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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Andrew Deffobis, Thurston County, 360) 754-3355 ext. 5467
Taylor Goforth, USFWS,  (360) 753-4375

April 6 Meeting Just One Way to Comment on Proposed Prairie Habitat Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will host a public meeting on Saturday, April 6 along with Thurston County (County) to discuss local prairie species in peril and proposed plans to protect those species and their unique habitat. Written comments from the public will be accepted at the public meeting. Those who wish to comment, but not at the April 6 meeting, can submit their written comments by May 20, 2013.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is gathering public input on the scope of the environmental impact statement (EIS) that will be developed with regards to Thurston County's Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and incidental take permit application for the incidental take of two species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (Act), three species proposed to be protected under the Act, one candidate species, and 12 non-listed species. The primary purpose of the scoping process is for the public to assist USFWS and Thurston County in developing a draft EIS by identifying important issues and alternatives related to the County's proposed action or Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).

WHAT:USFWS and Thurston County Public Meeting:

Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan

WHEN: Saturday, April 6, 2013

Session One: 9:30—11:30 a.m.*

Session Two: 12:30—2:30 p.m.

*Sessions are identical and will cover the same subject matter.

WHERE: Thurston County Fair Exposition Hall

3054 Carpenter Road, Lacey, WA 98503

Along with the April 6 public meeting, comments concerning the development of Thurston County's Prairie HCP and the preparation of the associated EIS may be submitted through May 20 via:

  • U.S. mail: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, WA 98503-1263.

  • Email: WFWOComments@fws.gov. Include “Thurston County Prairie HCP - EIS” in the subject line of the message.

  • Fax: (360)753-9518.

  • In-Person: Written comments will be accepted at the public meeting on April 6, 2013 or can be dropped off during regular business hours at the above address.

    NOTE: Comments received will be shared and reviewed by both the Service and the county.

    The Endangered Species Act prohibits the "take" of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. "Take" of listed fish or wildlife is defined as "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct." Under limited circumstances, the Service issues permits to authorize incidental take, take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. In addition to meeting other criteria, an incidental take permit must not jeopardize the continued existence of federally listed threatened or endangered species.

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may significantly affect the human environment. The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requires equivalent analysis and applies to state agencies and agencies within Washington. Thurston County will meet its SEPA requirements through concurrent participation in the federal NEPA requirements, beginning with the April 6 meeting.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, email Tim‗Romanski@fws.gov, phone (360) 753-5823 or Andrew Deffobis at DeffobA@co.thurston.wa.us, phone (360) 754-3355 ext. 5467.

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate in the public meeting should call (360) 786-5498 and ask for the ADA Coordinator. Citizens with hearing impairments may call the Thurston County TDD line at (360) 754-2933.

    Information regarding the applicant's proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request.

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3