News Release

Plan Proposed to Streamline Permitting and Offset Impacts to Endangered Species in Butte County

Public Input Sought at Two Meetings in January

December 14, 2012

Media Contacts:
Robert Moler, robert_moler@fws.gov, (916) 414-6606

Sacramento – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) intend to work together to preserve endangered species and streamline development permitting. To do that, they plan to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for 564,270 acres in the lowlands and foothills of western Butte County. The Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP) is being prepared to preserve the Butte County meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. Californica), a critically endangered species occurring only in Butte County, along with 40 other species (27 animals and 14 plants total) and wetlands within the BRCP permit area. The public comment period on the scope of the EIS/EIR begins December 14, 2012, and ends January 28, 2013.

Two scoping meetings will be held on January 9, 2012, for the public to provide written input on the scope and content of the EIS/EIR. The first scoping meeting will be held at the Oroville City Council Chambers, 1735 Montgomery Street, Oroville, California from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The second meeting will be held in the BCAG Conference Room, 2580 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, Suite 100, Chico, California from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. These meetings will be identical in format and content.

The public scoping meetings on the 9th are separate from the BRCP public workshops that will be held on January 15 and 16, 2013. At those meetings the public will be able to learn about the main components of the Preliminary Public Draft BRCP. For more information on the Preliminary Public Draft BRCP and its associated public workshop dates, please visit: http://www.buttehcp.com/.

America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species a shared responsibility. Together with the local community, the state and federal agencies are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.

The BRCP will serve as a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the federal Endangered Species Act, and a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act. HCPs and NCCPs are federal and state plans that allow for a streamlined permitting process because conservation measures are laid out, agreed upon, and implemented on a landscape scale that is most beneficial for the species involved - humans included.

Before those plans can be completed, an EIS/EIR must be prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They will describe the underlying purpose and need of the BRCP for the Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to issue permits to the permit applicants. An EIS/EIR will include an analysis of the effects of implementation of the BRCP on the human environment, consider and evaluate a range of alternatives, and describe the existing environment that could be affected by approval and implementation of the BRCP.

Written comments will be accepted at the January 9th meetings and by one of the following methods. Please note that your comments are in reference to the Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP):

  • U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way,
    Room W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.
  • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call 916-414-6600 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off comments or view received comments at the above U.S. mail address.
  • Fax: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 916-414-6713, Attn.: Mike Thomas.

For more detailed information regarding the EIS/EIR or the public meetings, visit http://www.buttehcp.com/. Persons needing special accommodations in order to attend scoping meetings should contact Chris Devine at (530) 879-2468 no later than one week before the public meeting.