Press Release
Draft Pacific Gas and Electric Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle Environmental Assessment and Habitat Conservation Plan Available for Public Review
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment and draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for public review and comment.

The draft HCP covers future operations, maintenance and minor construction associated with critical utility infrastructure and services provided by PG&E that may impact valley elderberry longhorn beetles, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The 477,746-acre permit area covers activities in 12 California counties, including Solano, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Alameda, Stanislaus, Merced, Napa, Santa Clara, San Benito, Fresno, Mariposa and Madera counties. The permit will extend over a 30-year term and fills gaps in coverage for the beetle in PG&E’s three other conservation plans. If finalized, the HCP will streamline the utility’s implementation of routine maintenance activities by replacing the project-by-project consultation model that PG&E and the Service currently operate under.

The draft HCP proposes strategies to avoid, minimize and offset potential impacts of the proposed activities on the beetle. Most potential impacts to beetle habitat are related to vegetation trimming or removal required to maintain required clearances and cannot be avoided. PG&E has proposed to track the extent of permanent and temporary impacts on elderberry shrubs. To offset the effects of these activities and promote survival of the beetle, PG&E will fund the acquisition, enhancement, management or restoration of beetle habitat.

“Habitat conservation plans are a tool that can be used by utility companies in partnership with the Service to balance routine operations and maintenance work with the needs of listed and at-risk species in the project footprint,” said Michael Fris, field supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. “Our partners can contribute to the recovery of listed species by conserving key habitats and taking steps to limit the impacts of their work on the landscape.”

This HCP overlaps other HCPs developed and under implementation by PG&E, including the Multi-Region HCP, Bay Area HCP and San Joaquin HCP. These additional HCPs cover the same operations and maintenance activities on additional listed species in the plan area.

The draft HCP was prepared by PG&E to support its application for an incidental take permit. HCPs are voluntary agreements that ensure the effects of non-federal activities on threatened and endangered species are adequately minimized or mitigated, per Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act. The Service regularly engages conservation partners, the public, landowners, government agencies and other stakeholders in its ongoing effort to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering at-risk species.

The documents are available for public inspection in the Federal Register today and will publish tomorrow, July 10, 2024. The publication will open a 30-day public comment period. The Service will consider comments from all interested parties received by August 9, 2024. The draft documents and information on how to submit comments are available on by searching under docket number FWS–R8–ES–2024–0120.   

For more information about the valley elderberry longhorn beetle, visit

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