For Immediate Release: May 4, 2009
Public Comment Period Extended on Draft EIS and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Tejon Ranch
(FRAZIER PARK, May 4, 2009, 7:26 a.m.)–Lois Grunwald, Community Relations Officer for the USFWS, distributed a press release this morning announcing that "to give members of the public further opportunity for review and comment on a draft habitat conservation plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a planned residential and commercial development and ranch activities on Tejon Ranch in Kern County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has extended the public comment period for 60 days until July 7, 2009."
The previous public comment period ending date for the documents was May 5, 2009. The draft EIS and draft Tehachapi Uplands Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (TUMSCHP) were initially made available for public review and comment on January 23, 2009.
The draft TUMSHCP, authored by Tejon Ranch Company with input from FWS, describes measures to be taken by Tejon Ranch to minimize and mitigate effects of its actions on 27 native plants and animals—including California condors—and their habitats on 141,886 acres of Tejon Ranch. The actions include a planned 5,533-acre development adjacent to the Interstate 5 corridor and Lebec community.
The draft EIS analyzes the environmental impacts of issuing the 50-year incidental take permit to Tejon Ranch Company for on-going ranch activities and a planned community development. An incidental take permit authorizes the incidental take of a listed species, and does not authorize the activities that result in take. No condors would be permitted to be killed under a permit issued by the Service.
The incidental take permit would also cover ongoing historic uses of the property, such as grazing and film production. The permit would not cover take caused by hunting or mineral extraction.
Comments on the draft TUMSCHP and draft EIS can be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to John Robles at the Service’s Pacific-Southwest Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2606, Sacramento, Calif. 95825, or Steve Kirkland at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, Calif. 93003.
The Draft EIS and TUMSCHP can be viewed and downloaded at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office’s web site at: http://www.fws.gov/ventura/ or can be obtained on a compact disc by writing to the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the above address.
• In an email to The Mountain Enterprise Friday, May 1, Grunwald said: "The public comments that the FWS receives regarding the draft documents will be answered after the public comment is closed, in preparation for our decision on whether or not to issue the permit. Please note that the public process requires that the FWS answer public comments after the public comment period is closed, and not before that time."
• The Mountain Enterprise has emphasized in return that it is not participating in the public comment procedure, it is reporting to the public about the comment process, the documents submitted by FWS and Tejon Ranch, and the content of the plans. Therefore, we anticipate the public agency will be free to continue to answer questions from the press on these issues.
The press release from Grunwald ends with a statement explaining the purpose of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
This is part of the May 01, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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