Report 2018-119 Recommendation 2 Responses
Report 2018-119: California Department of Fish and Wildlife: It Is Not Fulfilling Its Responsibilities Under the California Environmental Quality Act (Release Date: June 2019)
Recommendation #2 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of
To ensure that it consistently prioritizes and reviews projects with potentially significant impacts on the environment, the department should develop policies and procedures outlining departmentwide expectations for CEQA review and comment by December 2019 and require regional offices to develop region-specific policies and procedures for CEQA review by March 2020.
6-Month Agency Response
The Department has established an internal policy and procedures outlining departmentwide expectations for staff participation in lead agency environmental review efforts conducted by other state and local agencies under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These expectations apply to the review of CEQA documents prioritized for review in accordance with the Department Policy for Prioritizing CEQA Documents for Review and Comment - December 2019. Additionally, the Department will be holding two training opportunities to review the policy and answer questions from staff. (Documents submitted to Auditor)
- Completion Date: December 2019
- Response Date: December 2019
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented
The Department provided its new department-wide policy. Although the Department did not require the regional offices to adopt region-specific procedures, it requires the regional offices to follow the department-wide procedures until the regional office develops supplemental policies and obtains approval from the Department. In our judgement, this is sufficient to address our recommendation.
60-Day Agency Response
The Department has begun drafting a Departmentwide Policy for prioritizing CEQA document review and comment and the procedures that outline the Departmentwide expectations for CEQA review and comment. Once finalized, the Department intends to begin development of region-specific policies and procedures, as appropriate. The Department has not yet determined whether the new policies and procedures, once final in substance, will need to be promulgated as regulations consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. Additionally, the Department has begun an evaluation of the current CEQA training opportunities with the intent of formalizing a standard approach to initial and ongoing CEQA training for Department personnel.
- Estimated Completion Date: December 2019/March 2020
- Response Date: August 2019
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.