Carlsbad Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region  

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)


HCPs are designed to conserve and protect federally listed and unlisted species while allowing for changes or alterations to wildlife habitats. 

They are developed by any non-federal landowner in cooperation with the Service when certain project activities may result in the take of a listed species. HCPs are planning documents and required in order to be covered for take.

Through the Conservation Planning program and Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), HCPs simplify the permitting process, save time and money, and provide better protection by planning for entire landscapes rather than smaller project-by-project consultations.

A tool designed to assist all people in accessing natural resource information when planning their project activities may be found on the Service's IPaC system. This system helps project proponents increase the compatibility of their activities with the conservation of Service trust resources regardless of whether they will be implemented within or outside of the ESA arena.

Incidental Take Permit

If an HCP meets specified criteria, including minimizing and mitigating the anticipated take of listed species, the Service issues an incidental take permit allowing the landowner to take federally listed species and proceed with development or other activity.

After receiving an incidental take permit, there are assurances that activities will not be in violation of the ESA and activities may proceed. To learn more about assurances, go to "No Surprises".

Private landowners, corporations, State or local governments, Tribes, or other non-federal landowners conducting activities that might incidentally harm (or "take") endangered or threatened wildlife on their land are required to obtain an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to provide protection from violating the ESA.

Click here to download the Revised HCP Handbook.

Carlsbad HCPs

Many HCPs within Carlsbad's area of responsibility are Regional HCPs covering multiple habitats and numerous species over a large geographic area.

They help communities plan for land use activities while protecting habitat and promoting species conservation. Additionally, they help facilitate partnerships and provide solutions needed to achieve long-term biological and regulatory goals. Species benefit through permanent protection and management of their habitat.

These plans generally include federally listed and non-listed species as well as plants. To view our planning areas, go to our Regional HCP map.

To view documents related to our regional HCPs, visit our Habitat Conservation Plan Documents page.

Because HCPs are designed to balance urban development with wildlife and habitat conservation, HCPs benefit both the landowner and species and are an effective conservation tool.

Carlsbad HCP Fact Sheets

Orange County Central-Coastal NCCP/HCP

Orange County Southern Subregion HCP

Western Riverside County MSHCP - Biological Opinion Documents

San Diego County MSCP

MHCP in San Diego County

Coachella Valley MSHCP

What's next?
To obtain a permit, landowners can contact their local Fish and Wildlife Service office to determine whether an activity is likely to require an incidental take permit and to begin the application process.

If you have additional questions and would like to learn more about the ESA and HCPs, please go to the Endangered Species Act Document Library



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