California Department of Transportation

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Last Updated: Friday, September 9, 2016 1:02 PM

Environmental Handbooks

Caltrans issued the original Environmental Handbook in 1975 as a written compendium of guidance and procedures for processing environmental documents. Since that time the number of handbooks has grown to five:

  • Volume 1 - General Guidance for Compliance (formerly Environmental Process, Procedures and Documentation) is being updated incrementally and is only available on-line.
  • Volume 2 - Cultural Resources (Archaeological and Historical) (January 2004) some of the chapters and exhibits are available online. This is work in progress. Chapters and Exhibits will be posted as they become available. Chapters have been reorganized better to reflect the sequential order of cultural resources studies. Links have been added to access relevant legislation and other guidance available on the Internet. Some of the chapters and exhibits are currently being revised and will be posted as soon as they are available.

    On January 1, 2004 the Department began implementing a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement to be used for state and local projects for complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. The Programmatic Agreement streamlines several cultural resource processes, which are described in Volume 2.
  • Volume 3 - Biological Resources (January 2000) is available as a PDF download PDF Icon  (228 kb) or online. This volume provides guidance on the identification and evaluation of biological resources, processing of biological resource documents, and implementation of biologically-related construction, maintenance, and encroachment activities. Volume 3 of the Environmental Handbook should be used in conjunction with other project planning and development manuals as well as Environmental Handbook Volume 1.
  • Volume 4 - Community Impact Assessment, (October 2011) describes the methodological approaches and various sources available for obtaining information on the effects of transportation projects on the community. Key topics include social, economic and public services impacts, land use, and growth. Volume 4 has been updated to include recent methodologies for conducting a Community Impact Assessment. A chapter on Environmental Justice has been included. Information on creating a community profile has been expanded and includes new sources for data. There are also updated processes for analyzing farmland impacts including instructions for completing the required farmland conversion forms. Available as a PDF download PDF Icon (996 kb) or online.
  • Volume 5 - Coastal Requirements (September 2016) details the coastal permitting processes

The SER, Environmental Handbooks and related guidance documents are public domain and may be freely distributed.