable wildlife to escape the structure.
  • If the WSF is a tank:
    • Enclosed (i.e., no open top).
    • Made of rigid material, such as metal or high-density polyethylene, designed to hold water.
    • Piping includes backflow prevention devices to minimize backflow and cross contamination, for example, from mixing tanks.

Before You Apply

To apply for the General Agreement, you will need to provide the following information and certify that you are in possession of the Biological Resources Assessment, Property Diagram, and, where applicable, the Design Plan. You will also be asked to certify that the Covered Activity and Entity meet the Eligibility Criteria, relying in part on the Biological Resources Assessment and, where applicable, the Design Plan. Your notification may include more than one Covered Activity.

The following will be required at the time you apply for the General Agreement:

  • Biological Resources Assessment – A survey and biological resource report of the Project Site by a Biologist that identifies the presence or potential presence of any Species of Greatest Conservation Need and finfish and their habitat, and invasive species
  • Property Diagram – A diagram to scale of the Property that identifies the following with locations also provided as coordinates in either latitude and longitude or the California Coordinate System:
    • The location and size of all existing stream crossings, water diversions, water diversion infrastructure, and water storage facilities of any type on the Property
    • The location of the Project Site on the Property
    • Each river, stream, lake, and other waters on the Property, including springs
    • Sources of water used on the Property and the location of all points of diversion, including pumps and wells
    • Water distribution systems
    • The Assessor’s Parcel Number for the Property
  • Design Plan – A Design Plan is a detailed description of the site-specific design for the construction or Reconstruction of a Stream Crossing or reservoir prescribed by a Licensed Professional that includes:
    • Drawings
    • Sizing methods
    • Component details
    • Construction notes that give specific directions on the construction methods that will be employed for the work.

A Design Plan is not required for water diversion without water storage or if the water storage facility is a bladder or tank.

  • Name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and email addresses for the following individuals:
    • The Entity seeking authorization
    • The Entity’s designated representative or contact person, if applicable
    • The Property owner if different from the Entity
    • The Biologist who prepared the Biological Resources Assessment
    • The Licensed Professional who prepared the Design Plan, if a Design Plan is Required
  • Information for the purpose of calculating the total fee, including the cost of each Covered Activity and the fee for each
  • Whether the Covered Activity is the subject of a notice of violation by CDFW; a complaint or order by CDFW under Section 12025 of the Fish and Game Code; a complaint by a city attorney, District Attorney, or the Attorney General; or an order or notice by a court or agency other than CDFW, and information regarding the notice, complaint, or order
  • Location of the Project Site, including the address or description of the location with reference to the nearest city or town; the county; driving directions from a major road or highway; the name of the stream or lake in or near where the Covered Activity will occur; the watercourse or waterbody to which the stream or lake is tributary; the USGS 7.5 Minute Quad Map Name, the Township, Range, Section, ¼ Section, and Meridian; coordinates, such as latitude/longitude and UTM; and the Assessor’s Parcel Number for the Property the Project Site is located on
  • The type of Covered Activity (i.e., bridge, culvert, rock ford, or water diversion)
  • A description of the Covered Activity
  • Information to confirm the Covered Activity meets the Eligibility and Design Criteria and to confirm the Entity is able to and will meet the applicable Administrative Measures, General Measures and Specific Measures to Protect Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Reporting Requirements
  • Information regarding any temporary or annual license the California Department of Food and Agriculture has issued to the Entity, or that the Entity has applied or will apply for, that authorizes or would authorize the Cannabis Cultivation the Covered Activity relates to
  • Whether the Covered Activity would be a new activity or is an existing activity
  • Information regarding the Entity’s Water Diversion

Calculate the Fee

The fee is required at the time you submit your notification to CDFW. The fee for the General Agreement is the amount you would need to pay for a Standard Agreement for a term of five years or less, as specified in link opens in new windowCDFW’s fee schedule (PDF) for Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements in the California Code of Regulations, section 699.5, subdivision (b). The Entity must also pay a remediation fee specified in section 699.5, subdivision (i), if applicable.

