|A Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is a federal plan under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that allows for the incidental take of federally listed species and habitat that results from growth and development.
A Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) is a state plan provided for under the state Natural Community Conservation Planning Act that allows for the incidental take of state listed species and habitat.
The Butte Regional Conservation Plan is a joint HCP/NCCP that will establish a coordinated process for permitting and mitigating the incidental take of threatened and endangered species in the Plan Area. This process creates an alternative to the current project-by-project approach. Rather than individually surveying, negotiating, and securing mitigation as typically occurs through project by project mitigation, once the BRCP is in place, project proponents will receive an endangered species act permit from city and county planning departments by simply paying a fee (in some cases, dedication of on-site mitigation can be an alternative to paying a fee) .
The fees are collected by an implementation authority defined during development of the BRCP, often a Joint Powers Authority, which is composed of representatives of the participating local agencies. The implementation authority uses the fee money, as well as grants and any other funding sources established in the plan, to purchase habitat lands or easements from willing sellers. Collected funds are also used for monitoring and any habitat enhancement or management actions.
Preparation of the BRCP will involve the public and other stakeholders throughout the region interested in the region's future growth and protection of natural resources.
HCPs are typically voluntary. Project proponents can choose to secure permits through the HCP or to address environmental regulations individually as has occurred in the past.
Plans can be broadened to provide additional environmental permits, such as those issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands. The BRCP is currently pursuing an approach to streamline US Army Corp of Engineers wetland permitting, in addition to the state and federal endangered species act permitting.
Some HCPs rely heavily on maps to prioritize habitat acquisitions and guide mitigation assessments. Other HCPs, including the BRCP, are process-driven and rely on habitat and species goals to be met through land acquisition and management, rather than the acquisition of specific areas on a map. Click here for a pdf map of the BRCP Plan Area.
HCPs enhance local agencies' control of local development and land use patterns and provide an alternative mechanism for projects to receive permits and comply with currently applicable state and federal regulations.