Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

California: Implementation of the Caltrans Re-Vegetation Program in Northern California

An overgrown fish ladder
An overgrown fish ladder
Photo of a fish ladder being replaced and surrounding vegetation re-planted by California Conservation Corps members.
The fish ladder was replaced and surrounding vegetation re-planted by California Conservation Corps members

In response to limited flexibility in construction timetables, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) contractors must frequently mobilize to plant vegetation following construction during times of the year that are not ideal for plant survival. In response to low vegetation success rates and the high cost of re-vegetation efforts, Caltrans initiated the Caltrans Re-vegetation Program in 1999. The mission of the program is to help Caltrans comply with State and Federal environmental regulations while minimizing cost and maximizing effectiveness through the use of local materials and resources. Through the Re-vegetation Program, Caltrans partners with other agencies, such as the California Conservation Corps (CCC), so that planting can take place at more appropriate times and at lower cost.

The program enables Caltrans to work with other agencies through small business contracts, CCC interagency agreements, or by utilizing local nurseries and schools. Allowing the CCC to take responsibility for planting introduces more flexibility in planting timelines and the use of specialty or small quantity items, reduces plant establishment times, and improves quality control—all without the need for formal plans and specifications. This program eliminates officer engineer and headquarters review, thereby reducing project timelines and lowering project costs by as much as 60 percent.

This program also supports local businesses and the CCC, enabling Caltrans to hire young men and women for a year of natural resource work and emergency response. The program has also improved Caltrans' relationships with regulatory agencies and helped Caltrans act as an environmental partner.

In the program's 10-year history, it has engaged in over 300 projects ranging in cost from $5,000 to $1,000,000.

For more information, contact David Cohen at David.Cohen@dot.gov.

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