HCP Science Advisors

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Background

A requirement of the NCCP is to have independent science input into the NCCP process. Independent science input is also strongly recommended for any HCP. The science input is to occur early in the planning process before an HCP is drafted in order to help guide development of the HCP.

The membership of the Science Advisors was based on their expertise of species and habitats and ecosystems found in Solano County . The Science Advisors were selected by the Applicants (SCWA and cities and districts preparing the HCP) and Agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and California Department of Fish and Game) with input from a broad based Steering Committee which is providing advice and recommendations throughout the HCP process.

The task of the Science Advisors was to establish science based conservation and natural resource management standards to guide HCP preparation. The report is a product of their deliberations.

Development of the report was aided by professional facilitators (Kleinschmidt Energy and Water Resources Consultants) and by lead scientist Reed Noss. The Science Advisors met for two days in Solano County on August 19 and 20, 2002. This included a field trip around Solano County . After the meeting each of the Advisors wrote portions of the report based upon their expertise. The lead scientist was responsible for compiling the report and finalizing the report.

A draft report was not circulated to the Applicants or Agencies for review. It is important to recognize that the charge that the Science Advisors were given was to develop recommendations to protect the species and habitats. This was done without regard to political boundaries or the types of actions to be ultimately covered in the HCP.

The report will be used by the HCP Consultant (LSA and Associates) to develop the HCP. The report will also be useful in the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement that will be prepared for the HCP.

The report provides recommendations to protect and enhance species and habitats in Solano County . It also points out where additional research and studies are desirable. Not all of the recommendations need to be included in the final HCP. The Applicants and the Agencies will be negotiating the terms of the HCP. The extent that the recommendations in the report will be included in the HCP is dependent on how much the projects or activities to be covered in the HCP impact a particular species or habitat.

The report identifies where more research and information is needed. While desirable, it may not be possible to get all the recommended information during development of the HCP. The Applicants and Agencies will need to determine if they have enough information on a particular species of habitat to develop sound mitigation measures. Continued research and monitoring will occur after the HCP is approved.

If necessary, the Science Advisors could be called back at a later date to provide additional scientific input into the process. 

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