Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for a Subdivision in Calaveras County Offers Conservation Measures for the California Tiger Salamander
June 18, 2012
Sacramento --The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is requesting public comments on a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the construction of a 15 lot subdivision on the north side of Highway 12 in northwest Calaveras County just west of Burson. To offset the project’s effects to the threatened California tiger salamander (Central California Distinct Population Segment), the developer proposes to protect 54 acres of the 109 acre project site, including an onsite pond, in perpetuity.
Mr. Juan San Bartolome wants to build the subdivision on an undeveloped area of grassland and has requested a permit for any indirect effects the project may have on the federally-listed California tiger salamander that inhabit the project site. The proposed subdivision layout was designed to permanently retain all aquatic habitats and the most suitable upland habitats for tiger salamander and to preserve open space corridors that may serve as an overland migration route for the species.
The Federal Register notice, draft HCP and draft Screening Form and draft Environmental Action Statement are available for review at: http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/.
This announcement opens a 30-day comment period on Mr. Bartolome’s proposed HCP that will end July 18, 2012. Comments can be submitted by mail or facsimile to:
Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Branch
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office
2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605
Sacramento, California 95825
The Service is seeking information specifically on the HCP and the preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as a “low-effect” habitat conservation plan. In addition to the acreage proposed to be protected in perpetuity, Mr. Bartolome proposed a series of conservation measures that would be implemented during and after construction to avoid potentially negative impacts to the species. Those conservation measures include installation of exclusion fencing, an education program for employees, a 15 mile an hour speed limit, and a construction schedule that avoids the rainy season and nighttime work when the species is most active.
The California tiger salamander has been on the Endangered Species List since 2004. It is an amphibian, seven to eight inches long, with a broad, rounded snout. It is black with white or pale yellow spots on the back and sides and its belly is usually white or pale yellow. The species is restricted to grasslands and low foothill regions with vernal pools or seasonal ponds. Populations of the California tiger salamander have declined because of the loss and fragmentation of its habitat from human activities and the encroachment of nonnative predators.
America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species a shared responsibility. We’re working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.