An HCP may provide for preservation of existing habitat, restoration of degraded or former habitat, creation of new habitat, the establishment of buffers around existing habitat or restrictions on land use or access. An NAHB analysis of the Service’s HCP database shows that these plans cover more than 33 million acres of land across the United States, more than 90% of it in fast-growing states in the West, Southwest and Southeast .
A critical incentive for property owners to set up HCPs is the “No Surprises” policy, which ensures that once the plan is approved, the federal government cannot impose additional conservation and mitigation measures except under limited circumstances that the parties could have foreseen when they struck their agreement. This policy, which is protected and clarified in the new rule, preserves property owners’ substantial investments of time, money and effort in implementing HCPs.
“The ‘No Surprises’ policy is essential to the success of the Habitat Conservation Plan program, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should be commended for recognizing that private property owners play an important role in protecting endangered species, just like environmental groups,” said Rayburn. “We can only hope that Fish & Wildlife can move forward with HCPs and other productive conservation efforts without the delays and financial drain of additional litigation.”
For more information, e-mail Duane Desiderio at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8146, or contact Christopher Galik, x8663.
[ Go to Top ]