CEQA Guidance Documents
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
The Society for California Archaeology (SCA) is aware that there is a great deal of variability among lead agencies throughout the State of California in the quality of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of cultural resources conducted by those agencies. Because of this, the SCA has developed a brochure and two basic guidance documents regarding the treatment of cultural resources in the CEQA review process.
The first document, Guidelines for Determining the Significance of and Impacts to Cultural Resources- Archaeological, Historic, and Tribal Cultural Resources, provides clear direction to lead agency staff and planners about how to evaluate cultural resources in the CEQA process. It provides thresholds for evaluating potential adverse environmental effects and defines various types of cultural resources and their proper treatment as outlined in the regulations.
The second document, Fieldwork and Reporting Guidelines for Cultural Resources- Archaeological, Historic, and Tribal Cultural Resources, provides a clear description of the CEQA review process for cultural resources, includes basic guidelines for conducting archaeological fieldwork during CEQA review, and provides standardized suggested formats for cultural resource reports prepared pursuant to CEQA. These documents are intended to provide basic guidance to staff who are doing CEQA review of cultural resources.
The brochure, which includes links to the guidance documents, is a convenient way to make lead agency staff and planners aware of the availability of this guidance. If you know lead agency staff or planners that might benefit from this guidance, please provide them a copy of the brochure.
These guidance documents are based on ones developed by the Planning and Development Department, County of Santa Barbara, with input from professional planners, archaeologists, architectural historians, and Native Americans. Those documents were officially adopted by the County Board of Supervisors in February 2018 and became part of the CEQA Thresholds Manual maintained by the County and used for CEQA review of all private and public development projects that require discretionary land use permits. These documents have been modified by the Society for California and posted here to be used by planners and consultants conducting CEQA review at any agency in California.
This online data source provides information, organized by county, regarding cultural, non-confidential resources that have been processed through the OHP. This includes resources reviewed for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places and the California Historical Landmarks program through federal and state environmental compliance laws, and resources nominated under federal and state registration programs.