New Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan Seek to Protect Ecodiversity in Western Placer County
On July 22, 2021, federal, state and local partners held a signing ceremony in Lincoln to mark the Western Placer County Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan’s (HCP/NCCP) transition into implementation. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) approved the HCP/NCCP in April 2021.
The Western Placer County HCP/NCCP is the 17th NCCP permit issued by CDFW since the NCCP Act was created in 1991 and is now the fourth NCCP approved in northern California. CDFW’s NCCP program takes a broad-based ecosystem approach to planning for the protection and perpetuation of biological diversity. It is the state-level complement to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s HCP program. The issuance of an NCCP permit ensures regional protection of the plan’s covered species and their habitats, while allowing compatible urban and rural growth, and the construction and maintenance of needed infrastructure.
The Western Placer County HCP/NCCP will conserve more than 47,000 acres of habitat for 14 covered species, including Swainson’s hawk (state threatened), tricolored blackbird (state threatened), California black rail (state threatened, state fully protected), giant garter snake (state threatened, federal threatened), and foothill yellow-legged frog (state threatened). The Western Placer County HCP/NCCP is also the first HCP/NCCP to provide for the conservation of fall-/late fall-run Chinook salmon (state Species of Special Concern; federal Species of Concern, Magnuson-Stevens Act managed species) and central valley steelhead (California Central Valley Distinct Population Segment, federal threatened) and associated incidental take authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The approved Western Placer County HCP/NCCP will allow for streamlined species permitting at the local level by Placer County, City of Lincoln, Placer County Water Agency, South Placer Regional Transportation Authority and the Placer Conservation Authority. In addition to the HCP/NCCP, implementation of the Western Placer County Aquatic Resources Plan and In-Lieu Fee Program will streamline state and federal permitting for activities covered under the HCP/NCCP impacting streams, wetlands and other aquatic resources.
The final Western Placer County HCP/NCCP is posted online at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Planning/NCCP/Plans/Placer-County.
Sara Kern, CDFW Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, (916) 531-4465
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714