45-Day Public Comment Period Begins Today for the Draft Habitat Conservation Plan

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have released the Draft Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and they are now available for public comment.

The Plan was developed and submitted by the eight member districts of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control and the City of Prineville (Applicants) to address the impacts of their water management activities on threatened and endangered species in the Deschutes Basin.

If approved, the Applicants will obtain an Incidental Take Permit, which provides Endangered Species Act regulatory assurances for thirty-years.

The covered species include the Oregon spotted frog, bull trout, steelhead trout (listed as threatened under the ESA), and sockeye salmon and Chinook salmon (not currently listed under the ESA).

The proposed conservation measures in the draft plan are mainly focused on meeting specific flows by specific timelines in key reaches of the Deschutes Basin (including the Upper Deschutes, Whychus Creek, and the lower Crooked River). Any flow restoration that is implemented as part of a Habitat Conservation Plan will contribute to the DRC’s broader flow restoration efforts in the basin.

Here’s how you can participate:

GET INFORMED Learn more background about the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING More details on the plan and the 45-day public comment period, as well as information regarding public meetings to learn more. 

ACCESS THE DOCUMENT Draft Environmental Impact Statement published on the Federal Register (as of Oct 4, 2019)

 

Comments from the Deschutes River Conservancy’s Executive Director, Ron Nelson

“The flow restoration that will be implemented to benefit specific species as part of a Habitat Conservation Plan, will contribute to the broader flow restoration work that the DRC is doing in the basin.”

“The DRC looks forward to working with all of our partners, including the irrigation districts, to help restore flows as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, using conservation and water marketing programs, to meet instream needs while supporting agriculture in the basin.”

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