Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extends public comment period on General Conservation Plan for oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County

March 26, 2020

Contact(s):

Ashley McConnell, ashley_mcconnell@fws.gov, 805-677-3301
Hazel Rodriguez, hazel_rodriguez@fws.gov, 805-677-3388



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending the public comment period on a draft General Conservation Plan (GCP) and environmental assessment for oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County.

The draft GCP is a comprehensive strategy to promote the long-term conservation of three rare plant and animal species in Santa Barbara County while allowing the Service to work more efficiently and effectively with existing oil and gas operations and ensure project compliance under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“Through this collaborative approach, the Service will work with oil and gas companies to carry out conservation measures that minimize and offset potential impacts of oil and gas activities in the county on California tiger salamanders and California red-legged frogs, and their habitats, and an endemic rare shrub called Lompoc yerba santa,” said Rachel Henry, habitat conservation plan coordinator with the Service in Ventura. This plan will allow the Service to take a proactive and strategic approach to promote the recovery of these rare species.

The Service is working to provide a more efficient and effective permitting process for applicants whose projects meet issuance criteria pursuant to the ESA. Project proponents seeking a permit under the proposed GCP must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local statutes and regulations. This proposed plan would not circumvent the need for project compliance with other permit requirements for oil and gas projects or other required approval processes that may include county hearings and local approval.

The Service will publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the extension of the public comment period in the Federal Register on March 27, which will extend the public comment period to May 6. Information on how to submit comments will be available at www.federalregister.gov by searching under docket number FWS–R8–ES–2020–N058; FXES11140800000–190–FF08EVEN00.

Working with others is essential to protecting ecosystems that benefit society as a whole. The Service regularly engages conservation partners, the public, landowners, government agencies, and other stakeholders in our ongoing effort to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering protected wildlife, plants, and their habitats.

                                                                                                  -FWS-


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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