Location: MSHCP > VOLUME 1 > SECTION 6.0

SECTION 6.0

MSHCP IMPLEMENTATION STRUCTURE

Implementation of the MSHCP will require coordinated actions among the local jurisdictions, the Wildlife Agencies, owners/managers of existing Public/Quasi-Public Lands, and the private sector. Generally, local jurisdictions will implement the MSHCP through their normal land use, planning and approval process as described in Section 6.1.1 of this document. Local jurisdictions will also contribute to MSHCP implementation through management of contributed public lands. This section describes the overall implementation policies and structure of the MSHCP including the institutional arrangements among the various parties involved in MSHCP implementation.

6.1 LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION MEASURES

The Permittees have selected a legal mechanism to implement the terms of the MSHCP and the Implementing Agreement ("Implementation Mechanism"). The Permits shall become effective upon execution of the IA. If, however, within six months of execution of the IA the County, Cities and the RCA have not adopted an appropriate Implementation Mechanism, the Wildlife Agencies may initiate suspension or revocation proceedings pursuant to Section 23.5 of the IA. In that event, the Permittees' obligations to fully implement the terms and conditions of the MSHCP and the IA commence upon execution of the IA. After adoption of an Implementation Mechanism, the Local Permittees will submit a copy of the appropriate documents to the RCA and the Wildlife Agencies.

A. Cities

  1. The Cities shall adopt an ordinance imposing the Local Development Mitigation Fee as analyzed in the Nexus Fee Report. A model ordinance imposing such fees is included as Exhibit "G" to the MSHCP Implementing Agreement (IA). The Cities shall adopt ordinances in substantially the same form or at a minimum containing the same requirements as the model ordinance.
  2. The Cities shall adopt an ordinance or resolution that adopts the MSHCP and establishes procedures and requirements for the implementation of its terms and conditions. A model resolution is attached as Exhibit "H" to the MSHCP IA. A model ordinance is attached as Exhibit "I" to the MSHCP IA. The Cities shall adopt an ordinance or resolution in substantially the same form or at a minimum containing the same requirements as the model ordinance or resolution. The ordinance or resolution shall contain, at a minimum, the following conditions:
  1. Commitment to utilize the Habitat Evaluation and Acquisition Negotiation Strategy (HANS) or appropriate alternative method to ensure compliance with the Criteria.
  2. Imposition of all other terms of the MSHCP, including but not limited to requirements concerning riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools, Narrow Endemic Plant Species and appropriate surveys as set forth in Sections 6.1.2, 6.1.3, and 6.3.2. A complete summary of all MSHCP species survey requirements is provided in Appendix E to this document.
  3. Agreement to enforce all other terms and conditions of the MSHCP, Implementing Agreement and the Permits.

B. The County

  1. The County shall implement the MSHCP through incorporation of the relevant terms and requirements into its General Plan, which is currently being updated. The Open Space Element of the County General Plan will establish general policies for compliance with the MSHCP, the Permits and the IA.
  2. The County shall establish a development mitigation fee for the unincorporated area of the County to specifically provide for habitat acquisition pursuant to the MSHCP.

6.1.1 Property Owner Initiated Habitat Evaluation and Acquisition Negotiation Strategy (HANS)

A. Introduction

The HANS Process applies to property which may be needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area or subjected to other MSHCP Criteria and shall be implemented by the County and those Cities that have agreed to implement the HANS process.

Under the incentive-based MSHCP program, the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA), the County, Cities, or various State and Federal Agencies may obtain interests in property needed to implement the MSHCP over time (interest may be obtained in fee, conservation easement, deed restriction, land exchange, flood control easement or other type of interest acceptable to the RCA, the County, Cities, acquiring State and/or Federal Agency, and property owner). Fee ownership of property may not be required. If it is determined that all or a portion of property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, various incentives may be available to the property owner in lieu of or in addition to monetary compensation in exchange for the conveyance of a property interest. These incentives may include, but shall not be limited to, the waiver and/or reduction of certain development fees, monetary compensation for entering into an option agreement, fast track processing, density bonuses, clustering, density transfers (and property reassessment and tax credits if determined to be Feasible). The incentives are intended to provide a form of compensation to property owners who convey their property. As a property interest is obtained, it will become part of the MSHCP Conservation Area.

The establishment of Criteria Area boundaries is intended to facilitate the process by which the County or Cities will evaluate property that may be needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. The Criteria Area is an area significantly larger than what will be the MSHCP Conservation Area, within which property will be evaluated using MSHCP Conservation Criteria. The Criteria Area is an analytical tool which assists in determining which properties to evaluate for acquisition and Conservation under the MSHCP and does not impose land use restrictions.

The Process ensures that an early determination will be made of what properties are needed for the MSHCP Conservation Area, that the owners of property needed for the MSHCP Conservation Area are compensated, and that owners of land not needed for the MSHCP Conservation Area shall receive Take Authorization for Covered Species Adequately Conserved through the Permits issued to the County and Cities pursuant to the MSHCP.

