Environmental-Historic Preservation

The Environmental-Historic Preservation (EHP) unit provides subject matter expertise with regard to state and federal environmental and historic laws/regulations. Staff conduct technical review of pending grant awards to determine whether the proposed projects are in compliance with state and federal regulations and makes recommendations concerning methods to mitigate environmental impacts, in addition to assisting to resolve difficult and complex environmental issues.

The following resources include fact sheets and additional information related to endangered species, historic properties, stream erosion, and wetlands protection. 

Additional EHP Resources

Environmental Directory Summaries Document

This Environmental Directory (Directory) contains summaries of applicable state and federal laws and regulations for project work associated with Public Assistance (PA) Grant Sub-awards associated with presidentially declared and gubernatorial proclaimed disasters. The purpose of this Directory is to provide an understanding of the environmental compliance requirements of both disaster protocols. The environmental regulations summarized herein are intended to convey a general understanding of their purpose only, for reference purposes. For detailed requirements and a list of regulations applicable to your project, please contact your local, state, or federal lead agency.

Endangered Species Act Fact Sheet

There is a federal and a California Endangered Species Act (ESA) whose purposes are to conserve and sustain the habitats of and special status terrestrial, avian, and aquatic species. Special status species for either act are classified as either:

  • Threatened, likely to become endangered in the future, or
  • Endangered, in danger of extinction throughout all or a portion of its range.

Each ESA allows for the protection of “candidate species,” species for future consideration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) administer the federal and state ESAs, respectively, in accordance with their 2015 Memorandum of Agreement

Environmental Justice Fact Sheet

When assessing a project’s potential environmental justice impacts, two questions must be asked:

  • First, does the affected community include minority and/or low-income populations?
  • Second, are there projected adverse impacts to the community?

Are the impacts disproportionately affecting minority and/or low-income members of these communities? If your answer to both questions is “yes,” mitigation measures or other methods to address these effects should be developed as part of the project.

Historic Properties Fact Sheet

Under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), historic properties are buildings, structures, sites, objects, and traditional cultural properties that are at least 50-years old (with exceptions).

Stream Erosion Fact Sheet

Streambank erosion occurs when heavy rainstorms increase their volume and velocity beyond the stream’s capacity. This results in floods that transport sediments, soils, and uprooted vegetation downstream impacting adjacent property owners.

Wetlands Protection Fact Sheet

Wetlands provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities, flood protection, and improve water quality by filtering sediment. Wetlands also provide a home for many special status aquatic and terrestrial species protected by the Federal and California Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

FEMA EHP Compliance and Conditions Fact Sheet in Response to COVID-19

The Office of Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (OEHP) is committed to facilitating timely and prompt compliance reviews for COVID-19 activities. This includes identifying activity types where the Applicant will need to provide minimal information or documentation in order to conduct an environmental and historic preservation (EHP) review. Although certain emergency protective measures are statutorily exempted from review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), these actions may still require review for compliance with other EHP laws, regulations, and executive orders. For activities where there is potential to adversely affect natural, historic, and/or archaeological resources, OEHP is working with our other federal agency partners to streamline EHP compliance through a programmatic approach. Applicants are responsible for completing activities in a manner that complies with all state and local guidelines and for obtaining all necessary permits. Work in violation of local, State, or Federal laws, regulations, and executive orders may be ineligible for FEMA funding. Additionally, non-compliance with EHP conditions associated with individual projects may jeopardize receipt of federal funding.

FEMA EHP and Emergency Protective Measures for COVID-19 Fact Sheet

FEMA Floodplain Considerations for Temporary Critical Facilities Fact Sheet in Response to COVID-19

Even a slight chance of flooding can pose too great a threat to the delivery of services provided by a critical facility (such as those that provide temporary medical services, including, but not limited to hospitals, medical sheltering, and mortuary facilities). Further, these critical facilities are likely to have occupants who may not be sufficiently mobile to evacuate in order to avoid injury or death during a flood. Site considerations for such facilities must include an evaluation of flood risk.

All critical facilities—including those of a temporary nature—should be located outside all high-risk flood hazard areas, including Zones V and A and Shaded X. Specifically, these facilities or uses should not be located in the Coastal High Hazard Area (including Zone V), the entire Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA, or 1-percent-annual-chance flood hazard area), or the 0.2-percent-annual-chance flood hazard area (including shaded X zones).

For assistance provided for emergency work, FEMA complies with the spirit of Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management to the extent practicable. To minimize the impacts of floods on human health, safety, and welfare, if a critical facility must be located in a high-risk flood hazard area, it should be designed to higher protection standards (if possible, for a temporary facility) and have flood evacuation plans.

The following steps should be taken when considering the placement of a temporary facility providing medical services or other critical facility to determine if the function, building systems, and equipment can remain operational in the event of a flood:

  • Determine if the site, as well as ingress and egress to the site, is in a Coastal High Hazard Area (Zone V), the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA, or 1-percent-annual-chance flood hazard area), or the 500- year floodplain (0.2-percent-annual-chance flood hazard area);
  • If the site is located in any of these high-risk flood hazard areas, the facility should not be located at that site.
  • If no practicable alternative sites exist, and the site must be used, an assessment of the type of flood hazards at the site should be conducted (e.g., flood velocity, flood depth, wave action, etc.), practicable opportunities for flood mitigation assessed, and a flood evacuation plan/emergency plan developed.
  • The emergency plan should include a plan for site evacuation and contingency for loss of facility’s function in the event the facility is damaged and can no longer serve its intended purpose.

FEMA EHP Floodplain Considerations for Temporary Critical Facilities Fact Sheet 

Debris Management Resources Factsheet

There are many aspects of disaster debris management following an earthquake, wildfire, and flood events. These are summarized in the Debris Management Fact Sheet and include: debris types, environmental laws associated with removing and disposing of them, and how the process can be streamlined.

Debris Management Resources Factsheet

​Contact Us 

Patricia Nelson

Patricia Nelson

Recovery Senior Environmental Planner

Ramzi Ibrahim

Ramzi Ibrahim

Recovery Senior Environmental Scientist