Beginning your research

The first step in project-based conservation advocacy is knowing what projects are being proposed and where. Project-based research can be time-consuming and intimidating, especially if you aren’t sure where and how to start. The following information will help set you up for success.

While CEQA research is rarely simple, knowing where to look and what to focus on most is key. Select from the options below to learn about the most common places to discover and learn about CEQA projects.


CEQAnet is a public website, run by the California State Clearinghouse (SCH) in the Office of Planning and Research. Here, the SCH hosts a publicly available database of environmental documents with information on most of the CEQA projects that have occurred throughout the state since 1990. Only projects that involve a state agency like the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are sent to the SCH, so the database does not contain every CEQA project. 

How to use CEQAnet:

  1. Visit
  2. Use the search functions, including recent postings, the search bar, or conducting an advanced search using filters.
  3. Research CEQA Documents. Each project has its own page on CEQAnet with useful information including the title and brief project description, location, contact information, and more. Additionally, every project submitted to the SCH as of March 2019 provides copies of all environmental documents and notices. 
  4. Be patient and pay attention to detail. Navigating CEQA documents can be confusing. Every project can have multiple pages, so make sure you are on the right page. You may find many uploaded documents at the bottom of a project page. It will take a bit of reading to find out which PDF is the one you are looking for, and even then it might be broken down into multiple PDFs! You may have to click around to find the documents.
  5. Watch for a table of contents, which may be uploaded separately. If it is not uploaded separately, then look for a general “EIR” document, which should be named to have the word “EIR” or “Environmental Impact Report” and may have the project title in the name as well.
  6. Be persistent. If the documents are not uploaded to CEQAnet, try a Google search of the project title. If this doesn’t work, you may have to do some detective work and browse around on your city’s or county’s CEQA website or the lead agency’s website. 

Government agency mailing lists

Most cities and counties, and local, state, and federal agencies have mailing lists that you can sign up for to receive information about projects they are working on. In many cases the agency’s website will have a form to fill out to receive information. Larger agencies that function as the lead agency for many types of projects may have a regional mailing list, or a mailing list specific to a certain type of project. If you do not see an online form you can click on the “contact us” link found at the bottom of most agency webpages and request information regarding mailing lists or who to contact for more information. You may also call the agency or visit their office to get more information on who to stay informed of projects. 

The notices sent out to these lists will include more information on where to find the documents, due dates, and any potential hearings or meetings. 

Local news and public agency announcements

CEQA requires public agencies to post public notices for the preparation of environmental documents through at least one of the following procedures:

  • posting a notice on their website,
  • publish such notices through local a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the project,
  • or posting notices onsite and offsite in the area where the project is located. 

To stay informed on local CEQA projects, it is good to know where your local agencies will post these notices. Once you know where and how they post notices, you can more easily monitor new CEQA projects. The notices will include more information about where to find documents and any potential hearings or meetings. 

It can take some leg work, but this method is often a good way to stay informed.