Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Local conservation plan: a national model

The Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan is getting national attention. The plan, which is being developed by two Inland Empire cities and eight water agencies to protect the Santa Ana sucker and 22 other threatened or endangered species, is one of a handful of major Habitat Conservation Plans that are being showcased Nov. 9 - 10 at the inaugural meeting of the National Habitat Conservation Plan Coalition meeting in Shepherdstown, W.V. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe are expected to attend the meeting. “We’re trying to promote the fact that it is far more cost effective for agencies to work together to develop and implement landscape-level Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) than to shoulder the cost of these plans individually,” said Heather Dyer, water resources project manager for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. Valley District is sharing the cost of developing the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan with nine other agencies in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. While the Santa Ana sucker has received the most publicity in recent years, the HCP will actually cover 23 federal or state-listed endangered or threatened species as well as non-listed species determined to be at risk for future listing. The Upper Santa Ana River HCP is on the forefront of HCP planning as it primarily focuses on water supply projects as its covered activities. Approximately 100,000 acre-feet per year of water would be captured by the projects proposed for Endangered Species Act coverage in the plan. To offset the impacts of removing surface water from a system inhabited by federally and state protected aquatic-dependent species, the HCP team will collaboratively provide water augmentation in new or existing streams that will benefit the sucker and other species while simultaneously recharging groundwater basins and providing riparian habitat...more

No comments: