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OAKLAND, CA, November 18, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Initially submitted by Stanislaus County Parks and Recreation, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife concurred that a restoration project in Stanislaus County qualifies as a statutorily exempt restoration project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Since enacted on September 23, 2021, only nine projects have been determined to have concurrence. Senate Bill 155 created a statutory CEQA exemption for projects that "conserve, restore, protect, or enhance, and assist in the recovery of California fish and wildlife, and habitat upon which they depend or that restore or provide habitat for California native fish and wildlife".
Tuolumne River Trust, Tuolumne River Conservancy, and Turlock Irrigation District proposed to enhance the Basso/La Grange Reach of the Tuolumne River to assist in the recovery of California native fish and wildlife. The project is designed to primarily benefit Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) via the restoration of in-channel, riparian, and floodplain habitat. The Project includes the restoration of channel morphology from lake-cascade to natural pool-riffle sequences, conducive to the preferred spawning habitat of salmonids. Additionally, the Project will reverse historical geomorphic damage by restoring the abandoned floodplain, expanding wetland habitat, and performing revegetation within riparian and upland systems.
The CEQA Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects (SERP) is a win for the project timeline, as it removes several months and required steps in the process for approval. The new legislation amendment to public resources code is a champion for all projects that are solely restoration-focused. This statutory exemption is for projects that exclusively conserve, restore, protect, or enhance, and assist in the recovery of California native fish and wildlife. Ari Frink, FlowWest's Environmental Compliance Specialist, stated of this exemption: "Going forward, this exemption could save anywhere - from 1-1.5 years to 3-6 months of time getting permitting – which is a really substantial benefit for speeding up restoration work."
FlowWest's capabilities span the full suite of natural resources management and ecosystem restoration services targeting the intersection of people, infrastructure, and the environment. Their passion, innovative use of technology, creativity, and commitment to building a diverse and inclusive team drive their ability to deliver unique and highly effective solutions. FlowWest has pioneered the adaptation and implementation of the best data integration, advanced analytics, and visualization tools to natural resources and ecosystem management. They blend environmental expertise and open-source data products and services for our clients that are unique in the industry. Learn more about their projects and get in touch at https://www.flowwest.com/contact/).
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