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Environmental Review under CEQA

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a California statute passed in 1970 to require state and local agencies to follow a protocol of analysis and public disclosure of environmental impacts of proposed projects and adopt all feasible measures to mitigate those impacts.


After an initial study is completed, the lead agency can determine if a project could have a significant impact on the environment. The lead agency may propose mitigation measures to reduce any impacts to less than significant in a draft Negative Declaration or Mitigated Negative Declaration document and publishes the document for public review.

An Important Tool for SCVAS

Reviewing and commenting on CEQA documents is an important tool for ensuring that projects do not adversely affect the environment and habitats for birds in the Bay Area. Our SCVAS Environmental Advocate reviews these documents and then submits comment letters to lead agencies to highlight issues that effect our mission.

CEQA Documents Defined

  • • An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is an informational document that will inform the agency decision-makers and the public of the significant environmental effects of the project, possible ways to minimize significant effects, and reasonable alternatives to the project.
  • • A Negative Declaration (ND) is a written statement, usually prepared by the lead agency, describing the reasons that a proposed project will not have a significant effect on the environment, and does not require the preparation of an EIR.
  • • A Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) is a negative declaration (ND) that incorporates revisions (mitigation measures) in the proposed project that will avoid or mitigate impacts to a point where clearly no significant impacts on the environment would occur.

Read more about CEQA

CEQA backgound information and definitions supplied by:

California Environmental Quality Act. (2011, September 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Read more.

California Natural Resources Agency, CEQA: The California Environmental Quality Act.

Some examples of our CEQA Letters

Ridge Trail Extension EIR Scoping Comment Letter (2/3/2017)

Young Ranch EIR Scoping Comments (10/17/2016)

Berryessa Flood Control EIR Comments - Joint Letter (9/19/2016)

Comments on Palo Alto Parks Master Plan (8/1/2016)

Stevens Creek Corridor Comments on Planning Efforts (2/2/2015)

How you can help!

• There are many CEQA documents to track and review covering many different local projects. Contact our Environmental Advocate if you would like to help review projects that interest you.

• You can help with these or other projects that interest you by becoming a Volunteer for Conservation. We have many ways that you can help from writing letters to joining our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

• Make a tax-deductible donation to support these and other local conservation efforts.