U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host public meeting Feb. 21 on Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation PlanTuesday, February 12th, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s review of Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan is a momentous step in the County’s 15-year effort to balance growth and development with protection of native plant and animal species and habitats.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comment on the plan and on its own draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the plan until March 15.
The public is invited to a meeting hosted by the Service 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, where the Service will provide information and accept written comments.
The Multi-Species Conservation Plan is essentially Pima County’s application for a permit, under the Endangered Species Act, to “take” (harm, harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect) threatened and endangered species, when the taking is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity such as construction. Such a permit 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 to certain private development projects. The Plan minimizes and mitigates the effects of incidental take primarily by monitoring and managing the lands the County has already acquired as open space and habitats for the 44 species included in the permit. Should additional lands be necessary to provide mitigation, the 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.
The Service will evaluate all comments made by the public and will publish a final Environmental Impact Statement. Permit issuance from the Service is expected in early 2014 and will require approval by the Pima County Board of Supervisors.