Plan Interpretations

This section provides reviewed and approved memos that help interpret and clarify specific Habitat Plan text.
Number Title Summary Approval Date
2013-001 "Covered Project" Determination: 5,000-Square-Foot Exemption

Projects adding less than 5,000 square feet are not subject to the Habitat Plan; no active tracking will occur.

June 30, 2014

2013-002

"Covered Project" Determination: 2-Acre Threshold - Private Development Map

The 2-acres threshold is based on the permanently disturbed footprint.

June 30, 2014

2013-003

Pipeline: "Operative Date" Definition

The Operative Date is October 14, 2013, and the deadline for permit ossuance is 1 year from the issuance of Federal and State permits--July 31, 2013.

June 30, 2014
2013-004

Pipeline: Indirect (Nitrogen) Impacts

A project does not qualify for the pipeline if it has direct impacts on Habitat Plan covered species. If a project only has indirect impacts, such as increased nitrogen deposition, it could qualify as a pipeline project.

June 30, 2014

2013-005

Map Areas/Zones: Project Location in Two Map or Fee Zones

Parcels that span more than one Fee Zone will pay fees according to the number of acres in each zone. June 30, 2014
2013-006

Coverage under Previous Permits: Coverage of Projects that Completed Mitigation or Permitting Prior to Habitat Plan

If all ESA compliance, or equivalent, is complete and signed off by the Wildlife Agencies, the project is not subject to the Habitat Plan conditions and fees. June 30, 2014
2013-007

Projects Previous Species Permits Final

The Habitat Plan allows for CESA or ESA compliance to occur without going through the Habitat Plan if written confirmation is provided to the Habitat Agency.

June 24, 2015

2013-008

Map Updates: Private Development Areas Map

The Private Development Areas Map will be updated throughout the permit term to reflect new information collected during Plan implementation.

June 30, 2014

2013-011

Conditions of Approval: Implementation of Condition #1 

Additional information is required to identify when surveys may be required for Contra Costa goldfields and ring-tailed cat.

June 24, 2015

2013-012

Covered Activities: Fee and Impact Assessment on Linear Public Projects

Fees and impacts for covered activities of linear public projects shall be based on the “project footprint” both inside and outside the urban service area.

November 15, 2013

2013-014

“Covered Activity” Determination: Private Stock Ponds

Private stock ponds are a covered activity under the Habitat Plan only if the project proponent receives a ministerial or discretionary permit for this activity from the County or Cities.

June 24, 2015

2013-018

Measuring Rough Proportionality

The amount of each natural community conserved, restored, or created must be equal to or greater than the impact on the natural community as a proportion of the total impact expected from all covered activities.


June 24, 2015

2014-002

Condition 11 Stream and Riparian Setback: Clarification on determining whether a watercourse is a stream under the Habitat Plan


Condition 11 in the Habitat Plan identifies three types of streams: perennial stream, intermittent streams and ephemeral streams.

June 24, 2015 
2014-003 Riparian and Stream Setback Condition (Condition 11) Exceptions


Under Condition 11, applicants can request an exception to the riparian and stream setback requirements

June 24, 2015

2014-004 Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan Study Area Determination 

Habitat Plan study area, expanded study area for burrowing owl conservation, and permit area boundaries sometimes vary between the Habitat Agency’s Geobrowser GIS data and the Habitat Plan text


June 24, 2015

2014-005

Coverage for Projects that Occur Partially Outside of the Permit Area

Projects that lie partially outside the permit area may be covered in their entirety if they meet specified criteria.

June 24, 2015

2015-001

Trails and Ranch Road – Application of Temporary or Permanent Fees

Based on Plan guidance, the designation of temporary or permanent fees is determined by the scope of the impact. In most cases, the fees applied would be temporary. 

June 24, 2015

2016-001 Grading Violations and Abatements- Payment of Habitat Plan Fees When a Grading Violation occurs, abatement activities typically require payment of Habitat Plan fees. This memo provides guidance on how to apply and calculate Habitat Plan fees for grading abatement.  May 10, 2016
2016-002 Condition 18 - San Joaquin Kit  Fox Den Treatment Requirements    Administrative Modification to Condition 18 to clarify that the destruction of unoccupied dens is only applicable within the development footprint. October 21, 2016
2017-001 Habitat Plan Consistency with Oak Woodlands Conservation Act If a project that impacts oak woodlands receives coverage under the Habitat Plan, it is exempt from the mitigation requirements of the Oak Woodlands Conservation Act.  April 10, 2017
2017-002a Covered Plant Survey Timing Flexibility in survey timing for covered plant species that can be detected outside of the blooming period. May 10, 2017
2017-002b Definition of a Covered Plant Occurrence and Tracking Occurrences Guidance for covered plant surveys, occurrence definition, and tracking. September 29, 2017
2017-002c Assessing Impacts to Covered Plant Occurrences Guidance for assessing impacts to covered plant occurrences May 30, 2017
2017-003 Riparian Habitat Temporary Impact Fee Determination Fee assessment for riparian impacts resulting from projects that propose restoration of degraded habitat. July 3, 2017
2017-004 Coyote Brush Classification Coyote brush scrub as a distinct classification of the chaparral and northern coastal shrub natural community November 22, 2017