The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft habitat conservation plan and environmental assessment that balance the need for recreational opportunities with conservation of native wildlife and plant species within 5,005 acres of Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in San Luis Obispo County. The Service will accept written comments until December 21.
The Service is working with California State Parks to avoid, minimize and offset the effects of public use and management activities on federally-listed wildlife and plant species including the western snowy plover, California least tern, California red-legged frog, tidewater goby, Gambel’s watercress, La Graciosa thistle, marsh sandwort and Nipomo Mesa lupine, as well as the state-listed surf thistle and beach spectacle pod.
Habitat conservation plans are required under the Endangered Species Act for issuance of an incidental take permit. “The draft plan allows California State Parks to take a strategic approach to protect and promote the recovery of rare species while continuing to provide recreational opportunities for the local community and visitors,” says Lena Chang, senior fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A notice of availability will publish in the Federal Register on November 5, opening a 45-day public comment period. The Service will consider comments from all interested parties received by December 21. Information on how to submit comments is available at www.federalregister.gov by searching under docket number FWS-R8-ES-2019-N014.
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.
State Parks made a previous draft of the HCP available in February 2020 as part of their EIR public comment period; a redlined version of the February 2020 draft is available on State Park’s public website at www.oceanoduneshcp.com.