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San Bruno Mountain Scoping Hearings
by SBMW (mountainwatch @ earthlink . net)
Wednesday Jul 28th, 2004 2:32 PM
Friends and Allies,

Here is a summary of the next phase of the lengthy HCP amendment
process (including an explanation of "HCP Amendment") which begins
tomorrow with two hearings in Brisbane. Mountain Watch is working on
this issue with California Native Plant Society, the Friends of San
Bruno Mountain, and with our legal counsel. Please call us with ideas
/ questions.
"Scoping Hearings" for the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation
> Plan (HCP) Amendment Environmental Impact Report / Statement
> (EIR/EIS).

> Public Meetings
> July 29, 2004; 2:30-4:30 PM July 29, 2004; 6:30-8:30 PM
> Mission Blue Community Center Brisbane Community Center
> 475 Mission Blue Drive 250 Visitacion Ave.
> Brisbane, California Brisbane, California

>
> Brief overview:

> The HCP, the first of its kind in the nation, was devised for San
> Bruno Mountain over 20 years ago to allow development on rare species
> habitat. The plan, which is the over-arching land use policy for the
> mountain, has been hugely controversial. There's a wide range of
> opinions about the plan's successes and failures, but most agree that
> it is badly in need of updating. Also, the US Fish and Wildlife
> Service, charged with enforcing the Endangered Species Act (ESA), has
> a stated goal of adding the Callippe Silverspot butterfly (recently
> listed under the ESA) to the HCP by issuing a permit to allow
> destruction of some of its habitat. Issuance of that permit MAY
allow
> substantial build-out of the last phase of the Northeast Ridge. A
> main reason why this huge amendment process is under way is Mountain
> Watch's successful lawsuit to stop destruction (called "incidental
> take") of the irreplaceable habitat on the Northeast Ridge for the
> building of unaffordable housing.
>
> So, the environmental review of the proposed amendment is underway,
> and two "scoping" sessions are being held for those people who wish
to
> provide input as to the scope of the study, i.e. what it should
> include. The hearings are tomorrow, Thursday, and will be identical
> as far as the presentations made by the agencies involved. No oral
> comments will be accepted tomorrow. Rather, comments are to be made
> in writing before August 23rd.
>
> The "Notice of Preparation" pasted below outlines the issue in more
> detail and without the Mountain Watch slant (in other words, it's
> slanted otherwise). It also contains all the details about the
> time/location of the hearings and the address to which comments
should
> be sent.
>
> If anyone wants more information or wishes to get involved in this,
> please contact us. The HCP here is the model for hundreds of other
> such plans across the country, and this amendment is a very big deal.
>
> Thanks.
>
> Philip Batchelder
> San Bruno Mountain Watch
> 415-467-6631
>
> NOTICE OF PREPARATION
>
> Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement
> for the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan Amendment
>
> San Mateo County will be the Lead Agency under the California
> Environmental Quality Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
> (Service) will be the lead agency under the National Environmental
> Policy Act for a joint Environmental Impact Report/Environmental
> Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the proposed San Bruno Mountain
Habitat
> Conservation Plan Amendment. The Service is also publishing a Notice
> of Intent to prepare an EIS, in the Federal Register.
>
> We need to know the views of your agency as to the scope and content
> of the environmental information that is germane to your agency’s
> statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project.
> Your agency will need to use the EIR/EIS prepared by our agency when
> considering your permit or other approvals for the project. The
> project description, location and the probable environmental effects
> are contained in the attached materials.
>
> Due to the time limits mandated by State law, your response must be
> sent at the earliest possible date but no later than 30 days after
> receipt of this notice. We will need the name for a contact in your
> agency. Please send your comments to the address below.
>
> Two scoping meetings will be held on July 29th at the locations
listed
> below under “Public Meetings.” These meetings are open to agencies
> and the public, and are intended to provide an opportunity for input
> regarding issues and concerns to be addressed in the EIR/EIS.
>
> Public Meetings
> July 29, 2004; 2:30-4:30 PM July 29, 2004; 6:30-8:30 PM
> Mission Blue Community Center Brisbane Community Center
> 475 Mission Blue Drive 250 Visitacion Ave.
> Brisbane, California Brisbane, California
>
> Send Written Comments to:
> Mr. Sam Herzberg, Senior Planner Phone (650) 363-1823
> San Mateo County Parks Division Fax (650) 599-1721
> Environmental Services Agency
> 455 County Center, 4th Floor
> Redwood City, California, 94063
>
> Date:_____________________Signature:___________________________
> Sam Herzberg, Senior Planner
> Sam Herzberg, Senior Planner Summary
>
> San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan Amendment,
> Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement
>
>
> Introduction
>
> A joint Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement
> (EIR/EIS) is being prepared for the proposed San Bruno Mountain
> Habitat Conservation Plan Amendment (HCP Amendment) and Incidental
> Take Permit (ITP). San Mateo County (County), and the cities of
> Brisbane, Daly City, and South San Francisco (collectively referred
to
> as the Permittees), are collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
> Service in this effort. The EIR/EIS is being prepared in compliance
> with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National
> Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The County is the lead agency for
> CEQA compliance, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is
> the lead agency for NEPA.
>
> The Permittees obtained the original ITP from the Service in 1983,
> authorizing the incidental take of three species listed as endangered
> under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), including: the San
> Bruno elfin butterfly, the mission blue butterfly, and the San
> Francisco garter snake, and has since been amended on four occasions
> (although the number of species listed on the permit has remained
