July 23, 2011 - The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has released a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the construction of a portable generator storage facility in Yolo County, California. AT&T has requested a permit for indirect effects within the site's grasslands inhabited by the federally listed California tiger salamander (CTS). To offset the projects impacts to the threatened central population of the species, AT&T has proposed a series of mitigation measures during construction to avoid impacts and to purchase credits in an approved conservation bank to aid in the preservation of the species in perpetuity.
The Service is requesting public comments on AT&T's application during a 30-day comment period. Information is sought on the HCP and the preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as a "low-effect" habitat conservation plan. Comments on the proposal can be submitted through August 22, 2011.
AT&T has proposed to construct a new storage facility for portable generators within an undeveloped portion of a 45-acre parcel it owns that is located at 26120 County Road 6, Dunnigan, CA 95937. Because the site is known to be habitat for CTS (3 adults observed in October 2010 and larvae observed in April 2011), they have sought a permit for indirect effects within 1.57 acres (1.24 acres permanent plus 0.33 acre temporary) of grasslands associated with the construction.
The draft Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan addresses the potential for take of CTS associated with construction of a storage facility to house emergency generators at an existing telecommunications facility and proposes avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures to help compensate for the impacts of the project.
The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America's native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others. If implemented, AT&T's proposed HCP would protect 3.72 acres of California tiger salamander habitat at a Service and California Department of Fish and Game approved conservation bank. Other mitigation measures in the proposed HCP include installation of exclusion fencing, regular monitoring, relocation of trapped salamanders, surveying for and hand excavating any salamanders burrows observed within the construction footprint, environmental awareness training and more during construction.
Comments concerning the proposed HCP can be sent by U.S. Mail or email through August 22, 2011 to:
Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Branch, Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825; or sent by facsimile to 916-414-6713.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/
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