General Agreement Fee:

  • $577.25 if the project costs less than $5,000
  • $724.50 if the project costs from $5,000 to less than $10,000
  • $1,446.00 if the project costs from $10,000 to less than $25,000
  • $2,170.50 if the project costs from $25,000 to less than $100,000
  • $3,185.25 if the project costs from $100,000 to less than $200,000
  • $4,320.25 if the project costs from $200,000 to less than $350,000
  • $5,145.75 if the project costs $350,000 or more

Remediation Fee, if applicable:

  • $3,087.50 if the total remediation area is less than or equal to 1,000 square feet
  • $5,145.75 if the total remediation area is greater than 1,000 square feet

Remediation
of existing cannabis cultivation sites is often complex and requires greater CDFW staff time and personnel expenditures. link opens in new windowFish and Game Code section 12029(d) allows  CDFW to enhance fees on any entity subject to section 1602 for cannabis cultivation sites that require remediation. To facilitate the remediation and permitting of cannabis cultivation sites, CDFW adopted regulations that added a remediation fee based on the total remediation area (California Code of Regulations, Title 14 section 699.5).

If the purpose of an agreement, or major amendment to an agreement described herein, whether in part or in whole, is to remediate a marijuana cultivation site, the entity shall submit the applicable fee below, which shall be in addition to the fee for the agreement or major amendment.

Reporting Requirements

The Permittee must submit the reports and documents described below in electronic form to CDFW. The Permittee must make these documents and reports (as well as each applicable survey, plan, and report described in General and Specific Measures to Protect Fish and Wildlife, subsections (i) and (j)) available to all persons conducting the Authorized Activity at the Project Site on behalf of the Permittee, including, but not limited to, contractors, subcontractors, inspectors, and monitors, and shall present these documents to any CDFW or other governmental agency employee upon the employee’s request.

Document/Report Due
Biological Resources Assessment Within 90 days of receiving authorization from CDFW
Property Diagram Within 90 days of receiving authorization from CDFW
Design Plan (if applicable) Within 90 days of receiving authorization from CDFW
Project Completion Report for any Authorized activity that includes construction. The report must include:
Beginning and ending dates of the Authorized Activity
Before and after photographs. Photographs must include the staging area, access area, and stream facing upstream, downstream, and perpendicular.
Within 30 days of completing any Authorized Activity
Water Diversion and Use Reports for each Water Diversion. The Permittee must submit to CDFW a copy of each report the Permittee must submit tot he State Water Resources Control Board (Board), in accordance with section 910-938 of Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations. On the same day the Permittee submits the report to the Board while the Water Diversion is authorized under the General Agreement
California Natural Diversity Database Observations. The Permittee must submit all observations of Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Throughout the term of the General Agreement

Reminders

Other Applicable Laws

You and any person acting on your behalf are responsible for complying with all applicable local, state, and federal laws that apply to each Authorized Activity. This includes other statutes in the Fish and Game Code that might apply to the Authorized Activity, including, but not limited to the following sections:

  • link opens in new window2080 et seq. (species listed as threatened or endangered, or a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act)
  • link opens in new window1908 (rare native plants)
  • link opens in new window3511link opens in new window4700link opens in new window5050, and link opens in new window5515 (fully protected species)
  • link opens in new window3513 (migratory nongame birds)
  • link opens in new window3503 (bird nests and eggs)
  • link opens in new window3503.5 (birds of prey)
  • link opens in new window5650 (water pollution)
  • link opens in new window5652 (refuse disposal into water)
  • link opens in new window5901 (fish passage)
  • link opens in new window5937 (sufficient water for fish)
  • link opens in new window5948 (obstruction of stream)
  • For projects on private timberlands, requirements set forth in the Forest Practice Act (link opens in new windowPub. Resources Code, § 4511 et seq.)

