PORTLAND, Ore. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing a draft environmental impact statement for a plan that balances forest research and management activities with the conservation of rare species and their habitat in the Elliott State Forest. This announcement opens a 45-day public comment period on the draft EIS.
The Oregon Department of State Lands prepared the Elliott State Research Forest Habitat Conservation Plan in support of their request for incidental take permits from the Service and NOAA Fisheries, a cooperating agency. Three federally listed species—northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and Oregon Coast coho—are proposed for coverage under the plan.
“We support a variety of tools and incentives that protect the interests of landowners while encouraging management activities that benefit listed and other at-risk species,” said Craig Rowland, acting state supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service Oregon office. “HCPs are one of the tools landowners can use to work with the Service and provide long-term benefits to both communities and species,” added Rowland.
The Service is requesting comments from the public on the draft EIS and HCP to inform a decision on the permit application. Comments will be accepted through January 3, 2023. The public can provide comments online at www.regulations.gov by following instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2022–0029. Alternatively, hard copies can be mailed to Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2022–0029; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PRB/3W; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
The Service will hold a virtual public meeting on December 13, 2022, at 2 p.m. Pacific time. The meeting will include a presentation on the proposed HCP and draft EIS, followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion.
A link and access instructions to the virtual meeting will be posted to https://www.fws.gov/project/elliott-state-research-forest-habitat-conservation-plan/at least one week prior to the public meeting date. The draft EIS and HCP are already posted on this website.
Public scoping on this project occurred early in 2022. The Service received 70 comments, which were considered in the preparation of these documents.
For more information about habitat conservation plans, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/habitat-conservation-plan-fact-sheet.pdf
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/office/oregon-fish-and-wildlife or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.