Development of property outside of the MSHCP Conservation Area (both within and outside of the Criteria Area ) shall receive Take Authorization for Covered Species Adequately Conserved provided payment of a mitigation fee is made (or any credit for land conveyed is obtained) and compliance with Section 6.0 of the MSHCP occurs. Payment of the mitigation fee and compliance with the requirements of Section 6.0 are intended to provide full mitigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Federal Endangered Species Act, and California Endangered Species Act for impacts to the species and habitats covered by the MSHCP pursuant to agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and/or any other appropriate participating regulatory agencies and as set forth in the Implementing Agreement for the MSHCP. However, it is recognized that the MSHCP cannot provide mitigation for projects regulated by entities or agencies not participating in the MSHCP.

All proposed discretionary Development projects within the Criteria Area shall be subject to review under the HANS process and monitored through a uniform computerized tracking system. However, the issuance of a grading permit or site preparation permit for an individual single family home or mobile home on an existing legal lot shall not be subject to review under the HANS process but shall be subject to review under the procedures described in the Expedited Review Process for Single-Family Homes or Mobile Homes To Be Located on an Existing Lot Within the Criteria Area, presented at the end of this section. This HANS process will not be construed as a limitation on the County's or the Cities' ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this HANS process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

B. Evaluation of Properties For Which a Development Application is Intended to be Filed

(1) Initial Application Review - Applications for proposed projects which are within the Criteria Area shall be subject to an initial review to determine if all or part of the property is necessary for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. The initial review period will be up to 45 days. This period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties. The applicant for a proposed project shall be required to submit the following information/ documents for purposes of conducting this review:

  1. a definition of the project area,
  2. a written project description with maps as appropriate,
  3. a written description of biological information available for the project site including the results of any available mapping or surveys,
  4. quantification of anticipated impacts to biological resources identified for the project, and
  5. an initial assessment of the relationship of the project as proposed to the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

The County or Cities shall provide the applicant with any information in its possession which would assist the applicant in preparing the aforementioned information/documents for submittal.

Surveys for riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools, Narrow Endemic Plant Species, and other species required pursuant to Sections 6.1.2, 6.1.3, and 6.3.2 of the MSHCP and determined to be necessary during the initial application review period may be conducted during the time period set forth below for the negotiation of terms and incentives and must be completed before the time period for negotiation of terms and incentives can be concluded. In the event the presence or absence of Narrow Endemic Plant Species has not been confirmed by a survey of the property and it is ultimately determined that all or part of the property may be needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area because of the potential presence of Narrow Endemic Plant Species, the 120-day time period set forth below may be reinitiated by the County or Cities.

If it is determined that all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, then the property owner will be provided, prior to the end of the initial review period, with an initial determination as to which incentives may be subject to negotiation. Upon completion of the initial application review, a complete application for the proposed project may be filed on that portion of the land not required for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area and processed concurrently during the time periods set forth below for the negotiation of terms and incentives and if necessary conflict resolution. When the initial project review process identifies the need for acquisition of a portion of the property proposed for development, the entitlement process may proceed on the portion of the property not proposed for Conservation concurrently with the acquisition process. The property owner may process a development application on the portion of the property under negotiation for acquisition prior to the completion of the acquisition period.

(2) Negotiation of Terms and Incentives - When it is determined that all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area or subjected to MSHCP Conservation Criteria, then the parties may enter into negotiations on the terms under which the property or any part thereof shall be included and conserved. The negotiation period shall be up to 120 days (following the 45-day initial application review period). If at the end of this 120-day period, agreement between the parties is not achieved, each party shall submit in writing the party's proposed resolution of terms. Thereafter, the negotiation period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties for a longer period.

a. Partial Inclusion of Property - In those instances where only part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, negotiations will focus on incentives in exchange for the conveyance of property. Such incentives may include monetary compensation. However, property owners shall not be provided monetary compensation (but may be eligible for other incentives) for property which would normally be set aside as part of the County's or Cities' entitlement process as this process occurs throughout the County of Riverside. As an incentive to convey property needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area and for which monetary compensation shall not be provided, Take Authorization may be granted upon project approval. In order to obtain this early authorization of Take, the conveyance must occur within 45 days after project approval. Any subsequent suspension or revocation of Permits terminating Take Authorization shall not be applicable to the Take Authorization granted upon the project's approval.

b. Full Inclusion of Property - In those instances where all of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, negotiations will focus on the acquisition of the property including establishing a purchase price and the application of other non-monetary incentives which may compensate the property owner and assist with the acquisition. In no event shall the purchase price exceed the fair market value of the property. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the fair market value for the property shall be determined by an appraisal ordered by the County or the Cities and conducted in accordance with the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" and the "Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice." In the event of any conflict between these standards, the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" will control. Fee title of property to be conveyed may not be required. The type of ownership to be conveyed will be taken into consideration when conducting the appraisal. Appraisal instructions shall be jointly prepared and agreed upon by the County or Cities and the property owner. Appraisal instructions will direct appraisers not to consider the MSHCP Criteria Area as relevant to the appraisal.

