2018-119 Audit Scope and Objectives

California Department of Fish and Wildlife—California Environmental Quality Act Process

The audit by the California State Auditor will provide independently developed and verified information related to the allocation of resources by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Fish and Wildlife) for its role as a responsible agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The audit's scope will include, but not be limited to, the following activities:

  1. Review and evaluate the laws, rules, and regulations significant to the audit objectives.
  2. Determine how frequently over the past five years Fish and Wildlife received requests to be a responsible agency for a CEQA review and its actions in response to the requests.
  3. Review a selection of CEQA requests where Fish and Wildlife was a responsible agency and determine whether it met statutory requirements. If it did not meet statutory requirements, identify the major reasons why not.
  4. Review and assess the sufficiency of Fish and Wildlife's allocation of resources. In particular, perform the following:
    1. Assess whether it employs a sufficient number of staff to meet its CEQA-related legal obligations as a responsible agency.
    2. Identify the expenditure and staffing levels for other functions within Fish and Wildlife unrelated to CEQA and, for those functions, assess the department's justification for its staffing and expenditure levels. To the extent possible, identify opportunities to reduce these levels to fund CEQA-related activities.
    3. Identify how each major function is funded, including its CEQA process and habitat management. Further, determine the percentage of staff dedicated to habitat management.
  5. Determine whether Fish and Wildlife's CEQA process affects its other programs and whether there are opportunities—such as early participation in the process—that could benefit those other programs.
  6. Determine how Fish and Wildlife manages the funds received from CEQA fees and whether it expends or refunds the funds in compliance with state law and in a manner consistent with meeting its CEQA responsibilities. In particular, determine how Fish and Wildlife manages these funds in cases where it does not respond to requests from local governments.
  7. Review and assess any other issues that are significant to the audit.

California State Auditor's Office
8/8/2018