Project Descriptions

What is a Project Description?

The project description is the defining element or starting point for every CEQA environmental document, be it an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Negative Declaration (ND). A project description is a brief summary of the proposed project and its consequences in sufficient detail as to describe the project being contemplated and provide the focus for the environmental review. The term “project” means the whole of the action which has the potential for resulting in either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment. It does not mean each separate governmental approval.

The language of the project description should be clear and as simple as is reasonably practical. It is usually prepared by the lead agency and may be any of the following:

  • An activity directly undertaken by any public agency.
  • An activity undertaken by a person which is supported, in whole or in part, through contracts, grants, subsidies, loans or other forms of assistance from one or more public agencies.
  • An activity that involves the issuance to a person of a lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use by one or more public agencies.

References: 14 CCR Sections 1537815071, and 15124

Elements of a Project Description

The project description should contain the following information, but should not supply extensive detail beyond that needed for evaluation and review of potential environmental impacts that may result from implementation of the proposed project:

  • Precise location and boundaries of the proposed project shall be shown on a detailed map, preferably topographic. The location of the project shall also appear on a regional map.
  • A statement of objectives sought by the proposed project.
  • A general description of the project’s technical, economic, and environmental characteristics.
  • A statement describing the intended use of the environmental document.
  • A list of related environmental review and consultation requirements mandated by federal, state or local laws, regulation or policies.


Sample Project Description | Overview Home

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