The Guadalupe River is an important resource for both humans and wildlife. Humans rely on the river for water supply, recreation, and economic generation, while wildlife use the river as habitat for feeding, breeding, and rearing. Both depend on the river for its life-giving water and both should be able to use the river in the future. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s primary considerations for developing the GRHCP are to provide greater certainty in its ability to meet future water supply and wastewater treatment needs, while providing protections for threatened and endangered species in the Guadalupe River Basin.
An HCP is the planning document that defines how GBRA will protect federally endangered and threatened species, while providing water and wastewater services to the region. Learn more about the requirements of an HCP from US Fish & Wildlife Service.
An ITP is the permit that US Fish and Wildlife services issues to entities that have developed an approved HCP. The permit allows for “take” of an endangered or threatened species incidental to, and not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. ITPs are described in Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act.
According to the Endangered Species Act, Take means “To harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect an endangered or threatened species, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”
GBRA anticipates proposing a GRHCP permit term of 50 years. A 50-year permit term would better address GBRA’s long-term operations, which are projected to continue 50 years and beyond. A 50-year permit term would also provide more certainty, compared to a 30-year permit term, that the conservation strategies, monitoring, and adaptive management programs will contribute adequately to species recovery. Examples of plans with 30 and 50 year permits are below.
|Habitat Conservation Plan||Permit Duration (years)||Year Issued||Year Expiring|
|Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (Travis County)||30||1996||2026|
|Upper Santa Ana River HCP, CA (public draft released May 2021)||50||N/A||N/A|
|Santa Clara Valley HCP (Santa Clara County), CA||50||2013||2063|
For more information about other HCPs, please refer to the following websites:
- List of Large HCPs (>100,000 acres) nationally: https://www.nhcpcoalition.org/habitat-conservation-plan-projects/hcp-list/
- FWS database of all HCPs, sort by FWS Regions: https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/report/conservation-plans-type-region
The term “covered species” includes those species for which GBRA would request authorization for incidental take and develop a conservation strategy with avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. Chapter 7 of the joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) “Habitat Conservation Planning and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Processing Handbook ” gives federal guidance to choosing covered species.