U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Sacramento Fish & Wildlife OfficeServing the people, conserving the fish, wildlife, and plants of California

A Unit Of The Pacific Southwest Region

News Release

Draft Aera Energy Habitat Conservation Plan Available for Public Review

February 28, 2020

Media Contact:
Meghan Snow, Phone: (916) 414-6671, Email: meghan_snow@fws.gov

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment for the Block 12 Development Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The draft HCP prepared by Aera Energy covers future construction, drilling, operations and maintenance, and plugging and abandonment of oil wells as the company expands an existing oil field on 55 acres. The 503-acre, privately-owned permit area is located in Kern County, California. The permit will extend over a 35-year term.

The draft HCP proposes strategies to avoid, minimize and offset potential effects of the proposed activities on four federally listed endangered species, including the Blunt-nosed leopard lizard, Giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox and Kern mallow. The applicant has proposed to permanently preserve and maintain more than 100 acres of high-quality habitat for the species. The applicant is also proposing to integrate avoidance and disturbance minimization actions on the lands proposed for development.

The draft HCP was prepared by Aera Energy to support its application for an incidental take permit. Habitat conservation plans are a necessary part of an application for an incidental take permit under 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 proposal will publish in the Federal Register on March 2, 2020. The publication opens a 30-day public comment period. The draft HCP, draft Environmental Assessment and information on how to submit comments is available on www.regulations.gov by searching under the docket number FWS–R8–ES–2018–0116.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/Sacramento. Connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

Last updated: February 28, 2020