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  • Feds grant county Endangered Species Act permit; helps county growth and development

    May 12, 2016 | Read More News
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    OwlU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to issue the Section 10 permit for Pima County’s Multi-species Conservation Plan. A notice has been provided to the public in the Federal Register dated May 13, 2016.  The permit will provide a simpler, faster way for the public and private sectors to address endangered species compliance for new development.

    In issuing its Record of Decision and Findings, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) establishes that the Section 10 permit will rely on the locally-developed plan that was vetted with the public over a period of more than a decade. The Service’s decision recognizes conservation measures that the community has taken over the past 15 years, including the acquisition and management of working ranches and County parks, many of which were acquired with voter-authorized bonds. 

    “The permit provides the County with a streamlined procedure for compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and it relies on a robust set of measures we set forth to avoid, minimize and mitigate actions that will harm endangered species,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “We’re pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to issue this Section 10 permit and recognizes the significant public input that has gone into crafting our Multi-species Conservation Plan.”

    The permit covers up to 36,000 acres of impacts to nine species currently listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and 35 additional species that may become federally protected during the next 30 years.  

    The beginnings of what became Pima County’s Multi-species Conservation Plan (MSCP) came about in the late 1990s, when a tiny but fierce owl protected under the ESA helped to launch an ambitious effort to identify and protect important places for cultural and natural heritage, realign local land-use decisions, and provide certainty to public and private developers.

    Successful voter approvals in 2004 and 2006 for land conservation and transportation funding helped to steer a booming economy away from treasured places such as the Canoa Ranch and Tumamoc Hill. Instead, roads and other infrastructure were extended and re-built in accordance with a locally developed vision that balanced growth and conservation – the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP).

    From this foundation of success, the County worked with the Service to prepare the MSCP. This plan was designed to protect a variety of species and their habitats. As a result, the Service — the Federal agency responsible for enforcement of the ESA in Arizona — has now issued Pima County a federal “Section 10 “ permit that will streamline endangered species compliance for new development and formalize the County’s conservation commitments already made under the SDCP.

    Federal documents may be found at the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/HCPs.htm
    More information about the permit and MSCP is available at www.pima.gov/mscp



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