If it is determined at a staff level, during the course of negotiations that the property is not needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, then the proposed project may proceed through the normal project planning and design process. This determination shall not bind the Board of Supervisors' or any City Council's discretion concerning approval of the project.

A jurisdiction may subsequently decide that all or a portion of the property is necessary for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area or that MSHCP Conservation Criteria are to be applied to the project. In that case, the project proponent may redesign the project accordingly on any portion of the property that is not needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, and may reinitiate negotiations or commence the conflict resolution process (described below) on the portion of the property that is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area.

If the parties agree on the incentives and the terms prior to the expiration of the negotiation period, appropriate legal documents (development agreement, deed, lease agreement, etc.) shall be prepared for consideration and approval by the County or Cities (if applicable). Alternatively, if the parties are unable to reach agreement during the negotiation period, then the conflict resolution process (described below) may be commenced.

C. Evaluation of Properties For Which a Development Application is Not Intended to be Filed

(1) Initial Review - At the request of the property owner, property which is within the Criteria Area shall be subject to review in order to determine whether all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. The initial review period will be up to 45 days. This period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties. The property owner shall submit for purposes of conducting this review a written description of biological information available for the property including the results of any available mapping or surveys. If appropriate mapping or surveys are unavailable, the County or Cities may require that a habitat assessment be performed in order to assist with the determination as to whether all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. If it is determined that all or a part of the property is needed for the MSHCP Conservation Area, then the property owner shall be provided, prior to the end of the initial review period, with an initial determination as to which incentives may be subject to negotiation. The joint project/acquisition review process set forth in Section 6.6 shall be complied with during this initial review period.

(2) Negotiation of Terms and Incentives - When it is determined that all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area or subjected to MSHCP Conservation Criteria, then the parties may enter into negotiations on the terms under which the property or any part thereof will be acquired. The negotiation period will be up to 120 days (following the 45-day initial review period). If at the end of this 120-day period, agreement between the parties is not achieved, each party shall submit in writing the party's proposed resolution of terms. Thereafter, the negotiation period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties for a longer period.

Negotiations will focus on establishing a purchase price and other incentives that may be available to assist with the acquisition and compensate the property owner. In no event shall the purchase price exceed the fair market value of the property. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the fair market value for the property shall be determined by an appraisal ordered by the County or the Cities and conducted in accordance with the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" and the "Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice." In the event of any conflict between these standards, the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" will control. Fee title of property may not be required. The type of ownership to be conveyed will be taken into consideration when appraising the property. Appraisal instructions shall be jointly prepared and agreed upon by the County or Cities and the property owner.

If the parties agree on the incentives and the terms prior to the expiration of the negotiation period, appropriate legal documents (purchase agreement, deed, lease agreement, etc.) shall be prepared for consideration and approval by the County or Cities. Alternatively, if the parties are unable to reach agreement during the negotiation period, then conflict resolution may be commenced.

(3) Release from MSHCP Conservation Criteria - If it is determined that all or a portion of the property is not needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, any subsequent development application covering the property released shall not be required to comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. However, a subsequently submitted development application covering the property released shall be subject to a 45-day initial application review period. During this time, the County or Cities shall evaluate if circumstances have changed such that all or portion of the property may assist in compiling the MSHCP Conservation Area. The County or Cities shall not be prohibited from negotiating a voluntary acquisition of all or a portion of such property. The joint project/acquisition review process set forth in Section 6.6 shall be complied with during this review period.

Conflict Resolution Process

A. Introduction

In order to address in a fair and consistent manner, disputes which may arise concerning the (i) application of MSHCP Conservation Criteria, (ii) available incentives, or (iii) the valuation of property, a conflict resolution process is necessary. Conflict resolution may be initiated by the property owner or the County or Cities and allows for a neutral third party to assist in resolving disputes concerning the aforementioned issues. This Process will not be construed as a limitation on the County's or Cities' ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this Process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

B. Mediation

Mediation will initially be required to resolve differences between the parties over the proposed development options for the property (including the application of incentives) as well as differences regarding the application of MSHCP Conservation Criteria. Mediation may not be used to require the County or Cities to acquire property it has determined is not necessary for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area.

If the dispute involves the application of MSHCP Conservation Criteria, the initiating party must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game concerning the application of the Criteria prior to the initiation of mediation. The consultation period will be 30 days and may be extended with the consent of the initiating party.

The mediation period will be up to 90 days. This period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties. The parties shall also mutually agree to the appointment of a mediator. If the parties are unable to mutually agree to such an appointment, the Presiding Judge of the Riverside Superior Court shall be requested to appoint a mediator. All costs associated with the mediation shall be divided equally between the parties.

Upon completion of the mediation, the mediated resolution shall be complied with, and where a project is proposed, then the project may continue through the normal development review process. Alternatively, the property owner may either (i) request review of any remaining dispute by the Board of Supervisors (in the case of property within the unincorporated area of the County) or the City Council (in the case of property within a City) or (ii) initiate arbitration solely for disputes concerning the application of MSHCP Conservation Criteria (as indicated below).

