Deschutes Basin 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:
1. GET INFORMED
- Learn more background about the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- US Fish and Wildlife General Information Page Regarding HCP and EIS
- More details on the plan and the 45-day public comment period
2. PARTICIPATE IN THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
- NAVIGATING THE DOCUMENT: This is a long document. You may want to focus on the Habitat Conservation Plan chapters 1, 3, 6, and 8, as well as the Environmental Impact Statement.
- LINK TO THE HCP AND EIS: Draft Habitat Conservation Plan & Environmental Impact Statement published on the Federal Register (as of Oct 4, 2019)
- TIPS FOR COMMENTING FROM USFWS: You will be most effective to the process by making specific, substantive comments. If you are an expert in a certain field, focusing your comments in your field of expertise would be especially helpful.
- DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: November 18, 2019