SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are pleased to announce the issuance of a regional general permit (RGP) authorizing activities in wetlands and other waters for 175,000 acres under the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan.
“The RGP is the first of its kind in the western U.S. and will certainly serve as a model for others,” said Michael S. Jewell, chief of regulatory for the Corps’ Sacramento District.
The Corps’ RGP is part of an overall strategy to support large-scale conservation plans that proactively determine conservation goals, permitting requirements, infrastructure and developer fees all at once. The RGP is expected to speed approval for activities in waterways that are compliant with the Clean Water Act.
“Instead of seeking permits project-by-project, we’re looking 30 years into the future to anticipate development and conservation requirements,” said Joel Bryant, Brentwood City councilmember and conservancy chair. “The Corps’ permit is expected to greatly increase certainty for applicants while reducing the amount of paperwork and time required to authorize developments. This will benefit the regional economy by facilitating crucial public and private projects.”
A key benefit of large-scale conservation planning is the ability to assemble an extensive network of protected areas. The conservation plan was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and seven local agencies, and will set aside up to 30,300 acres of land for the benefit of 28 wildlife species, their habitat and watersheds.
The Corps’ permit is expected to serve as a model for permit strategies being developed for five other Habitat Conservation Plans.
For more information visit:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District – Regional General Permit: http://bit.ly/JVedlZ
East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy – Documents: http://bit.ly/LeOeJI
Release no. 2012-P-012