What's New

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  • 08-12-22  The Office of Biological Studies has made minor updates to both the NES and NESMI templates.  All Biological Technical Document templates can be found on the SER Forms and Templates page.
  • 08-05-22 The Division of Environmental Analysis, Environmental Management Office has updated the “Fact Sheet on the Council on Environmental Quality’s Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.”  On April 20, 2022, the Council on Environmental Quality published in the Federal Register a Final Rule to reverse a number of the updates to the NEPA regulations that were enacted by a Final Rule published on July 16, 2020.  In particular, the previous definitions of effects were restored.  These revisions were effective May 20, 2022.  This Final Rule was considered a “Phase I” rulemaking and further revisions are anticipated in a “Phase 2” rulemaking. The Fact Sheet has been updated to reflect the changes made by the April 20, 2022 Final Rule.  It is posted on the SER Other Guidance page.
  • 08-03-22  FHWA and Caltrans have renewed the 23 USC 326 MOU effective April 18, 2022 and the 23 USC 327 MOU effective May 27, 2022 for a term of 5 years and 10 years, respectively. This renewal will maintain Caltrans’ ability to streamline the federal environmental review and approval process and allow districts to continue their amazing work delivering projects statewide. A new memo has been prepared that announces the renewal of the MOUs and highlights the changes associated with each MOU. It can be found on the SER Policy Memo page.
  • 07-28-22 The Environmental Management Office has created a Fact Sheet entitled “Environmental Requirements for Encroachment Permits” which discusses CEQA and NEPA requirements for encroachment permits and other right-of-way use agreements, clarifies the meaning of highway versus non-highway uses, and also briefly touches upon other requirements such as Section 106 compliance, Section 7 consultation, and Section 4(f). The Fact Sheet can be found on the SER Other Guidance page.
  • 07-27-22  The Environmental Management Office has updated the Community Impact Assessment (CIA) template to include Equity considerations, along with other minor changes and ADA updates. Please note that the CIA template contains the most up to date information for the community impact sections of the environmental document. The Annotated Outlines will be updated soon to reflect the new equity guidance. The CIA template can be found on the SER Other Guidance page.
  • 06-14-22  The Division of Environmental Analysis has added a new policy memo entitled “CEQA Administrative Record and Email Retention” to the SER Policy Memo page.  The purpose of this memorandum is to provide updates, clarification, and guidance on California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) practices regarding retention of email communications relating to highway projects in conformance with state law (Public Resources Code, section 21167.6(e)), federal guidance (Federal Highways Administration Records Disposition Manual), and existing Caltrans policies. 

    Effective immediately, Caltrans project delivery staff for capital improvement projects, including managers and supervisors, shall ensure that substantive project emails and attachments are retained via the use of an email “Project Inbox.” Please see the attachments for more details and distribute to your respective environmental teams/staff.
  • 06-07-22 The Cultural Studies Office has updated the Historic Property Survey Report (HPSR) forms and Ex 2.6 (Historic Property Survey Report Format and Content Guide) with the new dates for the 23 USC 327 MOU. All cultural templates are available on the Cultural Templates page. SER Volume 2 Exhibits are available on the Volume 2 Cultural Resources page.
  • 06-03-22  FHWA and Caltrans have renewed the 23 USC 327 MOU effective May 27, 2022 for a term of 10 years. This renewal will maintain Caltrans’ ability to streamline the federal environmental review and approval process and allow districts to continue their amazing work delivering projects statewide. If you have any questions, please contact the NEPA Assignment Office.

The updated MOU can be found on the SER MOUs, MOAs, and Agreements page. In addition, Chapter 38 of the SER Volume 1 has been updated to reflect the new MOU. Also, edits have been made to the CE/CE Form, Annotated Outlines (AOs), Streamlined EA Writing Template, and FONSI Sample, that are located on the SER Forms and Templates page. Other technical reports that reference the MOU will be updated shortly to reflect the new effective date.

Staff should update any technical reports and environmental determinations/documents currently in draft form to reflect the new MOU effective date as applicable. Areas that should be updated include the following:

CE/CE Form

Change the effective date from December 23, 2016 to May 27, 2022 in the NEPA section (page 2).

Environmental Documents

Remove the following sentence in the “NEPA Assignment” paragraph located in the beginning of the Summary or in the beginning of Chapter 1 of the IS/EA AO:

The NEPA Assignment MOU became effective October 1, 2012, and was renewed on December 23, 2016, for a term of five years, which was granted an extension on December 8, 2021 until April 29, 2022.

Replace the sentence with:

The NEPA Assignment MOU became effective October 1, 2012, and was renewed on May 27, 2022, for a term of ten years.

Change the effective date from December 23, 2016 to May 27, 2022 in the following areas:

  • Cover page
  • Lead agency paragraph in Summary-(see pages 11 & 12 in the EIR/EIS AO for example)
  • CEQA Chapter-first paragraph in “Determining Significance under CEQA” section
  • Individual Section 4(f) section

Technical Reports

Change the effective date from December 23, 2016 to May 27, 2022 in the following documents:

  • Biological Assessment cover page
  • Historic Property Survey Report
  • Individual Section 4(f) cover page
  • Any other technical report that references the MOU with date
  • 05-26-22 The Division of Transportation Planning, Office of Air Quality and Climate Change has updated the Project-Level Conformity Process Flowchart located in the SER Volume 1, Chapter 38. This new flowchart also replaced the previous Conformity Flowchart located in the SER Volume 1, Chapter 11.
  • 05-16-22  The Cultural Studies Office has updated the Historical Resources Compliance Report (HRCR) templates.  All cultural templates are available on the Cultural Templates page.