OLYMPIA—A series of six meetings this spring will offer Washington citizens an opportunity to learn about two habitat conservation plans (HCPs) being developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The meetings are the first step in a continuing public outreach effort being undertaken as part of the multi-year HCP development process. In addition, an informational website on the HCP development process is available on the WDFW website at http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/hcp/index.html
“Public involvement is essential to the success of the habitat conservation plan development process,” said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings, Ph.D.
“These meetings are just the first in a series of opportunities for citizens to ask questions and share their views.”
HCPs are long-term plans aimed at providing certainty that approved activities meet federal species-protection requirements. Over the past decade, HCPs have been developed by a variety of entities, including state agencies, to ensure that various management activities are carried out in compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
When the HCPs are completed and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the plans will provide long-term certainty of compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) for WDFW’s Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) program and management and operation of WDFW wildlife areas.
The Wildlife Areas HCP will cover activities associated with habitat enhancement and restoration, as well as maintenance, recreation and other activities on WDFW lands. The Hydraulic Project Approval HCP will cover activities authorized under the HPA program, which reviews proposed activities in and near water to ensure fish and shellfish and their habitat is protected.
Both HCPs were started in January 2006 and are proceeding on similar timeframes.
The upcoming public meetings are the first in a series of public-involvement efforts in the multi-year HCP development process. The meetings will address both HCPs, and breakout sessions will offer more detailed information specific to each HCP. All meetings will run from 7-8:30 p.m. Meeting dates and locations are:
- Yakima: April 30,Yakima Regional Library, 102 N. 3rd St.
- Cashmere: May 1, Cashmere Community Center, 201 Riverside Drive,
- Spokane: May 2, Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave.
- Mount Vernon: May 8, Room F-101 (Ford Hall), Skagit Valley Community College, 2405 E. College Way
- Lacey: May 10, Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. S.E.
- Vancouver: May 15, Vancouver Community Library, 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd.
Details on the HCP development process are available on the WDFW website at http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/hcp/index.html. For more information contact Jennifer Quan, Wildlife Areas HCP project lead, at (360) 902-2508 or Marc Daily, Hydraulic Project Approval HCP project lead, at (360) 902-2526.