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Non-Federal entities who are planning activities that may harm endangered or threatened wildlife or fish species are required to obtain a permit from our agency under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) and General Conservation Plans (GCPs) provide a path to balance wildlife conservation with the needs of the community and local economies.

These needs may include a variety of needs from agriculture and ranching operations to infrastructure maintenance and residential development. The primary objective of the HCP and GCP programs is to take a strategic approach to conserve species and the ecosystems they depend on while improving efficiencies in permitting processes. We review HCPs and GCPs developed by a wide range of landowners and partners from community developers to county planners. Our review helps ensure that mitigation measures are included in the plan to minimize impacts to listed species and results in conservation for the species in the area. Our review and approval of the project results in issuing a permit for the project to the landowner. The public has an opportunity to comment on projects before they are permitted. 

These GCPs provide a comprehensive strategy to promote the long-term conservation of the Santa Barbara County distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander while allowing the Service to work more efficiently and effectively with landowners in the county and ensure their compliance under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through this collaborative approach, the Service will work with proponents engaged in activities associated with cultivation activities to to meet statutory and regulatory requirements while promoting conservation of the Santa Barbara County distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander. The plan allows the Service to take a comprehensive analysis of cultivation activities in Santa Barbara County and ensure conservation is being implemented in a way that aids recovery of the species.

To apply for an incidental take permit under one of the below GCPs, please use the Service's Eligibility Determination document to help with deciding whether your project, or projects, may be eligible for an ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) permit under the GCP. The GCP is designed to cover cultivation activities that overlap with the Santa Barbara County distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander and its habitat. If eligible, the Eligibility Determination document will inform you of the next steps. To apply, submit your completed and signed eligibility determination, Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application Form, and Individual Project Package electronically to sbc-cultivationgcp@fws.gov with the subject line “GCP Company Name Permit Application.” Mail the hardcopy of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application and $100 processing fee to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003. Applicants are required to submit Individual Project Packages for Covered Activities occurring in the Planning Area. Individual Project Packages must be submitted as part of the Project Application Package. Section 5 of the GCP provides additional information on Individual Project Package and Project Application Package. The Project Application Package must be approved by the Service.

Final conservation plan and environmental assessment to support conservation and recovery of federally protected species associated with oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a general conservation plan (conservation plan) and environmental assessment (EA) to support conservation and recovery of federally protected species including California tiger salamanders and California red-legged frogs and their habitats, and an endemic rare shrub called Lompoc yerba santa, as part of operations, construction, maintenance, and decommissioning activities at existing oil and gas facilities in Santa Barbara County.  

The conservation plan identifies compensatory mitigation to support the species’ long-term recovery and takes a proactive, comprehensive, and strategic approach to recovery actions while ensuring Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance. Under the Service’s conservation plan, oil and gas companies first need to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local statutes and regulations. The Service, which is not an authorizing entity for these projects, may then issue a permit under Section 10 (a) (1) (B) of the ESA. The conservation plan does not circumvent the need for project compliance with other permit requirements for oil and gas projects or other required approval processes such as county hearings and local or state approval. Applicants will be required to provide the Service with proof of compliance with all other laws and regulations prior to applying for an incidental take permit. All permit applications that are received under the conservation plan will be noticed in the Federal Register for public review and comment prior to issuance of an incidental take permit.  Under the conservation plan, permit applicants will be required to meet or exceed a high bar to demonstrate conservation actions for protected species.


Recovery Plan for the Santa Barbara County Distinct Population Segment of the California Tiger Salamander

Interim Guidance on Site Assessment and Field Surveys for Determining Presence or a Negative Finding of the California Tiger Salamander

Conservation Strategy and Mitigation Guidance for the Santa Barbara County DPS of the California Tiger Salamander 

A sunrise peeking over a field of flowers
Established in 1987, the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office works to conserve and protect threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants across the central and southern California coast, collaborating with communities and conservation partners to build a future that supports both people and our...
A face-shot of California tiger salamander on top of green groundcover

California tiger salamander is a large, stocky, terrestrial salamander with a broad, rounded snout. Adults males are about 8 inches long, females a little less than 7 inches. Coloration consists of a black back and sides with white or pale yellow spots or bars. The belly varies from almost...

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