The Resources Agency of California is responsible for the conservation, enhancement, and management of California's natural and cultural resources, including land, water, wildlife, parks, minerals, and historic sites. The Agency is composed of 18 State departments, boards, conservancies, and commissions.
Major Roles and Responsibilities in Wetlands Management
In regards to wetlands, the primary of role and responsibility of the Resources Agency is the implementation of the State Wetland Conservation Policy.
On August 23, 1993, Governor Pete Wilson signed Executive Order W-59-93, establishing a State Wetland Conservation Policy (SWCP) and providing comprehensive direction for the coordination of state-wide activities for the preservation and protection of wetland habitats. The SWCP was the first state-wide conservation policy of its type in the United States. The Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) are designated as co-lead to implement the goals of the SWCP. The SWCP has three central goals:
In addition to the "no net-loss" policy of the SWCP, Secretary for Resources, Douglas P. Wheeler, has set "a goal of a 30 to 50 percent increase in the quantity, quality and permanence of wetlands by the year 2010." The policy means that are employed to achieve the objectives of the SWCP are largely three in nature. They are:
- Ensure no overall net loss and achieve a long-term net gain in the quantity, quality, and permanence of wetlands acreage and values in California in a manner that fosters creativity, stewardship and respect for private property;
- Reduce procedural complexity in the administration of State and Federal wetlands conservation programs; and
- Encourage partnerships to make landowner incentive programs and cooperative planning efforts the primary focus of wetlands conservation and restoration.
I. Statewide policy initiatives, including:
II. Three geographically based regional strategies in which wetlands programs can be implemented, refined, and combined in unique ways to achieve the goals and objectives of the policy. These strategies will be implemented in:
- a State-wide wetlands inventory
- support for wetland planning
- improved administration of existing regulatory programs
- strengthened landowner incentives to protect wetlands
- support for mitigation banking
- development and expansion of other wetlands programs
- integration of wetlands policy and planning with other environmental and land use processes
III. Creation of an interagency wetlands task force on wetlands to direct and coordinate administration and implementation of the policy.
The Resources Agency is also responsible for operating and maintaining the Wetlands Information System, housed within the California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES). This web site includes over 300 pages of information ranging from permitting guidelines, historical and current wetland maps, to Federal/State wetland policies. Detailed regional wetland inventories that include historical and current extent of wetlands and associated wetland functions and values have also been completed for the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal Southern California as part of the Wetland Information System. In addition, we have coordinated the use of data sets through the Natural Heritage Division of the Department of Fish & Game.
In regards to wetlands, the primary mandate for the Resources Agency, is Executive Order W-59-93 which established the State Wetland Conservation Policy. However, as a cabinet agency created under Government Code 12805, the Secretary for Resources also has a broader statutory mandate which is applicable to overall wetlands management. The applicable Government Code Sections are:
12850. The secretary of each agency has the power of general supervision over, and is directly responsible to the Governor for, the operations of each department, office, and unit within the agency.
12850.2. The secretary of each agency shall advise the Governor on, and assist him in establishing, major policy and program matters affecting each department, office, or other unit within the agency, and shall serve as the principal communication link for the effective transmission of policy problems and decisions between the Governor and each such department, office, or other unit.
12850.4. The secretary of each agency shall exercise the authority vested in the Governor in respect to the functions of each department, office, or other unit within the agency, including the adjudication of conflicts between or among the departments, offices, or other units; and shall represent the Governor in coordinating the activities of each such department, office, or other unit with those of other agencies, federal, state, or local.
The Resources Agency is also mandated to perform certain tasks related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Secretary for Resources possesses the following responsibilities under CEQA:
- Makes findings that a class of projects given categorical exemptions will not have a significant effect on the environment;
- Certifies state environmental regulatory programs which meet specified standards as being exempt from certain provisions of CEQA;
- Receives and files notices of completion, determination, and exemption; and
- Provides assistance in interpreting the provisions of CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines.
- Periodically revise the guidelines which implement CEQA (Title 14, 15000-15387-California Code of Regulations).
For more information contact:
Chris Potter, (916) 653-5656
Coastal Grants and Wetlands Coordinator
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
Copyright © 2007 State of California