C. Appraisal Review

Should a party opt to commence the Conflict Resolution Process as a result of the parties' inability to resolve differences concerning the valuation of property, a second appraisal shall be conducted, at the expense of the property owner, in accordance with the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" and the "Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice." In the event of any conflict between these standards, the "Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions" will control. Fee ownership of property to be conveyed may not be required. The type of ownership to be conveyed shall be taken into consideration when conducting the second appraisal.

Any discrepancies between this appraisal and the appraisal previously prepared by the County or the Cities shall be reviewed by a third appraiser mutually agreed to by both parties. Review by the third appraiser shall be completed within 90 days after the parties mutually agree to the selection of the third/review appraiser. If the parties are unable to agree upon the choice of a third/review appraiser, the Presiding Judge of the Riverside Superior Court shall be requested to select the third/review appraiser.

Upon completion of this review, the appraiser shall make recommendations as to which appraisal should be approved. If such a recommendation cannot be made, the third appraiser shall within 90 days conduct an appraisal in accordance with the aforementioned standards. The third appraisal shall then establish the fair market value of the property.

Any recommendations of the third/review appraiser upon completion of the third appraiser's review or if necessary any third appraisal shall be binding upon the parties solely with respect to the issue of establishing the fair market value of the property. Should any subsequent acquisition of the property involve state and/or federal monies, an update or review of the third appraisal may be necessary.

The cost for conducting this review and any necessary third appraisal shall be divided equally between the parties.

D. Arbitration

If the parties are unable to resolve through mediation differences concerning the application of MSHCP Conservation Criteria, arbitration may be initiated by either party, with the consent of the property owner.

The arbitration period will be up to 180 days. This period may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties. The parties shall also mutually agree to the appointment of an arbitrator. If the parties are unable to mutually agree to an appointment, the Presiding Judge of the Riverside Superior Court shall be requested to appoint an arbitrator.

The property owner, the County or Cities may submit to the arbitrator, evidence concerning the application of the MSHCP Conservation Criteria to the property in question. Any cost for such evidence shall be born by the party submitting said evidence. The decision of the arbitrator shall be based solely upon the Conservation Criteria as applied to the property in question and any evidence supporting the application of the Conservation Criteria. The arbitrator's decision shall be binding upon both parties.

Completion of Acquisition

A. Completion of Acquisition If Funding is Available

Following conclusion of successful negotiations or appraisal review under the Conflict Resolution Process and any necessary action by the Board of Supervisors or City Council, the property shall be promptly purchased provided sufficient MSHCP funds are available. The General Fund of the County or Cities shall not be obligated to fund the purchase of property for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. In addition to the County and the Cities, it is anticipated and expected that State and Federal agencies may either purchase or provide funding to purchase property for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area.

B. Completion of Acquisition or Submittal of Development Application if Funding is Not Immediately Available

(1) Conveyance of Property (with Purchase Price of $100,000 or Less) and for which a Development Application is Intended to be Pursued - If it is anticipated that the property may not be purchased within one year after a purchase or option agreement is entered into (whether due to lack of funds or otherwise), then the County or Cities shall initiate an amendment to the MSHCP to remove the property from the Criteria Area at least nine months prior to the expiration of this one year period. The County or City shall confer with the property owner when drafting the proposed amendment to the MSHCP, and use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this one year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Because the USFWS must conduct an internal formal consultation under Section 7 of FESA for any such amendment to the MSHCP, the USFWS shall provide a draft copy of its internal biological opinion for review and comment to the County or City prior to approval or denial of the permit amendment. The County or City shall share the draft biological opinion with the property owner and provide any comments from the property owners along with the County's or City's comments to the USFWS. The property owner shall have an opportunity to meet and confer with the USFWS with regard to the effects of the proposed amendment. The County or City shall use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this one year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Thereafter, if the property is not purchased or removed from the Criteria Area within one year after a purchase or option agreement is entered into, then the property owner may request that the County or Cities process a development application for the property intended to be acquired without further consideration of the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. However, payment of the impact mitigation fee shall be required as a condition of any approval. This process shall not be construed as a limitation on the County's or Cities' ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this Process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. Prior to issuance of a grading permit which would result in ground disturbance, the RCA, County, Cities or appropriate State or Federal Agency may negotiate with the property owner and enter into a new purchase or option agreement to purchase the property.

Any development application subsequently approved by the County or Cities that precludes compliance with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria shall result in suspension or revocation of the Permits terminating Third Party Take Authorization under the MSHCP and Implementing Agreement. Such suspension or revocation may occur entirely or only as to specified Area Plans, Covered Species, Covered Lands, or Covered Activities, and future development applications affected by the suspension or revocation shall no longer be subject to the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

In the alternative, if the property is not immediately purchased, then at the request of the property owner, the purchase agreement may be renegotiated and the property shall be placed on a priority list for acquisition. This list will be established in order to provide some level of assurance to the property owner that the property shall be purchased when funding is available. Placement on the list will be based solely upon the date a property owner requests to be placed on the list. Funding for the acquisition of properties on the priority list will be provided through a separate designated fund (percentage of MSHCP funds received will be included in this fund). This fund will provide funding solely for the acquisition of property for which a development application is intended to be filed.

