Habitat Conservation Plan Adoption Slowed

Posted on Freedom Advocates on March 24th 2005 

California Department of Forestry Fire Chief Steve Wert called for a citizen to replace Aptos-La Selva Fire Chief Gary Smith as chairman of the County Fire Safe Council at the council’s recent meeting.

An increasing citizen involvement in the council was the apparent
reason for the call to shift the chairman’s position into citizen
control. Chief Smith had been criticized by citizens for his dogged
pursuit to coordinate with the federal Department of the Interior –U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish a countywide Habitat
Conservation Plan (HCP).

The HCP seeks to provide stringent and detailed land management
requirements for any land with the “potential” to support a listed
species of plant, animal or bug.

A subcommittee is developing a separate “Best Management Practice”
(BMP) for dozens of species. Officials from the USFWS, California Fish
and Game, California Department of Fire and Forestry, Aptos-La Selva
Fire Department, and County Planning Department control the
subcommittee. The Council has refused to provide recordings of these

Exemptions are being created for a 30-foot area around homes
provided that the homeowner agrees to adopt the BMP on the balance of
the property. The federal government has labeled the program

The federal official acknowledged that the BMP does not in fact
represent “best” management. Citizens have successfully argued that
land management cannot be effective if dictated by regulatory mandates
especially when designed with a single species in mind. Citizens have
also focused on constitutional concerns related to property “takings”
and the federal government’s authority to impose these rules on local

Some citizens see the effort to impose an HCP as part of a broader
effort to implement the Local United Nations Agenda 21. Endorsed by the Board of Supervisors in 1997 and commended by Congressman Sam Farr, Agenda 21 seeks the elimination of private property including the creation of broad wildlife corridors devoid of humans.

The HCP effort, the Fish Net 4C program (which calls for the
“decommissioning of inappropriate development” –like homes and roads), the county’s forestry practice ordinance, and the Water Conservation Plan (which seeks to consolidate all water authority within the Department and then ration it) are seen as a coordinated elements intended to advance the United Nations Agenda 21.

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