Friday Flashback: The promise and pitfalls of regional planning for special status species

Panel 2Panel discusses the pros and cons of Habitat Conservation Plans and Natural Community Conservation Plans

From the archives of Maven’s Notebook:

Original publish date: January 28, 2015

In recent years in an effort to avoid ‘postage stamp’ conservation, many regional planning efforts have been undertaken that allow for development while at the same time, provide for conservation of habitat and species. Known as Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) under federal endangered species regulations and Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) under state endangered species regulations, these regional plans can encompass hundreds of thousands of acres of land or more, cover dozens of species, and involve multiple state and federal agencies as well as the local agencies who are usually the proponents of the plans; not surprisingly, they are costly and very time consuming to produce.

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the example most familiar to Maven’s Notebook readers, but other plans, both large and small, have been prepared and implemented since the first Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act was first enacted in 1991, and updated in 2003.

In this panel from last fall’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, Chris Beale with the Resources Law Group, Loren Clark with the Placer County Planning Department, Clark Morrison, Cox Castle & Nicholson, Kim Delfino with Defenders of Wildlife, Cay Goude with the US Fish and Wildlife Service discuss the promises and pitfalls of regional planning under the federal Endangered Species Act and the state’s Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, focusing on the promises that such plans hold for both development of communities and conservation of species, as well as the difficulties associated with creating an overall plan that involves multiple parties and activities.

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