Nevada County has adopted Resource Standards which outline what types of natural resources are considered to be environmentally sensitive and protection standards for those resources. This website offers a few tools to determine the presence of these resources on your property and others are provided by state or federal agencies. The My Neighborhood Interactive Map is a good place to start when trying to do a cursory review of a property in Nevada County. Available layers include flood hazard zones, important farmlands, and fire severity zones. Additionally, you are able to overlay a mosaic of USGS maps that show watercourses (ponds, rivers, creeks etc.) and elevation contours (to assist in determining areas of steep slopes) and aerial photos to assist in determining the presence of landmark oak groves and trees. While a field visit is always warranted, the tools available on this mapping interface should assist you with making a preliminary assessment.
If this is important to you, you are also encouraged to visit, call 530-265-1222, or email the Planning Department to get any additional information on the property which can be obtained through the Community Development Agency’s Record Request process. If there was a previous land use permit or land division involving a given property, the Planning Department may have a site specific biological or cultural inventory on file for the property. While specific findings of cultural resource inventories are typically confidential to the general public, we can discuss those resources in general terms with the land owner. Should you wish to investigate further into whether or not your property hosts any known cultural or historical resources you are encouraged to do a records search with the discuss those resources in general terms. Should you wish to investigate further into whether or not your property hosts any known cultural or historical resources you are encouraged to do a records search with the Northern Central Information Center at California State University Sacramento who, for a small fee, can do a records search of your property.
You may also procure the services of archeologist/cultural resource professional to prepare a cultural report or a biologist to prepare a biological inventory for your property. Another good resource for determining the presence of sensitive plant and wildlife species in the vicinity of your property is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Natural Diversity Database. Finally, if you are concerned over the potential for hazardous materials to occur on your property, the State Water Resources Board maintains a Geotracker database for regulated facilities in California and the State Department of Toxic Substances Control maintains an Envirostor database of clean-up sites and hazardous waste facilities. Should you determine that your property does have hazardous material on it, you are encouraged to seek out the services of the local geotechnical firm to perform a preliminary endangerment assessment.