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Section 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreement

Calif. Dept.of Fish and Game (DFG) - Section 1602 (Fish and Game Code) Streambed Alteration Agreement


  • Activities subject to this type of permit include any activity that would result in the modification of the bed, bank, or channel of a stream, river, or lake, including water diversion and damming and removal of vegetation from the floodplain to the landward extent of the riparian zone.
  • This permit type governs both activities that modify the physical characteristics of the stream and activities that may affect fish and wildlife resource that use the stream and surrounding habitat (i.e., riparian vegetation or wetlands).

Permit Types

There are three types of “standard” Streambed Alteration Agreements authorized by DFG. To learn more about the Lake and Streambed Alteration Program click here.

  • Standard Agreement – for activities expected to take place within a 5-year timeframe.
  • Standard Long-Term – for activities expected to continue past a 5-year timeframe.
  • Master Agreement – an agreement for a duration longer than 5 years duration that is similar to a programmatic agreement. This agreement would cover a large, multi-phased project consisting of smaller specific projects for which detailed project plans are not prepared at the time of application for the permit.

Section 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreement General Process and Steps

To apply for a Section 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreement, one typically follows the steps below:

  1. Conduct plant and wildlife surveys of the project area, including surveys for federally listed and state-listed species, and an assessment of riparian habitat (including quantification of riparian habitat).
  2. Prepare and submit to DFG an assessment of the extent of streams, rivers, and/or lakes within the project area – If a delineation of waters of the United States has been conducted, send a copy of the delineation to DFG. If a delineation has not been conducted, map the extent of streams, rivers, and/or lakes within the project area (including adjacent wetlands and riparian zones) and submit the maps to DFG.
  3. Prepare a project description – Prepare a written description of the project that covers the project features and activities and proposed construction methods in detail. The project description typically contains information about the location of the activities, what the project features and activities will consist of, how the activities will be conducted, what equipment and materials will be needed for the activities, how access to the site will be achieved, and the schedule of activities.
  4. Prepare location maps of the project site – prepare maps showing the project site with a clear project boundary relative to a USGS topographic quadrangle or aerial photographs, including landmark information like street names or other features to identify the location. Include the USACE delineation information on the maps if available.
  5. Prepare the Section 1602 Streambed Alteration Notification – Along with the application form, DFG requires copies of the applications for RWQCB Water Quality Certification and a USACE Section 404 permit, a copy of a biological evaluation (based on the surveys conducted) including the assessment of riparian habitat in the project area, and a copy of any CEQA document prepared for the project (typically, DFG accepts a copy of the Notice of Determination on the CEQA document). If the CEQA document has not yet been certified or adopted, send a copy of the most completed version of the document.
  6. This permit requires a fee. A fee schedule for Streambed Alteration Agreements can be found here. NOTE the definition of “project” in the fee schedule.  Additionally, if the CEQA document has not been approved, DFG requires a filing fee for the CEQA document. The fee is relative to the CEQA document prepared. The fee table can be found here.


A Streambed Alteration Agreement can typically be expected within 90 days of submittal of the application. Within 30 days of submittal of the application, DFG will send the applicant a letter stating that DFG has examined the application and is considering it either complete or incomplete. If the application is determined to be incomplete, the letter will state the items required for completion. These items must be submitted to DFG for the application to be considered complete and ready for processing. Once the application is considered complete, DFG has 60 days to issue a draft agreement.