California is home to many rare and unique plant species. Some of these species are protected by environmental laws such as the Federal Endangered Species Act, California Endangered Species Act, Native Plant Protection Act, and California Desert Native Plant Act. Some plant species are not formally protected by law, but are still considered rare. The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) has developed the California Rare Plant Ranking System to describe the rarity of some of these species.
To ensure compliance with these laws and to protect sensitive resources, Caltrans biologists first conduct botanical surveys to determine whether sensitive plant species are present within a project’s limits. If a sensitive plant species is observed within a project’s limits, a plan is developed to avoid the species, minimize impacts, or mitigates the effects of the project. Caltrans biologists coordinate with various agencies that protect sensitive plant species such as the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and CNPS.
Caltrans must reduce the spread of invasive species that threaten California’s sensitive natural areas and complete with native plants. Executive Order 13112 directs federal agencies to combat the introduction or spread of invasive species in the U. S. During environmental review, a discussion of the invasive species present within the project limits, their status, and measures to prevent the spread or infestation of invasive species are developed. Caltrans coordinates with various agencies that work to prevent the spread of invasive plant species including the California Invasive Plant Council, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture.