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Old 07-08-2008, 11:44 AM
njensen njensen is offline
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Default How important are species checklists in project CEQA reports? David Magney 7/27/2008

I am interested to know from each of you how important you think it is to have a species checklist included in a CEQA document, at least as an appendix, to CEQA documents. I personally find them very important when reviewing a CEQA document, for a variety of reasons, including:
• seeing the species richness of the site,
• seeing what taxa where observed,
• seeing what taxa where not observed,
• looking for locally rare species,
• evaluating the completeness of the survey(s) and assessment,
and probably some other aspects that I am forgetting at the moment. What do you think?

Last edited by njensen; 07-08-2008 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:50 AM
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Default Comment from Mark Capelli, NOAA Fisheries

“The check-list can be important and useful if it based on actual field investigations, or previous site-specific studies. General check-lists derived from regional field manuals (unless they are based on citable references) have less utility, but eliminating the need to generate a relevant, up-to-date check list would not serve one of the basic purposes of CEQA - to provide a description of base-line conditions of the project site and affected area(s).”
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:53 AM
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Default Comment from Michael Charters, Botanist, CalFlora

“I definitely agree on the importance of species checklists for the reasons you indicate and simply for the historical record of what species were growing where. I think this will be of great significance especially in the coming years as the climate causes species changes to occur. The more records that exist the better.”
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:05 PM
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Default Comment from Elihu Gevirtz, Senior Associate Biologist, LFR, Inc.

“A list of all species observed on the site should be included as an appendix to most CEQA documents if the initial study indicated that there was a potential for significant impacts to biological resources. The document should also include a table that lists the sensitive taxa that occur in that USGS quad and the surrounding quads and an assessment of their presence/absence and likelihood of occurrence on the site based largely on habitat suitability.”
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:09 PM
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Default Comment from Steve Boyd, Botanist/Herbarium Curator, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

“I agree with your reasoning completely. One can ascertain considerable information about the quality of a botanical survey by looking at the species list. I believe rare or sensitive plant surveys should (almost) always be "floristically" based, that is, addressing completely what was found at the site, and elaborating on what rare or sensitive species were expected, what rare or sensitive species were found (including those not expected), and so on. As an herbarium curator, I also believe there should be a greater, not lesser, expectation for those conducting botanical surveys to collect voucher specimens and deposit these in regionally appropriate herbaria. In the case of "new" records for rare or sensitive taxa, I think this should be an absolute requirement. I know the cost of this activity is generally not covered by contracts, and may often be prohibited or strongly discouraged by project proponents, but from a professional standards and ethics standpoint, I do think it is something we should all push for whenever possible.”
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:09 PM
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Default Comment from Andy Sanders, Botanist/Curator UC Riverside Herbarium

“They are essential, IMO. Besides the points you make, they are the best tool for evaluating the competence of the person/group preparing the report. Gross misidentifications (indicated by out of range species, etc.) show a group didn't know what they were doing, as does a ridiculously short species list. Many times a quick look at the attached species list will tell you that the survey was done by someone unfamiliar with the flora of CA, or that the list was copied from some general list and doesn't apply to the site at all -- and hence calls the whole report into question as a possible fraud. Personally, I think that not only should a species list be present, but the native species should be at least 50% vouchered, and deposited in a public herbarium, so that IDs can be checked/confirmed. Biological surveys for development projects are probably the single largest expenditure of money on biodiversity issues in CA, yet much of the work is essentially wasted scientifically because there is no permanent record of the alleged findings. Vouchered records of sensitive species, for example, become part of the permanent record and contribute to future reevaluations of the taxa. Vouchers of "common" taxa can contribute to reevaluation of the taxonomy of the group and hence recognition of additional sensitive taxa not previously recognized. Reports of this or that by some unknown person (or even by you or me) are of little or no use at all for these purposes.”
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