A Cooperative Planning Effort

The Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP) is being coordinated by the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) on behalf of:
Butte County  •  City of Chico
City of Oroville  •  City of Gridley
City of Biggs  •  Caltrans District 3
Western Canal Water District  •  Richvale Irrigation District 
Biggs West-Gridley Water District  •  Butte Water District
a bird standing on a piece of wood
logos for the city of chico, the city of oroville, butte county, the city of biggs, caltrans district 3, and the city of gridley
a field of grass and flowers
The BRCP is both a federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a state Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP). It provides streamlined state and federal endangered species act and wetlands permitting for transportation projects, land development and other covered activities over the 50 year term of the permits. It also provides comprehensive species, wetlands and ecosystem conservation and contributes to the recovery of endangered species within the Plan Area.

For further information, see our informational brochures below:

BRCP 8-page informational brochure highlighting the main components of the Plan.

BRCP 4-page informational brochure highlighting the benefits of the BRCP for the participating cities and county.

THE PROBLEM
The current process of obtaining Endangered Species Act permits and implementing habitat mitigation is inefficient, resulting in uncertainty and unnecessary delays for project proponents at times resulting in ineffective habitat mitigation that provide insufficient long-term protection for the species they're trying to protect.

THE PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
The Butte Regional Conservation Plan replaces the existing problematic permitting process with a smarter, simper process. It results in a coordinated regional approach to conservation and regulation that benefits species and habitat conservation, wildlife agencies and project proponents alike.

THE BRCP: BALANCING GROWTH AND CONSERVATION
The BRCP is a win-win that helps ensure that growth and development of the cities and the County go forward in a timely and efficient manner while ensuring the conservation of species and habitats is accomplished in a more biologically sound fashion. Development activities, including housing, industrial parks, shopping centers, government buildings, schools, and infrastructure such as roads and bike paths contribute to our community and our economy, but they also have the potential to negatively affect state and federally protected species and their habitats, requiring permits from state and federal agencies.

The BRCP allows project proponents to follow straightforward guidelines in the BRCP, pay a fee, receive approval and permits for endangered species impacts at the local level, and proceed with their projects without negotiating with state and federal agencies in Sacramento.

WHAT WILL THE BUTTE REGIONAL CONSERVATION PLAN ACHIEVE?
The BRCP replaces the existing "project-by-project" environmental permitting process for federal and state species in Butte County, with a more certain, streamlined, and consistent process. This allows for projects to go forward to construction with local approvals and little or no involvement of federal and state agencies in Sacramento.

At the same time, the BRCP ensures all impacts on protected species are mitigated as required by state and federal laws, and also contributes to the recovery of species and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend through a well-planned and managed system of conservation lands established primarily through conservation easements over 50-years. Additional benefits of the BRCP are the preservation of open space and ongoing farming and ranch economies in the Plan Area that will maintain much of the rural character and natural beauty of our landscape.

WHO DOES THIS APPLY TO?
Once adopted, the BRCP will primarily apply to two main groups: public and private project proponents who are implementing projects that affect lands containing habitat value, and land owners who voluntarily wish to sell a conservation easement on their land, or sell their land in fee title for conservation purposes.

The BRCP does not bring forth a new zoning requirement that will affect property owners, nor does it change protection requirements for species or habitat in the Plan Area.

For further information, see the BRCP Documents section above, and also our informational brochures below.

BRCP 8-page informational brochure highlighting the main components of the Plan.

BRCP 4-page informational brochure highlighting the benefits of the BRCP for the participating cities and county.

More Information
What's New
The "Screen Check Final" version of the BRCP has been posted under the "Documents" section here. Please note that this is a working draft and subject to change.
 
Progress continues to be made on the development of the final BRCP and final EIS/EIR documents, with a goal of seeking local agency approvals in the July-September 2019 time-frame (see tentative schedule below).
 
BCAG staff are continuing to coordinate closely with the BRCP permit applicants (cities, county, Caltrans and water/irrigation districts) and state and federal agencies in developing the final BRCP and EIS/EIR documents to receive further input and ensure all entities are comfortable with the contents of the final documents. Outreach also continues with key stakeholder groups to incorporate further input.
 
BRCP Tentative Schedule for Completion:
  • February – April 2019: Final BRCP prepared along with EIS/EIR.
  • April 2019: Final BRCP and EIS/EIR documents submitted to wildlife agencies for Federal Register notification. Public release of Final BRCP and EIS/EIR for required 30-day NEPA review.
  • May 2019: FWS and NMFS submit decision documents: 1) Section 7 Biological Opinion; 2) ESA Findings and Recommendations, and NEPA Record of Decision; and 3) ESA Section 10 Permit. CDFW submits NCCP findings.
  • July - September 2019: Applicants’ board and city council meetings for final approval of BRCP, EIS/EIR, Implementing Agreement, and local ordinances.
  • October - November 2019: USFWS, NMFS, & CDFW issue permits
  • December 2019: BRCP Implementation begins.
Please note that the BRCP can be modified all the way up to, and concurrent with, council and board approvals provided that changes do not significantly affect the overall outcome of the plan.
 
Also, BCAG has resumed work on developing a final Regional General Permit (RGP) and In-Lieu-Fee (ILF) Program that will provide streamlining of the Army Corp of Engineers (Corp) Section 404 permitting process. A draft RGP & ILF Program were circulated for public review back in December 2015 . BCAG is working with the consultant team at ICF to develop the final documents, and will engage staff at the Corp following submittal of the BRCP to the wildlife agencies in April.
 
The RGP and ILF are expected to be approved roughly 6-12 months after final permitting of the BRCP. Also, following BRCP permitting and dependent on funding, BCAG and the Permit Applicants will aim to coordinate with the necessary agencies to develop permit streamlining for Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, Section 1600 of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Code, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Sacramento and Placer Counties have made good progress integrating permit streamlining for these programs as part of their HCP/NCCP programs, and BCAG and the Permit Applicants hope to pursue similar approaches.

 
More information on the BRCP:
BRCP 8-page informational brochure highlighting the main components of the Plan.
BRCP 4-page informational brochure highlighting the benefits of the BRCP for the participating cities and county.

White Paper on Economic Effects of Regional Habitat Conservation Plans. Prepared by Economic & Planning Systems, Inc for California Habitat Conservation Planning Coalition. This paper evaluates the hypothesis that regional HCPs confer substantial economic benefits to the private sector.
Executive Summary

Transportation and Habitat Conservation Plans Document - Improving Planning and Project Delivery While Preserving Endangered Species. Prepared by the University of California Transportation Center, results show that time and cost savings are major benefits to transportation projects permitted under regional HCPs.






Stakeholder Committee Meetings, Click to view
Public Workshops
A third round of public workshops were held in 2016 to receive input and provide interested members of the public with general information on the formal public draft BRCP, EIS/EIR and Regional General Permit/ILF Prospectus. To view the PowerPoint presentation provided by the project team at the workshops, click here. BRCP public workshops were held previously in 2007 and 2012.


Butte Regional Conservation Plan - Balancing Growth and Conservation

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