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Land Evaluation & Site Assessment Model (LESA)

The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) is a point-based approach for rating the relative importance of agricultural land resources based upon specific measurable features.

The California LESA Model was developed to provide lead agencies with an optional methodology to ensure that potentially significant effects on the environment of agricultural land conversions are quantitatively and consistently considered in the environmental review process (Public Resources Code Section 21095), including in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reviews.

The California Agricultural LESA Model evaluates measures of soil resource quality, a given project’s size, water resource availability, surrounding agricultural lands, and surrounding protected resource lands. For a given project, the factors are rated, weighted, and combined, resulting in a single numeric score. The project score becomes the basis for making a determination of a project’s potential significance.

The LESA Manual, produced in 1997, provides detailed instructions on how to utilize the California LESA Model, and includes worksheets for applying the Model to specific projects. The Manual is available for download below.  All files are PDF format:   

  • Appendix B - CA LESA Project Scoring Example - also includes corrections to Surrounding Agricultural Land Scoring Table and the Surrounding Protected Resource Land Scoring Table made in January 2011. 

Additional websites that may be of use:

NRCS Web Soil Survey
Clicking here will take you away from the DOC website, to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information and has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties.

California Online Soil Survey Manuscripts
Clicking here will take you away from the DOC website, to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) site for Online Soil Survey Manuscripts in California. Most, but not all counties are available.  

For more information, call DLRP at (916) 324-0850.