Sacramento Fish & Wildlife OfficeServing the people, conserving the fish, wildlife, and plants of California
Habitat Conservation Plans
The Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company celebrated the signing of the “PG&E Bay Area Habitat Conservation Plan Operations and Maintenance” in November 2017. The HCP is a result of the successful partnership between the Service and PG&E to ensure the needs of communities throughout the Bay Area and local wildlife are met.
Conservation of wildlife and open spaces does not have to be in conflict with economic growth and development. Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) provide a pathway forward to balance wildlife conservation with development. The primary objective of the HCP program is to conserve species and the ecosystems they depend on while streamlining permitting for economic development.
Provided for by the Endangered Species Act, "regional" HCPs (such as teh East Contra Costa HCP/NCCP and the Santa Clara Valley HCP/NCCP) are a successful conservation tool because they can anticipate, prevent, and resolve controversies and conflict associated with project-by-project permitting. They do this by addressing these issues on a large regional scale, collaboratively and over the long term.
Working with landowners, local communities, the State, environmental organizations, and other interested parties, regional HCPs have shown that we don’t need to choose between protection of our wildlife and economic development – we can do both.
Harming Listed Species. Endangered and threatened species often occur on non-Federal land. (Private, corporate, state, local or tribal) Otherwise-lawful activities on this land can harm protected species or their habitat. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) calls that harm take and prohibits it.
HCPs are planning documents prepared by non-federal parties as part of an application for an incidental take permit. An HCP includes:
- An assessment of the likely impacts on protected species
- Measures that will be taken to minimize and mitigate for impacts
- An analysis of alternatives not chosen
- Funding assurances
- Measures that will be taken to monitor and manage species and their habitats
If the application and the HCP meet all regulatory requirements, we issue an incidental take permit. This allows the party to legally proceed with an activity that otherwise would result in unlawful take of a protected species.
Conservation Plans and Strategies
There are instances where developing an HCP is unnecessary because of the relatively low level of planned development that would typically justify the need for and adequately fund a regional HCP. Our office has worked with the local communities of East Alameda, Santa Rosa and Suisun to develop long-term programs intended to mitigate adverse impacts on protected species in balance with the needs of the communities affected.
- Eagle Lake Trout Conservation Strategy (1.61MB | PDF)
- East Alameda Conservation Strategy
- Santa Rosa Plain Conservation Strategy
- Suisun Marsh Management Plan
Where to Start?
Contact the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Conservation, Planning and Recovery Division to determine whether a contemplated activity is likely to require an incidental take permit and to begin the application process. (916) 414-6678 (Ask for the HCP coordinator)
Some Major HCPs Within Our Jurisdiction
Regional HCPs Under Development
For a complete list of HCPs across the country, visit our national Conservation Plans & Agreements Database.
- Secretary Jewell Highlights Landmark Contra Costa Partnership Benefiting Imperiled Species, Supporting Economic Growth
- Smart Planning Completed for Development and Habitat Conservation for Santa Clara Valley
HCP Case Study
- Visit the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy website to get a better idea of how the HCP was developed.
- The Conservancy's booklet (1.8 MB PDF) about the plan is an excellent introduction to regional HCPs.
National HCP Information
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Last updated: June 21, 2019