HCP Draft Environmental Impact Statement Released

A 45-day public comment period opens September 24, 2021 with the publication in the Federal Register of a draft Environmental Impact Statement about the County’s Habitat Conservation Plan. The EIS was jointly prepared and released by the County and federal regulators at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Government agencies, Tribes and members of the public are invited to review the draft EIS report and submit comments by November, 8, 2021. The draft EIS and the HCP must pass through this public comment period before either can be finalized or approved. New data or information submitted by the public could affect the final plan.

How to Comment & Read the Report

Meetings

The County & USFWS will jointly host two online public meetings. Meeting link & instructions will be posted one week before on the County’s HCP online meetings calendar. Formal comments won’t be collected during these meetings

  • October 12, 2021 at 6 p.m.
  • October 14, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Comments
Submit written comments or request additional information, using a method listed below. Comments must be postmarked or received by November 8, 2021.

TO THURSTON COUNTY

Mail or Hand Deliver to Thurston County
Thurston County Courthouse, Community Planning and Economic Development Department, Building 1, 2nd Floor, c/o Christina Chaput, Sr. Planner, 2000 Lakeridge Dr., Olympia, WA 98502-6045.

Email to Thurston County
Email comments to HCPInfo@co.thurston.wa.us.

Online to Thurston County
Submit comments online at www.regulations.gov or www.ThurstonHCP.org.

Reports

Copies of the draft EIS and proposed HCP can be found on the county’s website at ThurstonHCP.org.

Review a hard copy at Thurston County Courthouse, Community Planning and Economic Development Department, Building 1, floor, 2000 Lakeridge Dr., Olympia, WA 98502.

Hard copies may be requested by emailing hcpinfo@co.thurston.wa.us. This may be subject to a printing fee.

Fact Sheet

Read our fact sheet on the Environmental Impact Statement process on ThurstonHCP.org under “Documents” then “EIS Comment Period Materials”.

HCP Public Meeting: Species Protection and Conservation

Come join us

Join us for an update on the County’s HCP status in the federal review process with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and an overview of how conservation and mitigation will work in the County’s plan.

A New Way of Managing Mitigation

The County government plans to implement a new method for providing lasting and sustainable mitigation: The conservation land system.

The Conservation Land System: large, contiguous & professionally-managed.

The Conservation Land System will take the burden of mitigation off landowners, and put it into the hands of conservation professionals to:

  • Increase & improve the quality of the land in mitigation.
  • Provide a clear path for conservationists, farmers & the community to work together.

Meeting details

Date: Friday, September 24, 2021
Time: 10-11 a.m.
Location: Virtual online meeting

HCP update

Currently, the County is expecting that the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed HCP will be available for public comment late September. This date is subject to change.

HCP Conservation Land System and July Update

A new way of doing things

If approved by federal regulators, the County’s HCP will take a landscape approach to conservation in an effort to ensure the survival of the covered species. The HCP will coordinate a large-scale, professionally managed reserve system to replace the current piecemeal mitigation process. This Conservation Land System will create mitigation credits to offset permitted development impacts.

Acres of protection

This system may preserve and restore up to 3,500 acres to provide for the conservation of the Mazama pocket gopher, Oregon spotted frog, Oregon vesper sparrow, and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly.  The plan is to acquire and include large tracts of contiguous conserved properties, including working agricultural lands. Priority will be given to land already occupied by the covered species.

Proposed land conservation commitments

Landscape approach, ecologically valuable

The conservation of these lands and management practices will not only account for multiple HCP-covered species, but also provide managed habitat for other species reliant on prairie habitat. The reserve system and associated conservation measures will bring more ecological benefits to these HCP and other species with similar habitat needs, as well as complement the species recovery efforts of federal and state wildlife agencies. 

Read the fact sheet

The proposed Thurston HCP strategy streamlines compliance with the Washington State
Environmental Policy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other applicable
environmental regulations. The conservation strategy provides for the conservation of
Covered Species and provides habitat needs of non-covered native species associated with
each natural community.

You can read the fact sheet, Species and Habitat Conservation, at ThurstonHCP.org on the documents page.

HCP update

Currently, the County is expecting that the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed HCP will be available for public comment mid-late August. This date is subject to change.