> constant). As a requirement for obtaining the ITP, the Permittees
> developed and implemented the HCP, which contained a strategy for
> minimizing and mitigating all take of covered species associated with
> activities covered by the ITP.
>
> With the proposed amendment, the Permittees intend to request ITP
> coverage for those species in the original incidental take permit, as
> well as the endangered Callippe silverspot butterfly and San
Francisco
> lessingia, the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly, and unlisted San
> Bruno Mountain manzanita. Components to be included in the amended
> HCP are now under consideration by the Service and Permittees, and
are
> described below under “Components Considered for HCP Amendment.” The
> underlying purpose of the ITP and HCP was and still is to address the
> conservation needs of the covered species, while allowing development
> to occur on the slopes of San Bruno Mountain.
>
> This Notice of Preparation (NOP) is being issued to comply with CEQA,
> which states that once a decision is made to prepare an EIR the lead
> agency must prepare a NOP to inform all responsible agencies. The NOP
> must be sent to each governmental agency expected to be involved in
> approving or funding elements of the project. The purpose of the NOP
> is to provide sufficient information describing the project and the
> potential environmental effects to enable the agencies to make a
> meaningful response regarding the scope and content of the EIR.
> Corresponding with this NOP, a Notice of Intent (NOI) is being issued
> by the Service for publication in the Federal Register, in compliance
> with NEPA.
>
> The NOP and NOI provide parallel opportunities for early public input
> and comment. Written comments may be to one Notice or the other, but
> need not be to both. All comments to the NOP and NOI will be
> incorporated into the EIR/EIS.
>
> Project Area
>
> The Plan area comprises approximately 3,600 acres of land on San
Bruno
> Mountain, in northern San Mateo County, California. Most of San
Bruno
> Mountain is unincorporated land, surrounded on all sides by the
cities
> of Brisbane, Daly City, Colma, and South San Francisco.
> Topographically, the Mountain is made up of two ridges. The larger,
> main ridge or southeast ridge, reaches an elevation of slightly over
> 1,300 feet. The smaller ridge on the northeastern side of the
> Mountain reaches an average elevation of 840 feet.
>
>
> Components Considered for HCP Amendment
>
> The Plan is being amended, in part, to comply with a January 6, 2003,
> consent decree and final judgment in which the Service agreed to
amend
> the Plan by July 2005. Specifically, the Service agreed to consult,
> pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act, on: (1) the impacts of the
> Plan on the endangered Callippe silverspot, mission blue, and San
> Bruno elfin butterflies, and on critical habitat of the threatened
bay
> checkerspot butterfly; (2) the Permittees’ application for an
> amendment to the Plan; (3) the adequacy of existing Plan funding; (4)
> the adequacy of the Plan's minimization and mitigation measures; (5)
> the extent to which non-native species invasion is affecting the
> Callippe silverspot, mission blue, and San Bruno elfin butterflies on
> the mountain; and (6) the extent to which management and restoration
> of conserved habitat on the mountain are being conducted according to
> the Plan
>
> Examples of components to be included in the amended HCP, discussed
to
> date, include the following:
>
> 1. Habitat maintenance and management activities such as prescribed
> burning, grazing, and mowing to reverse the conversion of native
> grassland communities important to covered butterfly species, to
> coastal scrub dominated habitat. This conversion is currently
> occurring at a steady pace in the absence of natural fires and
grazing
> animals (native and domestic).
>
> 2. Implementation of a new butterfly monitoring strategy to track the
> status of covered butterfly species based on data collected over the
> past 25 years. No take is expected to result from this activity.
>
> 3. Implementation of new vegetation monitoring strategy to track the
> condition of covered plant species and the spread of exotic species.
> No take is expected to result from this activity.
>
> 4. Add San Bruno Mountain State and County Park Master Plan as
covered
> activity so that activities conducted under the Park Master Plan
would
> be subject to the HCP’s permitting process, which would allow for
> development of measures to minimize or mitigate impacts that could
> occur.
>
> 5. Add County Public Works as covered activity so that activities
such
> as roadside maintenance would be subject to the HCP’s permitting
> process, which would allow for development of measures to minimize or
> mitigate impacts that could occur.
>
> 6. Revise the Brookfield Homes operating plan to allow at least
> partial development of remaining lands designated for development in
> the original HCP.
> 7. Revise development operating plans to enforce weed control on
> development slopes adjacent to conservation lands, in order to reduce
> introduction of invasive plant species.
>
> 8. Add PG&E transmission and gas line as covered activity so that
> operation and maintenance activities would be subject to the HCP’s
> permitting process, which would allow for development of measures to
> minimize or mitigate impacts to Callippe silverspot butterfly that
> could occur.
>
> 9. Add waterlines as covered activity so that operation and
> maintenance by San Francisco Water Department would be subject to the
> HCP’s permitting process, which would allow for development of
> measures to minimize or mitigate impacts to Callippe silverspot
> butterfly that could occur.
>
> 10. Add California Department of Forestry maintenance of firebreaks
as
> covered activity so that activities would be subject to the HCP’s
> permitting process, which would allow for development of measures to
> minimize or mitigate impacts to Callippe silverspot butterfly that
> could occur.
>
> 11. Various habitat restoration activities.
>
> 12. Update the ITP and HCP so that it is consistent with current
> Service regulations and policy.
>
> 13. Add 10 years to the ITP and HCP term; current term would expire
in
> March 2013.
>
>
> Environmental Review
>
> As described above, a joint EIR/EIS is being prepared in compliance
> with CEQA and NEPA. The County is the lead agency for CEQA
> compliance, and the Service is the lead agency for NEPA. The EIR/EIS

