California Department of Transportation
This site is produced by the Caltrans Division of Environmental Analysis (DEA) and Division of Local Assistance (DLA).

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Last Updated: Friday, July 24, 2015 10:15 AM

How to Use this Site

  1. How is the SER website organized?
  2. SER Decision Trees
  3. Technical Issues Concerning this Site
  4. Trouble with Acrobat Reader

1. Site Organization

The Standard Environmental Reference (SER) generally follows the flow of the Project Delivery Process. The emphasis is on the logical sequence of considering environmental issues and preparing environmental documentation for transportation projects:

1) knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements,
2) early coordination among interested parties,
3) preliminary assessments of environmental concerns and constraints,
4) formal scoping,
5) preparation of the appropriate technical reports to identify impacts and propose mitigation,
6) selection and preparation of the appropriate environmental documentation, and
7) implementation and monitoring mitigation measures.

There are three ways to navigate the SER content:

  • The Environmental Handbook, Volume 1: Guidance for Compliance, is a topic-based reference that forms the core of the SER content.
  • The Environmental Topics Matrixes - These matrices link the user to key sections of the SER. One matrix describes the information that is appropriate for inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan, the Project Initiation Document, the Draft Environmental Document, and the Final Environmental Document. The second matrix links the user to key information useful when preparing technical studies.
  • The Preliminary Environmental Study (PES) form which provides information useful for local agencies completing a PES form; links connect the user either to the Environmental Documentation or to an external manual, handbook, protocol or web site for additional information.

2. SER Decision Trees

SER Decision Trees: The decision trees located in the beginning of the SER chapters are for guidance only and do not supersede law, regulation, policy, or the information contained in the SER chapters or other manuals. Please ensure that you are using reasoned judgment when using the SER decision trees in conjunction with appropriate laws, regulations and policy.

3. Technical Issues Concerning This Site

Links to resources external to this site are marked with this graphic: Exit Caltrans icon. Clicking on an external link will result in opening a new instance of your browser. Caltrans is not responsible for the content of these sites. Should a link to an external site be non-operational, please report it to us.

Some documents at this site are provided in PDF PDF icon format. You must have Adobe's Acrobat Reader version 4+ installed in order to view and print these files. The Reader is a free browser plug-in available from the Adobe web site. Clicking on a link to a PDF file will result in opening a new instance of your browser.

4. Having trouble with Acrobat Reader?

If you see a blank screen when you try to view a particular PDF file, then you are probably experiencing an Internet connection/memory problem. Acrobat Reader does not use an hourglass to tell you that a document is loading - instead you will see a blank screen. Since some files at this site are large (< 1 MB) you are likely to occasionally be presented with a blank screen. Have patience and wait until you see the word "Done" at the bottom-left corner of your screen. If the screen is still blank then there is either a problem with the document being downloaded, or your PC may not have enough memory to see the document.

If you have trouble loading PDFs, then your browser may not be configured correctly; read this information at Adobe's web site. Typically, if you installed the plug-in and accepted all default settings you should have no problems with the Reader.

Adobe's Acrobat Reader must be configured as a plug-in to your browser for the links in this site to work correctly. If you have configured Reader as a "helper application," then some links will not perform correctly.