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to the conveyance of adjoining property (or property within the same subdivision) by the same owner which if considered together would exceed $100,000. Any such conveyance shall be subject to the provisions involving the conveyance of property with a purchase price of more than $300,000 or the total value of the lands together, whichever is less.

(2) Conveyance of Property (with Purchase Price of $200,000 or Less) and for which a Development Application is Intended to be Filed - If it is anticipated that the property may not be purchased within two years after a purchase or option agreement is entered into (whether due to lack of funds or otherwise), then the County or Cities shall initiate an amendment to the MSHCP to remove the property from the Criteria Area at least nine months prior to the expiration of this two-year period. The County or City shall confer with the property owner when drafting the proposed amendment to the MSHCP, and use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this one year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Because the USFWS must conduct an internal formal consultation under Section 7 of FESA for any such amendment to the MSHCP, the USFWS shall provide a draft copy of its internal biological opinion for review and comment to the County or City prior to approval or denial of the permit amendment. The County or City shall share the draft biological opinion with the property owner and provide any comments from the property owners along with the County's or City's comments to the USFWS. The property owner shall have an opportunity to meet and confer with the USFWS with regard to the effects of the proposed amendment. The County or City shall use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this two-year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Thereafter, if the property is not purchased or removed from the Criteria Area within two years after a purchase or option agreement is entered into, then the property owner may request that the County or Cities process a development application for the property intended to be acquired without further consideration of the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. However, payment of the impact mitigation fee shall be required as a condition of any approval. This process will not be construed as a limitation on the County's or any participating City's ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this Process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. Prior to issuance of a grading permit which would result in ground disturbance, the RCA, County, Cities or appropriate State or Federal Agency may negotiate with the property owner and enter into a new purchase or option agreement to purchase the property.

Any development application subsequently approved by the County or Cities that precludes compliance with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria shall result in suspension or revocation of the permits terminating Third Party Take Authorization under the MSHCP and Implementing Agreement. Such suspension or revocation may occur entirely or only as to specified Area Plans, Covered Species, Covered Lands, or Covered Activities and future development applications affected by the suspension or revocation shall no longer be subject to the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

In the alternative, if the property is not immediately purchased, then at the request of the property owner, the purchase agreement may be renegotiated and the property shall be placed on a priority list for acquisition. This list will be established in order to provide some level of assurance to the property owner that the property shall be purchased when funding is available. Placement on the list will be based solely upon the date a property owner requests to be placed on the list. Funding for the acquisition of properties on the priority list will be provided through a separate designated fund (percentage of MSHCP funds received will be included in this fund). This fund will provide funding solely for the acquisition of property for which a development application is intended to be filed.

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to the conveyance of adjoining property (or property within the same subdivision) by the same owner which if considered together would exceed $200,000. Any such conveyance shall be subject to the provisions involving the conveyance of property with a purchase price of more than $300,000 or the total value of the lands together, whichever is less.

(3) Conveyance of Property (with Purchase Price of $300,000 or Less) and for which a Development Application is Intended to be Filed - If it is anticipated that the property may not be purchased within three years after a purchase or option agreement is entered into (whether due to lack of funds or otherwise), then the County or Cities shall initiate an amendment to the MSHCP to remove the property from the Criteria Area at least nine months prior to the expiration of this three-year period. The County or City shall confer with the property owner when drafting the proposed amendment to the MSHCP, and use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this one year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Because the USFWS must conduct an internal formal consultation under Section 7 of FESA for any such amendment to the MSHCP, the USFWS shall provide a draft copy of its internal biological opinion for review and comment to the County or City prior to approval or denial of the permit amendment. The County or City shall share the draft biological opinion with the property owner and provide any comments from the property owners along with the County's or City's comments to the USFWS. The property owner shall have an opportunity to meet and confer with the USFWS with regard to the effects of the proposed amendment. The County or City shall use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this three-year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Thereafter, if the property is not purchased or removed from the Criteria Area within three years after a purchase or option agreement is entered into, then the property owner may request that the County or Cities process a development application for the property intended to be acquired without further consideration of the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. However, payment of the impact mitigation fee shall be required as a condition of any approval. This process will not be construed as a limitation on the County's or Cities' ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this Process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. Prior to issuance of a grading permit which would result in ground disturbance, the RCA, County, Cities or appropriate State or Federal Agency may negotiate with the property owner and enter into a new purchase or option agreement to purchase the property.

