HELIX staff provide technical and environmental evaluations of agricultural resources and related issues under CEQA and NEPA guidelines. This includes preparation of agricultural land technical studies to assess existing and potential agricultural resources, evaluate project-related impacts to and from these resources and identify potential mitigation options where appropriate. HELIX staff have been approved to prepare agricultural technical studies by the County of San Diego since 2002, and served on the Technical Review Panel that provided oversight and direction during preparation of the current County Guidelines for Determining Significance and Report Format and Content Requirements for Agricultural Resources. HELIX is also experienced in the preparation of agricultural assessments under the California Department of Conservation Land Evaluation and Assessment (LESA) Model guidelines, as well as Farmland Conversion Impact Rating assessments under the federal Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA).
HELIX staff have successfully prepared a number of County Agricultural Resource Reports for private land development and public facilities projects, and have a broad understanding of both the intent and application of the County Agricultural Guidelines. During the course of these investigations, we have gained an extensive knowledge of the unique characteristics and issues associated with agriculture in San Diego County, including small-scale farming practices, urban/agricultural interface conflicts, cumulative impact considerations and the generation of innovative mitigation strategies.
HELIX staff have prepared numerous LESA Model evaluations for projects in California, including evaluation and quantification of soil quality, project site criteria, water resources, and surrounding land use characteristics. These LESA model evaluations are often supplemented by detailed economic assessments of agricultural operations and commodities on site-specific, regional, County and/or statewide levels.
HELIX staff have conducted FPPA Farmland Conversion Impact Rating assessments for a variety of projects involving both corridor (Form NRCS-CPA-106) and non-corridor (Form AD-1006) facilities. This service includes coordination with U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service technical staff, as well as identification and assessment of quantified ratings for such factors as on- and off-site land uses, agricultural support services, site-specific agricultural investments and compatibility issues.