Reasons for Exemption
Pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21080.56, subdivision (a), the CDFW Director concurs with the Lead Agency that the Project will exclusively conserve, restore, protect, or enhance, and assist in the recovery of California native fish and wildlife, and the habitat upon which they depend; or restore or provide habitat for California native fish and wildlife.
The Project’s implementation of non-native vegetation removal, follow-up vegetation maintenance, active and/or passive revegetation methodologies, and refuse removal will directly restore, enhance, and protect riparian and riverine habitat by improving habitat quality and quantity. Increasing riparian habitat quality will provide immediate
benefits to local and migratory species that utilize riparian and riverine habitat types, increasing their long-term reproductive success, recruitment, and survivorship. The Project will also result in increased water quality by reducing the number of anthropogenic related sources of pollution and the frequency of wildfires resulting from the existing Arundo stands, which generally consist of dense, flashy fuel. Together, these activities are expected to improve nesting, foraging, and refugia habitat for resident and migratory terrestrial species, including the least Bell’s vireo, while indirectly improving water quality and habitat quality for aquatic species such as Santa Ana sucker and Santa Ana Speckled dace.
The Lead Agency has determined that the Project may have incidental public benefits. The clean-up and removal of trash and debris that are necessary to implement the Project will provide incidental public safety benefits. The public safety benefits include increased public health and sanitary conditions for the users of the Project area and adjacent lands, increased safety and cleanliness of a pre-existing trail system, decreased risk of human-induced wildfire, and reduced risk of poor air quality due to wildfire. The Project will also result in long-term net benefits to climate resiliency, biodiversity, and sensitive species recovery, and includes procedures and ongoing management for the protection of the environment. And, the Project does not include any construction activities, except those solely related to habitat restoration.