> will consider the proposed action (i.e., the issuance of a section
> 10(a)(1)(B) permit under the Act), and a full range of reasonable
> alternatives. A detailed description of the proposed action and
> alternatives will be included in the EIR/EIS. It is anticipated that
> several alternatives will be developed, which may vary by the level
of
> conservation, impacts caused by the proposed activities, permit area,
> covered species, or a combination of these factors. Additionally, a
> No Action alternative will be considered. Under the No Action
> alternative, the Service would not issue an amended section
> 10(a)(1)(B) permit.
>
> The EIS/EIR will also identify potentially significant impacts on
> biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, mineral
> resources, water resources, economics, and other environmental issues
> that could occur directly or indirectly with implementation of the
> proposed action and alternatives. For all potentially significant
> impacts, the EIS/EIR will identify mitigation measures to reduce
these
> impacts to a level below significance, where feasible.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Project Schedule
>
> Following this 30-day scoping period the County and the Service will
> prepare a Draft EIR/EIS for distribution and a 60-day comment period.
> The Draft EIR/EIS comment period is expected to commence during the
> 4th quarter of 2004. Comments received will be evaluated and
> considered for incorporation into a Final EIR/EIS. The Final EIR/EIS
> will subsequently be distributed for a 30-day review period.
> Following the review period the County and the Service will determine
> whether to approve the proposed HCP Amendment. If approved, Service
> will issue an amended ITP. This process is expected to be completed
> and an ITP issuance decision reached by July 2005.
>
> Opportunity for Comment
>
> The purpose of this notice and for the scoping period is to obtain
> suggestions and information from other agencies and the public on the
> scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the EIR/EIS.
> Written comments from interested parties are invited to ensure that
> issues related to the permit amendment request are identified.
> Written comments may be submitted to the address below, or may be
> submitted at either of the two public meetings (see “Public Meetings”
> below for date, time, and location).
>
> Public Meetings
> July 29, 2004; 2:30-4:30 PM July 29, 2004; 6:30-8:30 PM
> Mission Blue Community Center Brisbane Community Center
> 475 Mission Blue Drive 250 Visitacion Ave., Ground floor
> Brisbane, California Brisbane, California
>
> Addresses
> Mr. Sam Herzberg, Senior Planner Phone (650) 599-1388
> San Mateo County Parks Division Fax (650) 599-1721
> Environmental Services Agency
> 455 County Center, 4th Floor
> Redwood City, California, 94063