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Stanford conservation plan comes up for review

Original post made by Resident, Meadow Park, on Apr 29, 2010

Please attend the review meetings (dates and locations below) and submit your comments. Now that Stanford's proposed plan has been published in the Federal Register, during the next 90 days the public can comment in writing on the plan and the accompanying Environmental Impact Statement. Once the 90 days are over, the two federal agencies will respond to public comment and either approve or deny the plan.

Web Link

Under the HCP, if the university develops any valuable habitat area, it must offset that development with permanent easements equal to three times the amount of land.


Stanford University, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service, has developed a habitat conservation plan for Stanford lands. On April 16, the federal agencies completed their notice of publication of Stanford's proposal in the Federal Register.

Publication of the proposal in the Federal Register is the first step toward approval of a plan Stanford believes will lead to better protection of threatened species on campus.

The official public comment meeting sponsored by the USFWS and the NOAA Fisheries Service will be held by those agencies at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, in the Oak West Lounge of Stanford’s Tresidder Union, 459 Lagunita Drive. Comments made at this meeting or during the 90-day public comment period must be provided to the agencies in writing. The public comment period runs until July 15.

In addition, Stanford will host two informational meetings:

Thursday, May 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Town of Portola Valley Town Center, Buckeye Room, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley
Thursday, May 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center Meeting Room, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto

The plan, if approved, would cover a 50-year period.

Although more than 1,000 HCPs have been granted by the federal government nationwide, they can be controversial because they allow for incidental "taking," meaning harming or killing, of protected species members. The taking is permitted, however, only if mitigations are in place, which is what the Stanford HCP proposes.

Palter said she also is concerned that members of the public may misunderstand long-term potential growth projected in habitat areas under the plan. Such projections are necessary so that mitigations can be planned, she said.

"We estimated a 1- to 3-acre loss of habitat a year over 50 years – or at most 4 percent of habitat land," Palter said. "We don't have any development plans in habitat areas. But, once we had an estimate, we could structure a plan that ensured that any future work – if it were permitted by local agencies – would not require further endangered species permits."

Under the HCP, if the university develops any valuable habitat area, it must offset that development with permanent easements equal to three times the amount of land.

How that Stanford's proposed plan has been published in the Federal Register, during the next 90 days the public can comment in writing on the plan and the accompanying Environmental Impact Statement. Once the 90 days are over, the two federal agencies will respond to public comment and either approve or deny the plan.

The complete draft report and additional information is available online.

The Federal Register notice (with contact information and links to the documents) can be found online as well.

Web Link



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