Any development application subsequently approved by the County or Cities that precludes compliance with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria shall result in suspension or revocation of the Permits terminating Third Party Take Authorization under the MSHCP and Implementing Agreement. Such suspension or revocation may occur entirely or only as to specified Area Plans, Covered Species, Covered Lands, or Covered Activities and future development applications affected by the suspension or revocation shall no longer be subject to the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

In the alternative, if the property is not immediately purchased, then at the request of the property owner, the purchase agreement may be renegotiated and the property shall be placed on a priority list for acquisition. This list will be established in order to provide some level of assurance to the property owner that the property shall be purchased when funding is available. Placement on the list shall be based solely upon the date a property owner requests to be placed on the list. Funding for the acquisition of properties on the priority list will be provided through a separate designated fund (percentage of MSHCP funds received will be included in this fund). This fund shall provide funding solely for the acquisition of property for which a development application is intended to be filed.

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to the conveyance of adjoining property (or property within the same subdivision) by the same owner which if considered together would exceed $300,000. Any such conveyance shall be subject to the provisions involving the conveyance of property with a purchase price of more than $300,000.

(4) Conveyance of Property (with a Purchase Price of more than $300,000) and for which a Development Application is Intended to be Filed - If it is anticipated that the property may not be purchased within four years or any shorter period of time as may be authorized by the RCA after a purchase or option agreement is entered into or any longer period of time which may be agreed to by the property owner and the County or Cities (whether due to lack of funds or otherwise), then the County or Cities shall initiate an amendment to the MSHCP to remove the property from the Criteria Area at least nine months prior to the expiration of this 4-year period or any longer period of time set forth in an option agreement. The County or City shall confer with the property owner when drafting the proposed amendment to the MSHCP, and use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this one year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Because the USFWS must conduct an internal formal consultation under Section 7 of FESA for any such amendment to the MSHCP, the USFWS shall provide a draft copy of its biological opinion for review and comment to the County or City prior to approval or denial of the permit amendment. The County or City shall share the draft biological opinion with the property owner and provide any comments from the property owners along with the County's or City's comments to the USFWS. The property owner shall have an opportunity to meet and confer with the USFWS with regard to the effects of the proposed amendment. The County or City shall use its best efforts to insure completion of the amendment within this four-year time period or any longer period of time agreed to by the parties. Thereafter, if the property is not purchased or removed from the Criteria Area within four years after a purchase or option agreement is entered into, then the property owner may request that the County or Cities process a development application for the property intended to be acquired without further consideration of the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. However, payment of the impact mitigation fee shall be required as a condition of any approval. This process will not be construed as a limitation on the County's or Cities' ability to approve or deny a development application except that a project consistent with this process may not be denied solely because a development application does not comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria. Prior to issuance of a grading permit which would result in ground disturbance, the RCA, County, Cities or appropriate State or Federal Agency may negotiate with the property owner and enter into a new purchase or option agreement to purchase the property.

Any development application subsequently approved by the County or Cities that precludes compliance with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria shall result in suspension or revocation of the Permits terminating Third Party Take Authorization under the MSHCP and Implementing Agreement. Such suspension or revocation may occur entirely or only as to specified Area Plans, Covered Species, Covered Lands, or Covered Activities and future development applications affected by the suspension or revocation shall no longer be subject to the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.

If the property is not immediately purchased, then at the request of the property owner, the purchase agreement may be renegotiated and the property shall be placed on a priority list for acquisition. This list will be established in order to provide some level of assurance to the property owner that the property will be purchased when funding is available. Placement on the list shall be based solely upon the date a property owner requests to be placed on the list. Funding for the acquisition of properties on the priority list will be provided through a separate designated fund (percentage of MSHCP funds received will be included in this fund). This fund shall provide funding solely for the acquisition of property for which a development application is intended to be filed.

(5) Conveyance of Property for Which a Development Application is Not Intended to be Filed - If the property is not immediately purchased after a purchase agreement is entered into, or after expiration of an option agreement, or any longer period of time which may be agreed to by the parties (whether due to the lack of funds or otherwise), then the property will be placed on a priority list for acquisition. This list will be established in order to provide some level of assurance to the property owner that the property shall be purchased when funding is available. Placement on the list shall be based solely upon the date a purchase or option agreement was entered into or any longer period of time which may have been agreed to by the parties. Funding for the acquisition of properties on the priority list will be provided through a separate designated fund (percentage of MSHCP funds received will be included in this fund). This fund will provide funding solely for the acquisition of property for which a development application is not intended to be filed. The property owner may at any time remove his/her property from this list.

(6) POTENTIAL ANNUAL PAYMENTS - Options or other mechanisms that would allow RCA to make annual payments to property owners for purposes of payment of property taxes or other carrying costs during the acquisition period will be considered as part of the HANS Process. In addition, Local Permittees and the RCA will advocate for property tax relief measures when lands are pending acquisition for conservation as appropriate.

Expedited Review Process for Single Family Homes or Mobilehomes to Be Located on an Existing Lot Within the Criteria Area

Currently, the location of a single family home or mobile home on an existing legal lot is determined by a number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, access, topography/terrain, zoning development standards including setbacks, soil types, presence of earthquake fault lines, leach fields, presence of oak trees and location of a lot within a high fire hazard area. Consequently, applicants for permits to construct or locate such homes are not allowed to build or site the home anywhere the applicant chooses on the existing legal lot. With this understanding, the following expedited review process has been developed to assist in determining the appropriate location of a single family home or mobile home on an existing legal lot within the Criteria Area.

