Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Caltrans perform environmental studies?
Caltrans project development and maintenance activities must comply with a multitude of state, federal and local laws and regulations. Since the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in 1970, Caltrans has maintained staff to ensure compliance with these rules. Other environmental regulations require that specific activities be performed and detailed procedures be followed. This places a tremendous responsibility on Caltrans environmental staff to ensure that all laws and regulations are followed during the course of project development and system maintenance.
What is the point of doing corridor preservation studies?
Caltrans performs corridor preservation studies early in the planning process so that lower cost right-of-way alternatives are not foreclosed, and there is a better opportunity to avoid environmentally sensitive areas. Corridor preservation requires completion of the CEQA process so that the California Transportation Commission can officially adopt the route and local planning organizations can incorporate the route in their land use plans. Completion of the NEPA process may be required if there is FHWA involvement.
What methods does Caltrans use to contract for environmental services?
The Caltrans Administrative Service Center Office of Service Contracts is responsible for the advertisement and processing of all contracts, environmental or otherwise. All questions about a particular contract MUST be directed to the Office of Service Contracts. For additional information on a particular Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which includes a description of work, Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) submittal requirements, and information on Caltrans pre-award procedures, please call 916-227-6000.
All state contracts for environmental services are advertised via California State Contracts Register, which is maintained by the Department of General Services. The CSCR is available ONLY via the internet. The printed version ceased publication in June, 1996.
Caltrans no longer maintains a Consultant Register except for emergency contracts. See the Caltrans Maintenance Program web site.
What are the minimum qualifications for Caltrans Biologists?
At a minimum, Caltrans biological staff possess a Bachelor's degree in a biological science, as required by the State Personnel Board minimum standards for Environmental Planner (Natural Sciences). Many staff have earned Master's degrees in specialty areas. Areas of technical expertise include: endangered and sensitive plant species, wetland delineation, aquatic toxicity studies, invertebrate surveys, and wildlife road-crossing structures. Staff serve on the Roadside Vegetation Management Committee and the Environmental Research and Development Committee.
What are the minimum qualifications for Caltrans Cultural Resources Staff?
The civil service classifications established by the California State Personnel Board for cultural resources specialists are Environmental Planner (Generalist), Environmental Planner (Archeology) and Environmental Planner (Architectural History). Historians are hired under the generalist or Architectural History classifications, but must meet minimum qualifications if assigned to duties as a specialist in that field. In addition, each member of Caltrans' cultural resource staff meets, at least, the minimum professional qualifications standards for history, architectural history or archaeology established by the National Park Service in 36 CFR Part 61.
For questions regarding the Caltrans Environmental web page, contact the webmaster.