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Permit Coordination


What Is It?

Farmers and landowners have been unintentionally discouraged from installing voluntary conservation and restoration projects on their property by the time-consuming and costly process of acquiring multiple permits from local, state and federal agencies. In order to reduce this barrier, the RCD partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the non-profit organization Sustainable Conservation in 1998 to develop the first Permit Coordination Program in the nation.

The goal of Permit Coordination is to offer “one-stop regulatory shopping” to land managers seeking to implement conservation and restoration practices on their land.

Gully Stabilization

Grey Hayes with the Coastal Training Program instructs RCD staff and partners in identifying features of coastal chaparral species as part of a Threatened and Endangered Plant training series.

How Does It Work?

Where watershed-wide Permit Coordination programs are in place, farmers, ranchers, or landowners who plan to install specific conservation practices are eligible to receive permits coverage through the programmatic permits held by RCD and NRCS.  The RCD and NRCS assist in project design and monitor implementation and maintenance of the conservation practices to ensure adherence to the conditions of the permits. Provided the land manager follows the design specifications and project conditions established by NRCS or RCD in accordance with the Permit Coordination Program, he or she will not need to secure individual permits, saving the cooperating farmer, rancher, landowner or land manager both time and money.

How do I know whether my project requires permitting?

You can assess whether your project might require permitting by looking at the information and tables in the following brochures.  If your project requires permitting, you may be eligible for Permit Coordination to obtain all necessary permits through this “one stop” permitting program.

IS my project eligible for Permit Coordination?

Before you begin your own conservation project, contact the RCD or NRCS office to find out if your project is eligible to receive coverage under the Salinas Valley Watershed Permit Coordination Program or the Elkhorn Slough Watershed Permit Coordination Program.  In addition to simplifying the permitting process, assistance is available for project design, construction guidance and information about cost-sharing programs.

Elkhorn Slough Watershed Permit Coordination Program (1998-2002)

This Program established in 1998 to reduce barriers to agricultural resource conservation projects in the Elkhorn Slough Watershed in northern Monterey County.  The program streamlined the permitting process for land managers working with the NRCS or RCD on projects utilizing 10 approved conservation practices. 

The Elkhorn Slough watershed-wide regulatory agreements were valid for five years and expired in 2002/2003  Efforts are currently underway to update and renew the agreements. The RCD’s goal is to have a new Permit Coordination Program for the Elkhorn Slough watershed up and running in 2006.

This picture illustrates the progression of stream protection work that was permitted with the Elkhorn Slough Watershed Coordinated Permit Program.


The Salinas River Watershed Permit Coordination Program (2002-2007)

This program consists of watershed-based permits and agreements covering 16 specific conservation practices in the Salinas River watershed in Monterey County issued to the NRCS and the RCDMC by federal, state and local regulatory agencies.

As of 2009, the RCD no longer has a current Permit Coordination Program available. However, the RCD is currently working with NRCS and regulatory agency personnel to develop a Permit Coordination Program for the entire Monterey County, which will hopefully be in place by 2011. In the meantime, a Safe Harbor Agreement for Monterey County is under review by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and should be effective before 2010 for interested landowners wanting to conduct conservation work on their lands. Please contact us for more information.