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  • New California permitting regulations issued

    Fern Davies
    • Author: Ornithological Council

      Working in California? The new scientific collecting permit regulations have been published. Here's what you need to know.

    This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council!

    Synopsis: The issuance of this new regulation concludes a process of regulatory change that spanned two years. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offered several opportunities for public comment. After canvassing California ornithologists and banders, the Ornithological Council submitted comments prior to the drafting of the proposed regulation and again once the draft regulation was published for comment,  Further analysis of the specifics of this final regulation will be provided in the next day or two.


    New Scientific Collecting Permit Regulations

    Effective October 1, 2018

    Title 14, Sections 650 and 703, California Code of Regulations

    Information for existing and prospective permitholders

    On May 1, 2018, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory changes to Sections 650 and 703, Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR) (OAL regulatory file 2018-0320-05S) for Scientific Collecting Permits (SCPs). The new SCP regulations (including the new application structure and online submission format) will be effective on October 1, 2018.

    To help inform existing and prospective permitholders and other affected stakeholders, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) is addressing the following information on the new SCP regulations and transition to the new SCP online application portal:

    ·         How existing permits will be honored after the October 1, 2018 effective date of the new regulations;

    ·         How the new permit structure and other changes in new regulations compare to the existing regulations; and

    ·         General information about the new SCP online application portal.

    The Department’s SCP home page will serve as the primary online resource for information about implementation and, starting on October 1, 2018, will also provide access to the online application portal. Department staff will inform and educate affected stakeholders by posting outreach materials, guidance, and tools to this webpage throughout the summer of 2018.

    The Department has prepared a FAQ document (attached PDF, and will be posted to the SCP home page) to address common concerns that existing and prospective permitholders may have about the new regulations and online application portal. The Department highlights two immediate considerations for existing and prospective permitholders:

    1.    Phasing out of existing application forms. Any permit issued prior to October 1, 2018, or any issued permit that was applied for by September 30, 2018 using the existing hard copy forms will be valid until the expiration date listed on that permit. However, all new applications, amendments to existing permits and permit renewals requested on or after October 1, 2018 will require submission in the new SCP online application portal, and adherence to the new SCP regulations (refer to Title 14, Subsection 650(a)(7), CCR for more information).

    In an effort to promote a smooth transition into the new regulations, the Department will accept and process applications under the existing regulations and hard-copy forms through September 30, 2018. This will allow affected permitholders to continue their permitted activities without interruption in their scheduled field and/or laboratory activities, after the new regulations become effective October 1, 2018.

    Applications submitted via the new online application portal starting October 1, 2018 will be processed concurrently with applications on the existing hard copy forms submitted by September 30, 2018. If a permitholder anticipates needing to amend or renew their existing permit in the next three or so months, or throughout that permit’s term, it is in the permitholder’s best interest to wait, if practicable, until October 1, 2018 or later, to apply under the online application portal, for the following reasons:

    §  Applications to amend or renew existing permits will not be accepted after September 30, 2018 in the existing hard copy process, under current regulations. An amendment to, or renewal of, an existing permit on and after October 1, 2018 will require the permitholder to apply (as a new applicant in accordance to the new permit and fee structure) in the online application portal. This way the permitholder pays just the new permit fees (Question 8 in the FAQs), rather than paying existing fees to amend or renew before September 30, 2018, in addition to paying new permit fees when coming in to use the new online application portal after October 1, 2018.

    §  Once active, early use of the online application portal will also assist:

    ·         Department’s IT staff to identify and then work out any issues not identified during beta-testing.

    ·         Department review staff to process the queue of existing applications under the existing hard copy process.

    The Department highly recommends that a permitholder whose existing SCP does not expire until January 1, 2019 or later, wait to amend or renew an existing SCP under the new online application portal. This will help the Department process applications in the order received, and work with applicants to help maintain permit coverage for necessary periods of work (see also Question 6 of the FAQs).

    2.    Permit Fees. Currently, the non-refundable application fee is required when an application is submitted, and then the permit fee is requested separately when the permit is approved. Effective July 15, 2018, new applicants or renewing permitholders under the existing hard copy process will be required to submit at the same time both the application fee ($108.92, or $27.04 for students) and the permit fee ($324.75, or $54.59 for students) to the Department’s License and Revenue Branch (LRB) at the time of application submission. This will help the Department:

    o   Finalize permits issued under the existing system sooner, to better facilitate a smooth transition to the new online application portal.

    o   Phase out these older license items earlier; Department staff will not have to delay issuance while requesting permit fees upon permit approval (from applicants applying under the existing system between July 15 and September 30, 2018).

    o   Encourage applicants to save a few dollars by avoiding the annual fee adjustments for any permits issued after December 31, 2018. Department license items are adjusted annually in January pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 713. Therefore, if the application is approved in early 2019, then the applicant would have to pay the higher, adjusted fee (up to a 3% increase).


    Scientific Collecting Permits

    *** New Scientific Collecting Permit regulations (Title 14, Section 650) go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. Please visit

    https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Scientific-Collecting for more information, and contact SCPermits@wildlife.ca.gov with any questions you might have.***


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