Certificate of Coverage Program

***2018 MPA Common Ground "Programs & Policies" Award Winner***

 

Cut red tape, reduce project costs & protect places for wildlife. 

 If you are building a home, a subdivision, or a commercial project in unincorporated Pima County, you are invited to participate in Pima County's award-winning Certificate of Coverage Program.
Certificate Example

This voluntary, no- or low-cost program offers an easy way to: 
*Ensure project grading complies with federal endangered species rules*
*Simplify requirements for certain federal permits and County regulations*
*Avoid costly surveys for protected plants and animals*
*Reduce risk during project planning, permitting, and construction*


Six Bar RanchThis award-winning program is part of Pima County's Multi-species Conservation Plan (MSCP). The MSCP outlines the County's commitment to provide all the mitigation necessary to compensate for the environmental impacts of both public and private development projects over the next 30 years. In exchange for this commitment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued the County a federal "Section 10" Permit, which allows development projects in unincorporated areas to proceed without having to go through individual consultations with the USFWS or conduct multi-year surveys for protected plants and animals. All of that work is already done. Private landowners and developers can enjoy these benefits -- but only by participating in the Certificate of Coverage Program.


Visit "Getting a Certificate of Coverage" for information about applying for Section 10 coverage.

County Development
To learn more about how this innovative program can reduce risk during all stages of development, from project planning to permitting and construction, check out this article in the June 2018 Trend Report.

Under this program, Pima County will protect wildlife habitat for every acre developed.


Read more about the program details below, and contact us at 520-724-6940 or S10PrivateLandAdmin@pima.gov if you have any questions.

1. Eligibility

To be eligible, your project has to: 
  • Involve grading and ground disturbance; and 
  • Be on private property in unincorporated Pima County; and
  • Need one of the following:
    • A building permit authorizing the grading of 14,000 square feet or more; OR
    • A site construction permit to develop a subdivision or commercial or industrial facility.

2. Fees

No fees are required if you get a Certificate of Coverage through a building permit.

Fees are required if you get a Certificate of Coverage through a site construction permit
  • Application Fee ($720): Covers the County's cost to review and process an application for a Certificate of Coverage. 
  • Compliance Monitoring Fee ($2450): Assessed only when the project has certain existing natural open space set-asides, and covers the County's cost to monitor these lands as required by the Section 10 permit.

3. Coverage and Expiration

When you get a Certificate of Coverage, the grading and ground disturbance you do as part of a building permit or site construction permit is ‘covered’ by the County's Section 10 permit, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This means that the grading and ground disturbance is in full compliance with federal endangered species rules.

That also means the County, not you, is responsible for acquiring and protecting undisturbed native desert and riparian areas to off-set your project’s impacts. 

Coverage is limited to the grading and ground disturbance allowed by the building permit or site construction permit only.  It does not apply to any activity that happens after the grading and ground disturbance is completed.

Each time you apply for a building or site construction permit and you want the grading and ground disturbance to be covered, you must indicate you want a Certificate of Coverage on your permit application.

A Certificate of Coverage will expire after six (6) years if the grading activities allowed by the building or site construction permit have not been completed.

4. Simplified Requirements for Certain County Regulations & Federal Permits

County Native Plant Preservation Rules: Participation in the Certificate of Coverage Program may simplify your compliance with Pima County’s Native Plant Preservation Ordinance.  If your project impacts one or more of the 3 species listed below and NPPO compliance requires you to mitigate by providing replacement or supplemental plants, you can use a Certificate of Coverage to satisfy those mitigation requirements. 

*Pima pineapple cactus
*Needle-spined pineapple cactus
*Huachuca water-umbel

For more information on how participation in the Certificate of Coverage program can simplify compliance with the Native Plant Preservation Ordinance, contact Jenny Neeley, Pima County Program Manager at (520) 724-9487, or discuss the matter with Thomas Drzazgowski, Chief Zoning Inspector at (520)724-9522.

Clean Water Act 404 Permits: Development projects that impact certain wetlands, streambeds, washes, or other waterways may need a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit, which is issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If your project needs one of the more common types of 404 permits, such as certain “Nationwide” or “General” permits, participating in the Certificate of Coverage program may simplify your 404 application process.  It could potentially even eliminate the need for additional federal endangered species consultations or surveys.

For more information on how participation in the Certificate of Coverage program could streamline the Clean Water Act 404 permit process for your project, please call Julia Fonseca, Pima County Environmental Planning Manager at 724-6940, or discuss the matter with Michael Langley, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at 602-230-6953.

5. Coverage by Building Permit

If your project involves grading, you will have a chance to decide if you want a Certificate of Coverage when you apply for a building permit. The relevant building permit checklists include a question asking whether you want a Certificate of Coverage for your project. If you want coverage, all you have to do to is say ‘Yes’.  If your project is eligible, a Certificate of Coverage will be authorized and a statement confirming coverage will be printed on your building permit.

If you do not want a Certificate of Coverage, you must say ‘No’.

Please note that coverage will be provided to an eligible project unless you decline it.

Visit "Getting a Certificate of Coverage" to learn more about using a building permit to get a Certificate of Coverage.

6. Coverage by Site Construction Permit

You will have a chance to decide if you want a Certificate of Coverage when you apply for a site construction permit. The site construction permit checklist includes a question asking whether you want a Certificate of Coverage for your project. If you want coverage, you must say ‘Yes’ to start the process and include your ‘Yes’ response as part of your site construction permit application materials. Once that is done, you will receive an email shortly after that prompting you to submit an application for a Certificate of Coverage to the Office of Sustainability and Conservation.  Fees will be required; see the "Fees" section above.

No action on your part is required if you do not want a Certificate of Coverage.

Please note that coverage cannot be provided unless you request it.

Visit "Getting a Certificate of Coverage" to learn more about using a site construction permit to get a Certificate of Coverage.

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Conservation Science

201 N. Stone Ave., 6th FL
Tucson, AZ 85701

(520) 724-6940


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