Program Timberland Environmental Impact Reports

CEQA provides the opportunity for lead agencies to prepare programmatic EIRs (14 CCR § 15168) that analyze the potential impacts of a series of actions that can be characterized as one large, ongoing project. Programmatic EIRs are frequently prepared for development projects with multiple phases (i.e., subdivision developments), ongoing programs (i.e., Vegetation Management Program) or implementing long-term plans (i.e., JDSF Forest Management Plan). Because programmatic EIRs evaluate actions that are similar due to location, timing or potential impacts they can often be mitigated in similar ways thereby eliminating the need for repetitive review of related actions on a project-by-project basis. And, program EIRs allow for a more exhaustive consideration of cumulative effects than would be possible if each project was considered individually. For these reasons program EIRs can provide substantial cost savings to both permitting agencies and project proponents, better protect the environment and provide a level of regulatory certainty.

CEQA also encourages the concept of "tiering" environmental analysis where possible to reduce redundancy. Typically the review of a proposed action, or series of actions, can be evaluated in a general way under a programmatic EIR. Subsequent, individual actions can then rely on the analysis in the programmatic EIR and provide additional analysis for those site specific activities or situations not addressed in the program document.

n 1996, the Board adopted rules 14 CCR § 1092 et. seq. that provided for the programmatic review and tiering of timber harvesting activities. The new rules authorized the Director to approve Program Timber Harvesting Plans (PTHP) where a Program Timberland EIR (PTEIR) had been approved for the ownership (or multiple ownerships). The PTEIR, certified by the Director, would provide the detailed impacts analysis and justification of mitigation measures that would be relied upon in each subsequent PTHP. If that detailed analysis had already occurred and the prescribed mitigation developed and adopted under the PTEIR the PTHP could be expected to undergo a more limited and expedited review and approval process, tiering to the PTEIR, as compared with the review of a typical THP. Areas where the PTHP was out of the scope of analysis in the PTEIR could be addressed at the PTHP level.

Guidelines for Preparing PTEIRs

Link to existing PTEIRs

Link to draft PTEIRs and other documents

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