California law (Fish and Game Code section 1602) requires an entity to notify CDFW prior to commencing any activity that may:
- 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 or dispose of debris, waste, or other materials containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream, or lake.
The notification requirement applies to any river, stream, or lake, including those that are dry for periods of time (ephemeral/episodic) as well as those that flow year round (perennial). This includes ephemeral streams, desert washes, and watercourses with a subsurface flow. It may also apply to work undertaken within the flood plain of a water body. If you are not certain that your proposed activity requires notification, CDFW recommends that you notify or consult with the CDFW regional office (PDF) serving your project area.
Submit a complete notification form and fee to the CDFW regional office (PDF) that serves the county where the activity will occur. The LSA notification form, instructions, and fee schedule are available online and at CDFW regional offices.
When you notify CDFW of your project, you will be asked to indicate what type of LSA Agreement you are requesting. Agreement types are based on project-specific activities.
Yes. CDFW must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000, et seq.) before it may issue a final Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement. Issuance of a final Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement occurs after CDFW receives a draft Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement from the applicant and CDFW signs it. In many instances, CDFW will receive a signed draft Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement from an applicant before the lead agency has fully complied with CEQA. In those instances, CDFW must wait for the lead agency to fully comply with CEQA before it may sign the draft Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement, thereby making it final.
Under CEQA, the "lead agency" is the local or state governmental agency that has the principal responsibility for carrying out or approving the activity. All other local or state agencies with discretionary approval authority are “responsible agencies.”
The lead agency must determine first whether the activity is exempt from CEQA. If the activity is not exempt, the lead agency must prepare an environmental document, which will be a negative declaration, a mitigated negative declaration, or an environmental impact report. A lead agency is entitled to recover all of its CEQA-related costs from the applicant. If CDFW acts as the lead agency for the activity your draft agreement covers, it will instruct you to submit an initial deposit to cover its initial CEQA-related costs. The deposit and any further CEQA-related costs will be in addition to your notification fee.
If CDFW is a responsible agency, you must submit with your notification package a copy of any document prepared by the lead agency pursuant to CEQA, if one already has been prepared. You must also identify in your notification package the lead agency. Also, Fish and Game Code section 711.4 requires the lead agency to collect a fee on behalf of CDFW whenever the lead agency prepares an environmental document, unless the activity is exempt from the fee. Current CEQA fees are found in Fish and Game Code Section 711.4, available at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.
(Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15000 et seq.) that implement CEQA, and CEQA handbooks and guides. CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines are available at: CEQA Guidelines
An LSA Agreement is a type of permit that includes measures necessary to protect existing fish and wildlife resources.
CDFW requires an LSA Agreement when it determines that the activity, as described in a complete LSA Notification, may substantially adversely affect existing fish or wildlife resources.
The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) prohibits the take of any species of wildlife designated as endangered, threatened, or candidate species. CDFW may authorize take of any such species if certain conditions are met.
A Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement does not provide CESA take authorization. If your project may result in take of a state listed species, a separate CESA permit may be required. If a species is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, you will need to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A project/work is considered an emergency if:
- The work is necessary to protect life or property;
- Immediate repairs to public service facilities are necessary to maintain service as a result of a disaster in an area in which the Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency; or
- The project is undertaken, carried out, or approved by a state or local governmental agency to maintain, repair, or restore an existing highway, within the existing right-of-way of the highway, that has been damaged as a result of fire, flood, storm, earthquake, land subsidence, gradual earth movement, or landslide, within one year of the damage.
You must notify CDFW (PDF) in writing within 14 days of beginning emergency project/work.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) applies to all discretionary projects to be conducted or approved by a California public agency, including LSA Agreements. Before issuing an LSA Agreement, CDFW must comply with CEQA.
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.”