Why is this project necessary?
Yuba and Sutter counties are home to a bounty of plants and wildlife. These natural resources help make the counties great places to live, work, and enjoy the outdoors. Our communities are thriving. But as our communities of people continue to grow, the landscape is changing in ways that could put the futures of our natural communities at risk. These changes also delay or interfere with our ability to meet the needs of our growing population. When plants and wildlife become listed as threatened or endangered, they are protected by federal and state laws that directly affect how we can use the land or water where they occur.
Why prepare an HCP/NCCP?
By addressing requirements in a comprehensive way, an HCP/NCCP can anticipate and prevent the controversies and gridlock that can occur when plans for community development and economic growth must comply with land use and endangered species regulations.
How does this Plan help our region?
- The YSRCP will provide a number of benefits to the counties of Yuba and Sutter and its residents and businesses. Specifically, the YSRCP will…
- provide a comprehensive approach to the acquisition, improvement and permanent protection of agricultural areas and key important habitat;
- provide long-term stability of plant and wildlife communities by focusing not just on the species, but the habitat they need to survive;
- standardize regulatory compliance by permitting land uses and activities for a specified period of time;
- facilitate construction and maintenance of critical public infrastructure, including roads, flood protection projects, county parks, and recreational trails. Streamlined approvals for these important projects helps to ensure the continued economic development of the region;
- provide new funding, via state and federal grants and other sources, to acquire land and enhance existing open space with high habitat values;
- strengthen local General Plans that focus urban growth within cities and encourages continued agricultural preservation and ranching activities in rural areas via best management practices and conservation easements;
- provide a streamlined, standardized, and predictable process to obtain endangered species permits. Enables project proponents to acquire all endangered species authorizations directly from the local planning counter, rather than state or federal wildlife agencies. This establishes greater regulatory and economic certainty;
- create partnerships with the regulatory agencies, local landowners, public entities, and municipalities that will improve relations among the parties; and
- create a new market for willing sellers of land either by fee title or conservation easement (no use of eminent domain).
How do you know this is a good strategy for conservation in our area?
Agencies have been using HCP’s for more than 25 years to accomplish conservation goals and the Yuba-Sutter HCP/NCCP is benefiting from their knowledge, experience, and lessons learned.
How will the YSRCP reduce the cost of regulatory compliance?
The YSRCP will provide efficient use of taxpayer funds by covering a wide range of projects with a comprehensive conservation and impact mitigation plan rather than planning compliance case-by-case.
Are the school districts involved?
Yes, local school districts are involved in the process, as Participating Special Entities.
What’s a Participating Special Entity?
Organizations not subject to the jurisdiction of the Permittees may have projects or ongoing activities within the plan area that could affect covered species and that may require take authorization. Such organizations may include school districts, water districts, irrigation districts, transportation agencies, local park districts, geologic hazard abatement districts, or other utilities or special districts that own land or provide public services. These agencies and organizations, known as Participating Special Entities, can request coverage under the NCCP/HCP during Plan implementation; such coverage would provide take authorization for their projects.
What’s the history of this plan?
In 2001, Caltrans began the planning process for improvements to State Routes 70 and 99 in Yuba and Sutter Counties. Early environmental review indicated that the roadway improvement projects would affect federally listed species and would lead to additional cumulative effects, because the roadway improvements would prompt additional urban development within these corridors.
In order to ensure compliance with FESA, the Service recommended preparation of an HCP, to which the Counties and Caltrans agreed. The parties agreed to interim planning guidelines during preparation of the HCP, which allowed the Service to issue a biological opinion to allow the roadway projects to proceed. The Counties, Service, CDFW, and Caltrans formed a working group in accordance with the provisions of the biological opinion. The working group evaluated conservation planning approaches, and the Counties pursued grant funding. The working group agreed to address the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), as well as the federal Act, by preparing a combined HCP/NCCP.
Work on the YSRCP began in 2004 and resulted in delineation of the plan area boundaries, determination of the covered species, and identification of the permit applicants. Development of the YSRCP is still in progress. In 2012, the permit applicants, CDFG, and the Service entered into the YSRCP Planning Agreement. The planning agreement set out the initial scope of the program and defined the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the development of the YSRCP. The planning agreement has helped guide the YSRCP planning process and to define the initial scope of the effort. Sutter County served as the lead in coordination of the process and preparation of the YSRCP.
Who are the applicants for the YSRCP?
Who are issuing the permits for the YSRCP?