Regional scale HCPs can take many years to prepare and run into various obstacles that cause delays.  Ken Schreiber, then the project manager for preparing the Santa Clara Valley HCP in California, suggested that some of these delays could be avoided or minimized by starting slowly and determining a number of parameters and goals for the HCP

From a letter by the California Habitat Conservation Planning Coalition to Michael Bean, Counselor for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior, June 2010.

The parties developing an HCP should establish clear and consistent parameters and goals for the proposed HCP, including informational and organizational elements.  This process needs to involve elected officials (if a local government led HCP) and key stakeholders and lessons learned from previous HCP efforts.  It should include the following items.

  • Prepare a simple checklist of the specific information needs of the USFWS to complete the Biological Opinion, make findings and issue permits.
  • Determine which species are likely to be covered and estimate anticipated conservation levels.
  • Identify HCP permitting and processing requirements including recovery plans and mitigation levels.
  • Identify how development of the HCP will be managed, the types of resources needed, how much time that will take and who will do the work. This includes preparing a framework for the major components of the plan, a staffing matrix with FTE commitments and a realistic project schedule and process.  Gain consensus and commitment to the staffing and schedule from all plan participants.
  • Develop a reasonable estimated budget that anticipates potential delays in development of the HCP, funding cycles and consultant contracting issues.
  • Determine the key stakeholders and the desired public participation process, including an advisory committee and broader public outreach.
  • Establish a policy committee to resolve conflicts that cannot be resolved at the staff level.
  • Include the need to develop adaptive management programs and strategies.

See Also: Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (revised) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.  December 2016.  Section 3.6‑library/pdf/HCP_Handbook.pdf