By SDCN Editor
Carlsbad, CA–The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is making available for public review and comment a draft Habitat Conservation Plan amendment and associated environmental documents related to San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.
In 1995, the Service issued an incidental take permit to SDG&E. The draft plan announced today amends the original 1995 permit to include the entire 2.8 million-acre SDG&E service area in all of San Diego County and portions of Orange and Riverside counties. The draft plan amendment proposes coverage for 41 listed species including Hermes copper butterfly and San Diego thornmint and unlisted sensitive species such as burrowing owl.
The draft amendment includes an eagle conservation plan required by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Service’s 2016 Final Rule revising the regulations that govern its eagle take permit program. The eagle conservation plan will provide continued coverage of bald and golden eagles under the plan amendment.
The draft plan amendment proposes allowing up to 400 acres of permanent habitat impacts and 210 acres of temporary impacts from operations and maintenance and minor new construction and 210 acres of habitat impacts from wildfire fuels management within SDG&E’s service area through 2050.
The conservation strategy focuses primarily on avoidance and minimization of impacts to species. However, where impacts are unavoidable, SDG&E will mitigate through habitat restoration or purchase of mitigation credits.
All supporting documents, including the draft plan amendment, environmental assessment, and eagle conservation plan will be available on Aug. 10 at regulations.gov. You can find them by searching under docket number FWS-R8-ES-2022-0027. All comments and information must be received by Sept. 9.
Comments on the draft documents can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, and enter “San Diego Gas & Electric plan Amendment” in the subject line. You can also submit comments in writing to: Assistant Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2177 Salk Avenue, Suite 250, Carlsbad, CA 92008.