Introduction To Regulatory Agencies for the California Supplemental Exam

New Series: Regulatory Agencies for the CSE

Introduction To Regulatory Agencies for the California Supplemental Exam

This introduction to state and federal agencies that regulate some aspects of site development is the first in a new and informative series.

Do you know which agencies make regulations that affect how landscape architects design landscapes in California? Many landscape architect candidates need to know which agencies and programs impact the profession to pass the CSE for landscape architects.

The state of California and the federal government have a myriad of regulatory organizations, agencies, building codes, and laws that affect the practice of landscape architecture.

Landscape architect candidates need to be familiar with the regulatory environment of the state for the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects.

Types of Regulatory Agencies

Regulatory agencies fall into two broad categories:

  • Federal government regulatory agencies
  • California State agencies and programs

Federal Agencies

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

State Agencies and Programs

  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • Lake and Steambed Alteration Program
  • Timberland Protection Program
  • California Endangered Species Act
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Noxious Weed Program

Introduction to Federal Agencies

Federal agencies provide information and regulations that are based on federal law. Several federal laws affect how landscape architects work. Some key federal laws include:

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. Clean Water Act
  3. Endangered Species Act

The Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act are two federal laws that landscape architects must comply with when designing for client’s.

US Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers (abbreviated as USACE) is responsible for protecting and maintaining “water of the United States”. USACE’s responsibilities include includes:

  • Protecting navigable rivers
  • Tributaries that flow into navigable rivers
  • Reservoirs
  • Federal flood control projects
  • Inland territorial seas
  • Wetlands
  • Dredging permits
  • Coastal erosion protection
  • And a few other things

USACE is the primary federal agency that enforces provisions of the clean water act. Development next to rivers and streams will likely require a permit from USACE.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA’s greatest contribution to landscape architects is their flood maps. FEMA flood maps are the de facto standard used to determine if a part of a site lies within a flood plain. Use FEMA maps during the site inventory process to identify the 100 year flood line.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary enforcer of the Endangered Species Act. If a project site has federally listed endangered species living on it, the you may have to get approval from USFWS to get your project approved.

California State Agencies and Programs

In addition to federal agencies, landscape architects also must comply with state agencies.  Here are some state agencies that may be featured on the California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects many include some of the following:

California Department of Fish and Game

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) administers several programs that regulate and protect fish, plants, and wildlife.

Lake and Steambed Alteration Program

The Mission of the California Department of Fish and Game Lake and Streambed Program is to protect riparian habitat throughout the state. To meet this responsibility, the Fish and Game Code requires an entity to notify the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) of any proposed activity that may substantially modify a river, stream, or lake.

Timberland Protection Program

The California Timberland Conservation Program is responsible for protecting state and private forest lands throughout the state.

California Endangered Species Act

The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) was instituted to protect rare, threatened, and endangered species found in the state.

California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission is the primary regulatory body that regulates development activity along California’s long seashore.

What’s Next–Agencies and Programs Series

This has been a brief introduction to some of the state and federal regulatory agencies that have policies that affect the practice of landscape architecture. Expect several questions on the California Supplemental Exam on these agencies. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a closer look at each of these agencies and programs.

For More Information on Regulatory Agencies:

  1. Part 1: Introduction to Regulatory Agencies on the California Supplemental Exam
  2. Part 2: US Army Corps of Engineers

Pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for Landscape Architects e-book study guideIf you are looking for a study guide to help you prepare to pass the CSE the first time, check out Pass the California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects study guide e-book.

About

John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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You are in the right place. Learn what you need to pass the California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects the first time. This site is dedicated to aspiring landscape architects who want to get a California landscape architect license. I'll share my research for the CSE as I prepare for the exam.

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John

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