Documentation at Project Site

The Permittee must make the following documents available to all persons conducting the Authorized Activity at the Project Site on behalf of the Permittee, including, but not limited to, contractors, subcontractors, inspectors, and monitors, and shall present these documents to any CDFW or other governmental agency employee upon the employee’s request:

  • CDFW’s authorization under subsection (g) and the information provided by the Entity to CDFW in the notification
  • Any approval by a local, state, or federal agency that relates to the Authorized Activity, including a temporary or annual cannabis cultivation license issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Biological Resources Assessment
  • Any Design Plan
  • Property Diagram
  • Each survey, plan, and report described in the General and Specific Measures to Protect Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Reporting Requirements sections of the General Agreement

Document Submittal

The Permittee must electronically submit to CDFW a copy of the Biological Resource Assessment, Design Plan, and Property Diagram within 90 days of receiving authorization from CDFW under the General Agreement.

Notice to Cease Authorized Activity

The Permittee must cease an Authorized Activity if CDFW notifies the Permittee in writing that the activity is adversely affecting fish and wildlife resources. This includes, but is not limited to, information made available to CDFW that indicates that bypass flows or diversion rates under the General Agreement are not keeping aquatic life downstream in good condition or avoiding take of Listed or Fully Protected Species.

Take

The General Agreement does not authorize take of a Listed or Fully Protected Species, and compliance with the General Agreement does not ensure that take will be avoided in all circumstances. The Permittee remains responsible for complying with all provisions in the Fish and Game Code that pertain to take of Listed and Fully Protected Species, including sections 2080 et seq., 3503, 3503.5, 3511, 3513, 4700, 5050, and 5515.

Access to Project Site

The Permittee must allow CDFW employees access to the Project Site to inspect or monitor any Authorized Activity. Inspection and monitoring will be conducted between the standard business hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) or at other reasonable times as mutually agreed to by CDFW and the Permittee. Prior notice of inspection is not required.

Liability

The Permittee shall be solely liable for any violations of the measures and requirements in the General Agreement that apply to the Authorized Activity, whether committed by the Permittee or any person acting on behalf of the Permittee, including its officers, employees, representatives, agents, or contractors and subcontractors, to complete or conduct the Authorized Activity.

Suspension and Revocation

CDFW may suspend or revoke in its entirety CDFW’s authorization of a Permittee’s Covered Activity if CDFW determines that:

  1. The Permittee or any person acting on behalf of the Permittee, including its officers, employees, representatives, agents, or contractors and subcontractors, is not acting in compliance with the General Agreement. Noncompliance may include, but is not limited to, failure of the Permittee to implement the Authorized Activity as prescribed in the General Agreement, or
  2. The Authorized Activity was not eligible under the General Agreement.

Nothing herein precludes CDFW from pursuing an enforcement action against the Permittee instead of, or in addition to, suspending or revoking CDFW’s authorization of a Permittee’s Covered Activity.

Period of Authorization

Authorization of a Covered Activity under the General Agreement expires five years after the date CDFW authorizes the activity, unless CDFW extends the period of authorization prior to expiration. Upon expiration of CDFW’s authorization, the Permittee shall be responsible for complying with Section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code before continuing the activity.


Application Instructions

Fish and Game Code section 1602 requires any person, state or local governmental agency, or public utility to notify CDFW before beginning any activity that will substantially modify a river, stream, or lake. 

To seek authorization to conduct a Covered Activity under the General Agreement, you must Notify using the Online Submittal process,  

Be sure to read the link opens in new windowOnline Submittal Instructions (PDF) prior to submitting your Notification. If you believe you are eligible and are seeking authorization under the General Agreement, some sections of the Notification are not required to be completed. See notes under each section in the Online Submittal Instructions for details.


For project and site specific LSA questions, contact the link opens in new windowCDFW Region (PDF) 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