Groundwater Sustainability Plan Assessment - Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin


SCH Number
Public Agency
California Department of Water Resources (DWR)
Document Title
Groundwater Sustainability Plan Assessment - Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Water Code 10720 et seq., requires local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) to meet the sustainability goal established pursuant to SGMA. (Water Code 10727) The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to review GSPs to evaluate whether they comply with provisions of SGMA, are likely to achieve the sustainability goal for the basin, and whether they adversely affect the ability of adjacent basins to implement their groundwater sustainability plans. (Water Code 10733) DWR is required to evaluate a GSP and issue an assessment within two years of its submission by a GSA. (Water Code 10733.4) Accordingly, DWR evaluated the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin GSP and has now issued its assessment of that GSP, which determines the GSP is “approved," as defined in DWR's GSP Regulations (23 Cal. Code Regs. 355.2).

Contact Information

Steven Springhorn
Agency Name
Deputy Director (Acting), Statewide Groundwater Management
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Santa Cruz
Other Location Info
Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Water Code 10728.6; Public Resources Code 21065, 21080, 21081; Guidelines 15601
Reasons for Exemption
CEQA does not apply to the preparation and adoption of GSPs. (Water Code § 10728.6); DWR's issuance of the assessment does not represent an “approval” or "carrying out" of a "project" under CEQA. (Public Resources Code 21065, 21080, 21081); A GSA is not prohibited from implementing its GSP prior to evaluation and assessment by DWR. (Water Code 10733.4(d)); There is no possibility that DWR's issuance of the assessment may have a significant effect on the environment. (CEQA Guidelines 15061(b)(3)); Even if CEQA applied to the issuance of the assessment or to the GSP itself, DWR believes several other exemptions likely apply to issuance of the assessment. Furthermore, DWR could not presently conduct meaningful environmental review under CEQA because it would require speculation and conjecture; however, SGMA does not exempt projects that would implement actions taken pursuant to a GSP, and DWR therefore expects GSAs will satisfy any applicable CEQA obligations when approving or carrying out projects as part of GSP implementation.


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