Protecting Species & Habitats Through CEQA
Friday, May 19, 2017
10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. CDT
San Francisco, CA, United States
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To effectively protect species and their habitats (biological resources) through CEQA, impact analyses must be couched within the law’s framework, and action prompting triggers to protect the environment must be clearly identified. California biologists can analyze a project’s potential adverse impacts on biological resources in impressive technical detail. Unfortunately, biologists are often astonished when CEQA Lead Agencies seem to “ignore” their comments. Likewise, Lead or Public Agencies are frequently flabbergasted when their environmental document falls short or their exemption determination is challenged. CEQA practitioners know that CEQA is a complex law with specific, albeit perplexing, triggers that prompt public agency action to protect the environment. However, practitioners may not possess the technical knowledge to analyze project impacts on biological resources. Compounding the complexity for biologists and practitioners is the relationship between CEQA and other laws. The interplay often leads to false parallels and uncertainty.This presentation will merge the perspectives of biologists and CEQA practitioners for more effective impact analyses, and ultimately, better resource protection. Topics will include the CEQA mandate to protect the environment (and how it applies to biological resources and relates to other laws), the CEQA framework (the intersection between the project and its environmental setting, and impacts), the types of impacts CEQA cares about and how to focus analyses (Appendix G checklist nuances and more), determining significance (action prompting triggers), substantial evidence, mitigation tips, and the “unusual circumstances” exception to categorical exemptions following recent case law.
Lynne Bynder, firstname.lastname@example.org