Habitat Conservation Plans
Through Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with non-Federal entities including private landowners, local and State governments, Tribes, business, and others to conserve and protect listed and unlisted species and their habitats on non-Federal lands. Non-Federal entities who are planning activities that may harm or “take” endangered or threatened wildlife or fish species are required to obtain an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to provide protection from violating the Endangered Species Act.
To determine whether you may need an incidental take permit before implementing your project, we encourage you to contact our office. Our helpful biologists can determine whether an incidental take permit is necessary.
To apply for an incidental take permit pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act, you will need to complete a Habitat Conservation Plan (also referred to as a HCP). HCPs are designed to offset any harmful effects the proposed activity might have on the species. A HCP must include the following basic information:
- impacts likely to result from the proposed taking of the federally listed species for which permit coverage is requested;
- measures that will be implemented to monitor, minimize, and mitigate impacts; funding that will be made available to undertake such measures; and procedures to deal with unforeseen circumstances;
- alternative actions considered to the proposed taking of the species; and
- additional measures the Service may require as necessary or appropriate for purposes of the plan.
Our template for writing a habitat conservation plan can help you get started. A complete incidental take permit application package includes:
- A completed application form 3-200-56
- A HCP
- Application fee of $100
- Signed Implementing Agreement (if applicable)
The Service complies with the National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other related laws for each permit application processed. For further information, contact our HCP Specialist at: 805-644-1766.
The HCP process allows development to proceed while promoting listed species conservation. The “No Surprises” regulation provides assurances to landowners participating in HCP efforts.
Landowners can then contact their local Fish and Wildlife Service office to determine whether a contemplated activity is likely to require an incidental take permit and to begin the application process. The Frequently Asked Questions and HCP handbook contain more details.