An application for the issuance of a grading permit for an individual single family home including associated secondary structures on an existing legal lot or a site preparation permit for a mobile home including associated secondary structures on an existing legal lot within the Criteria Area shall be subject to review against the MSHCP Conservation Criteria solely in order to determine the appropriate location of a building foot print area and any necessary access road(s) on the least sensitive portion of the lot. The time period for this review will be 90 days. This time period may run concurrently with the time period that the grading or site preparation plans that are subject to plan check review and may be extended upon the mutual consent of the parties. The joint project/acquisition review process set forth in Section 6.6 shall be complied with during this review period. A habitat assessment for certain species may be required in order to assist in determining the most appropriate location for the building footprint area and any necessary access road(s). Nothing in this section should be construed to mean that the building footprint area shall be required to be sited adjacent to any necessary access road. Similarly, nothing in this section should be construed to mean that the least sensitive portion of the site would be adjacent to an access road. Upon completion of the 90-day review period, the County or Cities shall determine the location of the building footprint area, and the location of any necessary road(s). Any necessary firebreaks shall be included within the building footprint.

If during the 90-day review period it is determined that all or part of the property may benefit assembly of the MSHCP Conservation Area, the County or Cities may negotiate with the property owner to acquire the entire lot or portion thereof or determine which incentives may apply in order to acquire a conservation easement over that portion of the property not necessary for access road(s) and outside of the building footprint area. If the County or City is unable to reach agreement with the property owner concerning the acquisition of the entire lot or a conservation easement over a portion of the lot upon completion of the review period, the property owner may proceed with the processing of the grading or site preparation permit application. Neither the County or City shall require property to be dedicated as a condition of issuance of any necessary construction permit if a mutually agreed upon acquisition of all or a portion of the property is not achieved. However, compliance with the location of the building footprint area as well as the location of any necessary road(s) shall be required.

The number of grading or site preparation permits for the construction or location of a single family home or a mobilehome on an existing legal lot located within the Criteria Area shall be monitored and reported on at least an annual basis in order to insure that appropriate assembly of the MSHCP Conservation Area is occurring.

6.1.2 Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to describe the process through which protection of riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools would occur within the MSHCP Plan Area. Protection of these areas is important to Conservation of the following listed species:

Amphibians

Birds

Fish

Invertebrates - Crustaceans

Plants

The purpose of the procedures described in this section is to ensure that the biological functions and values of these areas throughout the MSHCP Plan Area are maintained such that Habitat values for species inside the MSHCP Conservation Area are maintained.

Survey, Mapping and Documentation Requirements

As projects are proposed within the Plan Area, an assessment of the potentially significant effects of those projects on riparian/riverine areas, and vernal pools shall be performed as currently required by CEQA using available information augmented by project-specific mapping provided to and reviewed by the Permittee's biologist(s). Riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools are defined for this section as follows:

• Riparian/Riverine Areas are lands which contain Habitat dominated by tress, shrubs, persistent emergents, or emergent mosses and lichens, which occur close to or which depend upon soil moisture from a nearby fresh water source; or areas with fresh water flow during all or a portion of the year.

• Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that occur in depression areas that have wetlands indicators of all three parameters (soils, vegetation and hydrology) during the wetter portion of the growing season but normally lack wetlands indicators of hydrology and/or vegetation during the drier portion of the growing season. Obligate hydrophytes and facultative wetlands plant species are normally dominant during the wetter portion of the growing season, while upland species (annuals) may be dominant during the drier portion of the growing season. The determination that an area exhibits vernal pool characteristics, and the definition of the watershed supporting vernal pool hydrology, must be made on a case-by-case basis. Such determinations should consider the length of the time the area exhibits upland and wetland characteristics and the manner in which the area fits into the overall ecological system as a wetland. Evidence concerning the persistence of an area's wetness can be obtained from its history, vegetation, soils, and drainage characteristics, uses to which it has been subjected, and weather and hydrologic records.

• Fairy Shrimp. For Riverside, vernal pool and Santa Rosa fairy shrimp, mapping of stock ponds, ephemeral pools and other features shall also be undertaken as determined appropriate by a qualified biologist.

With the exception of wetlands created for the purpose of providing wetlands Habitat or resulting from human actions to create open waters or from the alteration of natural stream courses, areas demonstrating characteristics as described above which are artificially created are not included in these definitions.

Information necessary for the assessment includes identification and mapping of riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools. The assessment shall consider species composition, topography/ hydrology, and soil analysis, where appropriate. The assessment may be completed as part of the CEQA review process as set forth in Article V of the State CEQA Guidelines.

