Type, Section or Code
California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 15269, subd. (c); Public Resources Code Sec. 21080, subd. (b)(4)
Reasons for Exemption
Approval of this Project is subject to the statutory exemption for “Specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency” (Emergency Project; Pub. Resources Code, §21080, subd. (b)(4)) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Pub. Resources Code, §21000 et seq.). “Emergency” is defined as “A sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services” (Pub. Resources Code, § 21060.3).
The Project is necessary to address the absence of Band-14 coverage in and around Pinnacles National Park, a remote area in San Benito County. The Office of Emergency Services has identified the Project Area as one of the 13 most important new sites in northern California. The Project Area has been identified as the only possible site with the coverage capability around the Pinnacles area, including E911 (emergency services) coverage. The Project constitutes an emergency measure which is required for immediate health and human safety.
On March 15, 2022, the Permittee submitted a request to Amend the ITP to include placement of asphalt among the access road improvements identified in the ITP. The ITP, as originally issued, contemplated placement of gravel along the entirety of the access roadway. The modified Project Description now includes placement of asphalt in three discontinuous portions of the access roadway, spanning approximately 3,282-feet of asphalt ground cover in total.
CDFW has determined that, although this Amendment may result in an increase in take of the Covered Species, it will not cause an increase in Covered Species habitat impacts from that contemplated in the ITP as originally issued because: 1) asphalt will be placed within the previously identified access roadway and 2) the additional impacts of the taking will be minimized and fully mitigated through implementation of a Condition of Approval requiring passable curbs. Because the impacts will be minimized and fully mitigated, there will be no increase in Project impacts to the Covered Species with this Amendment. Impacts will be minimized and fully mitigated through the implementation of measures required by Incidental Take Permit No. 2081 2021 058 04, as amended. Measures include: 1) requirements for passable curbs, berms, and dikes; 2) establishment of avoidance zones; 3) worker education; 4) burrow/crevice excavation; and 5) permanent habitat protection.