California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) Environmental Impact Report

Department: Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

Program Description: Communities raised concerns that the CEQA environmental review process was slowing down their ability to launch critical wildfire fuel reduction projects. The California Vegetation Treatment Programmatic Environmental Impact Report(CalVTP) is an environmental impact review covering 20-million-acres of the non- federal, fire-prone land in California. The CalVTP enables efficiencies in the CEQA process that can reduce review timelines from multiple years to just months.

This approach reduces redundancies without sacrificing environmental quality by allowing project sponsors to build on known and verified environmental analysis as they begin their site-specific environmental review for individual projects. 

Partner departments like the State and Regional Water Boards and California Department of Fish and Wildlife collaborated with the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to ensure their environmental standards are reflected in the CalVTP, creating a streamlined environmental review process for approvals needed from those agencies. 

CEQA exemptions are still used for projects that qualify.  Large or more complex use the CalVTP to achieve their environmental compliance.  

Once the site-specific environmental analysis is complete and approved under the CalVTP, it is valid for up to ten years, allowing multiple rounds of vegetation treatment and maintenance using the same environmental document. 


Program Impact: To help ensure consistent and easy use of the new streamlined CalVTP process, the State hired an environmental consulting firm to conduct the Project Specific Analysis (the application required by the CalVTP). This helps ensure that local foresters have support as they get acquainted with a new environmental process. These completed examples will help future applications be prepared faster and more efficiently at a reduced cost.

As of April 2023, 46 CalVTP projects have been approved and another 47 are underway, totaling 93 projects utilizing this expedited tool. These environmental reviews have been coordinated with five CDFW regions and four USFWS field offices as well and the California Coastal Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board and various Regional Water Quality Control Boards; each agency coordination effort was approached with the objective of streamlining consultation with that agency for future CalVTP projects. 


Resilience in Action:  The Alder Creek Sequoia Resilience and Post-Fire Restoration Project PSA/Addendum, proposed by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Save the Redwoods League, exemplifies the usefulness of the program EIR, even for very complex and multi-jurisdictional projects. 

In addition to vegetation treatment, the project included road repair and road decommissioning, which were related to vegetation treatment, but not covered in the CalVTP. These activities were addressed in an addendum, which was efficiently integrated with the project specific analysis.  Consultation with USFWS and CDFW was accelerated by leveraging the education that had been provided and processes that had been established for other approved CalVTP projects. In total, the project specific analysis and addendum were finalized within 3 months, a process that previous would have taken at least a year.