California Department of Transportation
District 6 Director Sharri Bender Ehlert
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Address:
1352 W. Olive Avenue
P.O. Box 12616
Fresno, CA 93778-2616

Telephone:

  • (559) 444-2409
    (Fresno/Madera)
  • (559) 488-4082
    (Tulare/Kings)
  • (559) 488-4067
    (Kern)
  • 711 - TTY

Facsimile:
(559) 445-6259

Email:
D6.Webmaster@dot.ca.gov

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Biology FAQs

What is a biologist? What does he/she do?

A biologist is a specialist in the natural sciences who conducts and participates in biological surveys. Biologists identify protected plants, animals and habitats that may be affected by a Caltrans project. Their studies are often seasonally dependent and may require multiple fieldtrips to the project area. Biologists work with other agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to obtain permits and reach agreements. They also negotiate mitigation.

Why does Caltrans perform biologist studies?

Federal, state, and local environmental protection legislation contain the same general policy: to preserve the quality of our environment by ensuring that resources are given adequate consideration throughout the course of any project, and by providing protected biological resources with the best protection possible. Because Caltrans must comply with state and federal laws and regulations regarding biological resources, the same principles form the core of Caltrans' general environmental policy as well.

Why does a biologist need to be on my property?

To locate protected biological resources, a biologist needs to physically walk all areas within and adjacent to the proposed Caltrans project. In some cases, he or she will need to take samples of soil, plants, or small animals (such as fairy shrimp).

What are protected biological resources?

A biologist is concerned with three general types of resources: plants, animals, and habitats. Protected habitats can be specific to a protected species or can be the actual habitat, such as a wetland. Depending on the applicable legislation, “protected” means those species or habitats listed as threatened or endangered. In other words, if it has been determined that a species or habitat is headed toward extinction, that resource is more likely to be protected.

What if an endangered species or its suitable habitat is located on or adjacent to my property?

Whether or not a protected biological resource has been officially identified on a property, all are protected under state and federal legislation. Caltrans has no authority to regulate activities conducted on private property.

If you are subdividing your property, building new structures, or otherwise planning an activity that would require a permit from a local, state, or federal agency, you might be required to comply with state or federal legislation, which may require the identification, evaluation, and/or mitigation of effects on the resource present.

What would happen if I killed a listed animal or plant or destroyed habitat on my property?

Whether or not a protected biological resource has been officially identified on a property, all such resources are protected under state and federal legislation. Regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or your attorney can inform you of your responsibilities under the various laws.

If a protected resource is identified on my property, do I have to disclose its presence if I wish to sell?

Your real estate agent should advise you on what you are legally required to disclose when selling your property.

For more information, see http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/env/bio/index.htm