The last two of five open houses about Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s draft assessment of that plan are scheduled next week:
- Monday, Jan. 28, 5-7 p.m., Abrams Public Health Center, Room 1106-1108, 3950 S. Country Club Road.
- Tuesday, Jan. 29, 4:30-7 p.m., Pima County Housing Center (“El Banco”), 801 W. Congress St.
The Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation is hosting an open house in each supervisorial district to provide information about the benefits of the Multi-Species Conservation Plan and the permit the County is seeking under the Endangered Species Act. Staff will present an overview of the plan with questions and answers in the first hour of each meeting.
The first open house on Jan. 14 was in District 1; the second on Jan. 22 was in District 3 and the third on Jan. 24 was in District 4. The Jan. 28 open house is in District 2, and the Jan. 29 open house is in District 5.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comment on the Multi-Species Conservation Plan and the Service’s draft Environmental Impact Statement until March 15, 2013. The Service will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department conference room, 3500 W. River Road, to provide information and accept written comments.
Under the Endangered Species Act it is normally illegal to “take” (harm, harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect) threatened and endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may issue permits to take federally listed species provided the taking is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity. Issuing such an incidental take permit to Pima County requires the development of – and commitment to – a habitat conservation plan that minimizes and mitigates the effects of incidental take on federally listed species.
Pima County has applied for a permit for incidental take of 44 species, including five animal and two plant species currently listed under the Endangered Species Act. The permit would apply to County construction and maintenance activities and, as presented in the draft Multi-Species Conservation Plan, to certain private development projects. The draft Plan’s primary approach to mitigating the effects of incidental take is to monitor and manage those lands that the County has already acquired as open space to maintain and enhance habitats for the 44 species included in the permit. In the future, should additional lands be necessary to provide mitigation, the Multi-Species Conservation Plan allows for the acquisition of additional open space lands.
Both the draft Multi-Species Conservation Plan and the draft Environmental Impact Statement can be viewed at http://www.pima.gov/cmo/sdcp/MSCP/MSCP.html.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please email the Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation at MSCP@pima.gov or call (520) 740-6440.