About the Permit Coordination Program

The Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), working together as the Alameda County Conservation Partnership, administer a coordinated permitting process aimed at assisting land managers and owners who would like to implement practices that will restore and enhance the natural resources on their property. The Conservation Partnership has negotiated with multiple regulatory agencies to reduce the complex regulatory process for landowners, accelerating the process and reducing costs. Regulatory partners involved in the Partnership’s Permit Program include: 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 
  • Section 7(a) of the Federal Endangered Species Act requires NRCS to ensure their actions and activities do not jeopardize the continued existence of threatened and endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of the species’ critical habitat.  NRCS has developed a programmatic Biological Opinion that addresses the effects of these actions on CA red-legged frog, CA tiger salamander, Alameda whipsnake, Callippe silverspot butterfly, and San Joaquin kit fox in Alameda County.  No fee.   
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 
  • Many ongoing established farming, ranching, and forestry activities are exempt from permit requirements under Section 404(f) of the Clean Water Act.  For example, pond maintenance, when associated with ongoing ranching, is included as an exempt activity.  Many of the Conservation Partnership’s projects fall under this exemption.  No action is needed on behalf of the Cooperator, ACRCD or NRCS.  No fee.   
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 

California Endangered Species Act (CESA) consultation is required for projects that may result in take of state-listed species.   

  • Through the Alameda County Voluntary Local Program (VLP), ACRCD holds a programmatic incidental take authorization for the California tiger salamander and Alameda whipsnake.  Cooperators can sign up to receive coverage for their project and will also have the option to receive coverage for routine and ongoing agricultural activities.  This Voluntary Local Program is the first to be approved in California and has been instrumental in implementing the Conservation Partnership’s Wildlife Friendly Pond Initiative.  No fee.   
  • Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements are done individually with fees that follow CDFW’s fee schedule.    
Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) 
  • Many NRCS practices such as pond sediment removal or spillway repair do not require a 401 Water Quality Certification if they are exempt from USACE requirements under the Clean Water Act Section 404(f) (see U.S. Army Corps of Engineers above).  These projects generally still require a Report of Waste Discharge when associated with a drainage.  The SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFRWQCB) has issued a General Waste Discharge Requirement that covers most of the projects that are pursued collaboratively with NRCS/ACRCD as long as they comply with the Alameda County VLP.  A Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirement is also an option for projects not covered through this programmatic authorization (e.g., for Delta watersheds that fall outside of SFRWQCB jurisdiction).  Fee based on California Code of Regulations Fee Schedule.   
Alameda County Grading Department 
  • ACRCD has coordinated with Alameda County to complete an exemption for the practices included in the VLP and BO.  No fee. 
CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) 
  • As part of the VLP (see above) ACRCD completed a Programmatic Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND).  This Programmatic MND addresses CEQA compliance for the projects that are included under the VLP.  No fee.  

Applicable locations

The VLP covers the entire county but primarily serves persons conducting routine and on-going agricultural activities in the eastern, rural portion of Alameda County and within properties adjoining or encompassing creeks in rural-urban interface areas.

Permit documents

How to apply

If you are interested in receiving assistance in navigating through the permitting process or for more information on the VLP and how to enroll, contact Alameda County RCD.

Species covered


The Alameda County Voluntary Local Program provides take coverage for the following species that are protected under the California Endangered Species Act: 

  • Alameda whipsnake 
  • California tiger salamander 

The NRCS Programmatic Biological Opinion consultation includes the following species and critical habitats that are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act: 

  • Alameda whipsnake and its designated critical habitat 
  • California red-legged frog and its designated critical habitat 
  • California tiger salamander and its designated critical habitat 
  • Callippe silverspot butterfly 
  • San Joaquin kit fox 

Activities covered

The Programmatic Biological Opinion, the Voluntary Local Program, and the General Order Waste Discharge Requirement cover the majority of voluntary natural resource improvement projects supported by the Conservation Partnership in Alameda County. (See ACRCD project examples.) Activities generally fall into the following categories:  

  • Pond Restoration Activities: control predator species, establish native vegetation, structural components repair, obstruction removal, sediment removal 
  • Stream Restoration Activities: native riparian habitat restoration, in-stream channel stabilization, obstruction removal 
  • Livestock and Wildlife Water Distribution: spring development, off stream water facilities, pipeline installation 
  • Erosion Control: access road improvements, vegetation establishment, water control structures 


Projects in the habitats and specific locations identified below may be excluded from the Alameda County Partnership Permit Coordination Program. Persons working with the ACRCD on proposed projects in these particular areas and habitats may need to seek individual permits on a project by-project basis. 

  • Salt marsh and estuary projects in Alameda County’s bayfront area. This excluded bayfront area includes all land and waterways under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). 
  • Serpentine soils or alkali-sink habitat 
  • Known pallid manzanita occurrences