What happened to the Endangered Species Act Habitat Conservation Plan?
A Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is a management strategy that provides long-term certainty of Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance related to a particular set of activities, while providing for conservation of species. WDFW initiated the HCP development project in 2006 to assure that agency permitting actions contribute to conservation and recovery of species protected under the ESA, and to provide federal ESA assurances to permit holders for activities conducted under an HPA. From 2006-2012, WDFW received grants from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an HCP for the HPA program. Updating and improving HPA rules was a centerpiece to HCP development and an advisory group comprising representatives from federal fish agencies, tribes, state agencies, and stakeholders had been working with WDFW to identify impacts and develop recommended changes to the HPA rules.
When support for the HCP waned in spring 2012, WDFW discontinued work on it. However, WDFW is still committed to moving forward with improvements to HPA rules to ensure permit decisions employ current scientific knowledge, to increase certainty for applicants, and to streamline the HPA approval process.
Following is HPA HCP information that was available on the WDFW web site when the HCP project was active:
It will provide long-term assurances that activities conducted under an HPA comply with the federal Endangered Species Act.
- It will streamline the permitting process for projects that require HPAs and other regulatory permits subject to ESA review.
- It will provide management strategies for the protection of up to 52 fish, shellfish, and other aquatic species and their habitats.
- It will contribute to species conservation and recovery, while continuing to permit development activities that require an HPA.
Habitat Conservation Plans identify actions, called “conservation measures,” that describe how the plan will protect covered species. The Hydraulic Code rules specify what a proponent must do to protect fish life when building, maintaining, or removing a hydraulic project. WDFW is revising the Hydraulic Code rules. The revised rules will include the HCP’s conservation measures, and describe specific methods to protect covered species.
Anyone who applies for and receives a Hydraulic Project Approval will be affected by the HCP.
Up to fifty-two species of fish and shellfish, including salmonids, rockfish, and shellfish will be included.
WDFW is actively seeking input from other governmental agencies, tribes, businesses, environmental groups, and the interested public. For current opportunities to provide input, please visit our public involvment page or, for tribes, our co-managers page.
You can ask for specific information or be added to our mailing list by contacting the HCP team directly.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or contact Randi Thurston (project manager)
by phone: 360-902-2602
by mail: Habitat Program
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501.
WDFW will provide specific opportunities to comment on the draft rules (in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act and on the draft HCP. In addition, the federal Services and WDFW will seek public comment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).