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Accelerating environmental actions through better data informed decisions

freshwater ecosystem

Accelerating beneficial restoration projects through smarter permitting.

Climate change is having outsized impacts on California’s ecosystems. To respond, environmental agencies and resource owners need to take bold and immediate action to boost the health of these critical habitats. A backlog of beneficial habitat restoration projects coupled with an influx of Federal infrastructure and climate mitigation funding present enormous opportunity to revitalize habitat, guard against flood damage and protect biodiversity.

A major obstacle to beneficial restoration projects has been overlapping, expensive, information intensive permitting processes. State, Federal, and local regulatory agencies, restoration practitioners, landowners, and environmental groups are embracing smarter permitting in key ways. With technical assistance from the Accelerating Restoration Program at Sustainable Conservation, multiple agencies have coordinated to develop alternative permitting pathways that put eligible restoration projects on a track that simplifies required information and steps without compromising any environmental protections. For restoration entities, landowners, and agencies alike this provides more regulatory certainty, saves time, and makes better use of restoration dollars.

Project proponents and regulators all have a role to play. The California Landscape Stewardship networks hosts forums bringing stakeholders together to understand regulatory and information requirements and find areas of alignment. New, simpler permitting processes and common information requirements help develop a culture of trust that can achieve more types of restoration faster, allow for future flexibility and change. Consistent approaches to information can also enable better tracking and measurement of ecological outcomes and benefits across many projects.

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