Draft EIS Available for Public Comment on Fruit Growers Supply Company Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan
Nov 13, 2009FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS: Matt Baun (FWS) 530-842-5763
November 13, 2009 Jim Milbury (NMFS) 562-980-4006
Draft EIS Available for Public Comment on Fruit Growers Supply Company's Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan
YREKA, Calif., -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) today announced the availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a proposed Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and application for Incidental Take Permits (ITPs). The applicant is the Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS), a timber company based in Siskiyou County, Calif.
The goals of this proposed HCP are to protect and improve the habitats used by the various species covered by the proposed conservation plan, and to establish guidelines that would allow FGS to continue timber harvests and other forest management activities on their privately owned land.
The proposed HCP applies to 152,163 acres of commercial timberland owned by FGS in Siskiyou County, California, and spans three management units: Klamath River (64,867 acres), Scott Valley (38,814 acres), and Grass Lake (48,482 acres). The Klamath River and Scott Valley management units are located west of Interstate 5, adjacent to and intermixed with Klamath National Forest (KNF) lands. The Grass Lake management unit (also adjacent to the KNF) lies east of Interstate 5 and predominantly north of State Highway 97.
The DEIS provides an analysis of the timber company’s proposed HCP and its potential impacts to the environment and human populations. Pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Services are required to make the DEIS available for public review and comment. As part of the review and comment period, the Services will hold a public meeting on December 2, 2009 at 6 p.m., at Miner’s Inn, 122 East Miner Street, Yreka, Calif.
The company has applied for ITPs spanning a period of 50 years. An ITP is required for actions that could harm an ESA-listed species or its habitat. The permit allows a landowner to legally proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal take of a listed species.
"Take" is defined in the ESA as harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered species. Harm may include significant habitat modification where it actually kills or injures a listed species through impairment of essential behavior such as feeding or reproduction.
FGS is seeking ITPs for the federally threatened northern spotted owl and Southern Oregon/Northern California Coasts coho salmon. The company has requested that the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Chinook salmon and the Klamath Mountains Province steelhead be included as Covered Species in the aquatic ITP in the event these species become listed in the future.
FGS has requested that Yreka phlox, a protected flower, be included in the terrestrial ITP even though incidental take of a listed plant species cannot be authorized under an ITP. FGS is requesting this coverage in order to gain assurances under the “No Surprises” policy in section 10 of the ESA.
For more information about the HCP program, including ITPs and the "No Surprises" policy, please visit: www.fws.gov/Endangered/hcp/NOSURPR.HTM.
Hard bound copies of the proposed HCP, Implementing Agreement, and DEIS are available for viewing and for partial or complete duplication at the Siskiyou County Library, Yreka Branch (719 4th St., Yreka, Calif., 96097); Happy Camp Branch (PO Box 317, 143 Buckhorn Rd., Happy Camp, Calif., 96039); Etna Branch (PO Box 130, 130 Main St., Etna, Calif., 96027); Mt. Shasta Branch (515 East Alma St., Mt. Shasta, Calif., 96067); Humboldt County Library (1313 3rd St., Eureka, Calif., 95501); Del Norte County Library (190 Price Mall, Crescent City, Calif., 95531); National Marine Fisheries Service (1655 Heindon Rd., Arcata, Calif., 95521); and Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office (1829 South Oregon St., Yreka, Calif., 96097).
A copy of the DEIS and accompanying documents can be viewed on the Web at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/, or at http://www.fws.gov/yreka. Comments regarding the DEIS and related documents, as well as requests for additional information, should be addressed to Lisa Roberts, NMFS, 1655 Heindon Rd., Arcata, Calif., 95521. Written comments may also be sent by facsimile to (707) 825-4840 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments must be received on or before February 11, 2010.