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Lake and Streambed Alteration Program

pebbles in streambed

When is Notification of Lake or Streambed Alteration (LSA) required?

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 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 episodic (they are dry for periods of time) as well as those that are perennial (they flow year round). 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 body of water.

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 cannabis cultivation and the LSA Program

Annual licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by California 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 an LSA Agreement or written verification that an LSA Agreement is not required. Temporary licenses for cannabis cultivation issued by CDFA do not require 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 alter a river, stream, or lake as specified above.

example of episodic streambedexample of perennial stream

When is an LSA Agreement Required?

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. An LSA Agreement includes measures necessary to protect existing fish and wildlife resources. CDFW may suggest ways to modify your project that would eliminate or reduce harmful impacts to fish and wildlife resources. Before issuing an LSA Agreement, CDFW must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

development near streamCulvert under road over ephemeral stream

How do I Notify CDFW?

The LSA notification process and instructions, and fee schedule are located on the LSA Notification page. You can also obtain notification materials from the appropriate CDFW regional office.

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