Sea Otter Recovery Grants 2023


SCH Number
Public Agency
California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC)
Document Title
Sea Otter Recovery Grants 2023
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The Conservancy provided a $272,540 grant to Defenders of Wildlife, Sea Otter Savvy, and University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) to implement three separate projects to aid in the recovery of the southern sea otter. Defender of Wildlife conducted a collaborative conceptual planning process for the reintroduction of sea otters into northern California. Sea Otter Savvy conducted an educational outreach and community engagement program on responsible viewing of wild sea otters to reduce sea otter disturbance in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties. UCSC carried out research on sea otter social structure and stressors, which will inform sea otter reintroduction planning.

Contact Information

Irvin Tang
Agency Name
State Coastal Conservancy
Job Title
Project Manager
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz
Northern California, Southern California, Statewide
Cross Streets
Elkhorn Slough
Other Location Info
The mouth of Elkhorn Slough, which is in the middle of the Southern Sea Otter range that the grant is funding recovery efforts.

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Title 14 California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 15262
Reasons for Exemption
The Defenders of Wildlife project involves only conceptual planning for possible future actions related to sea otter reintroduction which have not yet been approved, adopted, or funded by the Conservancy. Consistent with Section 15262, the project will consider environmental factors in the plan development.

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Title 14 CCR section 15322 (Educational or Training Programs Involving No Physical Changes)
Reasons for Exemption
The Sea Otter Savvy Project exempts the “adoption, alteration, or termination of educational or training programs which involve no physical alteration in the area affected.” Implementation of the proposed outreach and public education campaign concerning responsible viewing of wild sea otters does not involve the physical alteration of the environment.

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Title 14 CCR section 15306 (Information Collection)
Reasons for Exemption
The UCSC project exempts the "basic data collection, research, experimental management, and resource evaluation activities which do not result in serious or major disturbance to an environmental resource". As part of the proposed project, sea otters will be captured, sedated, assessed for body condition, sampled, flipper-tagged, and released. Captures will cause only temporary, minor disturbances to sea otters. Assessing, sampling, and flipper tagging are minimally invasive and is considered to be extremely routine, as hundreds of sea otters range-wide have been flipper tagged with no ill effects. The remainder of the proposed study will include only an observational study, monitoring sea otters visually from a distance that will cause no disturbance.
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