The documentation for the assessment shall include mapping and a description of the functions and values of the mapped areas with respect to the species listed above, under "Purpose." Factors to be considered include hydrologic regime, flood storage and flood flow modification, nutrient retention and transformation, sediment trapping and transport, toxicant trapping, public use, wildlife Habitat, and aquatic Habitat. The functions and values assessment will focus on those areas that should be considered for priority acquisition for the MSHCP Conservation Area, as well as those functions that may affect downstream values related to Conservation of Covered Species within the MSHCP Conservation Area.

If the mapping noted above identifies suitable Habitat for the species listed below, and the proposed project design does not incorporate avoidance of the identified Habitat, focused surveys for those species shall be conducted, and avoidance and minimization measures implemented in accordance with the species-specific objectives for those species. Species-specific objectives for the species are presented in Section 9.0 of this document and in Section B of The Reference Document, Volume II of the MSHCP Plan.

Birds

Invertebrates-Crustaceans

Future Availability of Programmatic Wetland Delineation: A functional assessment and programmatic wetland delineation for the San Jacinto River and Upper Santa Margarita River Watersheds within the MSHCP Plan Area is currently being developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This effort is part of the ACOE Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) process currently underway for those watersheds. Data assembled as part of those studies may supplement some of the information obtained through the mapping requirements described in this section. As those data become available, the procedures in this section may be reviewed and requirements reduced with the concurrence of the Wildlife Agencies in light of the data assembled through the SAMP process.

Avoidance and Minimization

The mapping developed as part of the process described above will be used to identify aquatic resources such as riparian/riverine areas, vernal pools and other jurisdictional areas that may be acquired for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. If such areas are identified, negotiations may proceed in accordance with the HANS process described in Section 6.1.1 of this document.

For identified and mapped resources not necessary for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, applicable mitigation under CEQA, which may include federal and state regulatory standards related to wetland functions and values shall be imposed by the Permittees. To ensure that these standards are met, Permittees shall ensure that, through the CEQA process, project applicants develop project alternatives demonstrating efforts that first avoid, and then minimize direct and indirect effects to the wetlands mapped pursuant to this section and shall review these alternatives with the Permittee. An avoidance alternative shall be selected, if Feasible. If an avoidance alternative is selected, measures shall be incorporated into the project design to ensure the long-term Conservation of the areas to be avoided, and associated functions and values, through the use of deed restrictions, conservation easement, or other appropriate mechanisms.

If an avoidance alternative is not Feasible, a practicable alternative that minimizes direct and indirect effects to riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools and associated functions and values to the greatest extent possible shall be selected. Those impacts that are unavoidable shall be mitigated such that the lost functions and values as they relate to Covered Species are replaced as set forth below under the Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation.

Edge treatments shall also be addressed as part of the avoidance and minimization process for areas not to be included in the MSHCP Conservation Area. Edges are areas in proximity to sensitive Habitat where land use should be reviewed to provide protection for the sensitive Habitat. Consideration of edge treatments is typically required in the review of all projects under existing regulations and procedures. The application of these existing regulations and procedures can contribute to the long-term conservation of functions and values of riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools within the MSHCP Plan Area to assure maintenance of functions and values within the MSHCP Conservation Area. The extent and type of edge treatment needs to be evaluated on a project-by-project and resource-by-resource basis but should consider the following potential indirect impacts: lighting, noise, trash/debris, urban and stormwater runoff, toxic materials, exotic plant and animal infestations, dust, trampling and unauthorized recreational use, and their relation to the functions and values of the areas to be conserved. Guidelines for such edge treatments are presented as Land Use Guidelines Pertaining to the Urban/Wildlands Interface in Section 6.1.4 of this document.

Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation

If an avoidance alternative is not Feasible and a practicable alternative is instead selected as set forth above, determination of biologically equivalent or superior preservation shall be made by the Permittee to ensure replacement of any lost functions and values of Habitat as it relates to Covered Species. The determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation shall include the following information to be supplied by the applicant and reviewed by the Permittee.

Prior to approval of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation Determinations, the Wildlife Agencies shall be notified and be provided a 60-day review and response period. A written record of determinations shall be maintained and shall be included in the annual reporting documentation prepared by the Permittees and submitted to the Wildlife Agencies as set forth in Section 6.11 of this document.

Relationship to Existing Wetland Regulations

Projects that affect wetland Vegetation Communities shall be required to comply with the applicable regulatory standards related to wetlands functions and values. The purpose of this discussion is to identify current regulatory processes and indicate their relationship to the process set forth in the MSHCP. It should be noted that current wetland regulatory processes beyond the process described in this section are not relied upon for coverage of species addressed in the MSHCP. Many wetland communities (e.g., vernal pools, freshwater marsh, riparian forests, riparian woodlands, riparian scrub, open water, disturbed wetlands, flood channel, river and stream beds) within the Plan Area include areas subject to California Fish and Game Code (CFG Code) Section 1600 et seq. and the federal Clean Water Act (Sections 401, 402 and 404). Such areas will continue to be regulated by state and federal agencies. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) shall continue to consult with the USFWS pursuant to Section 7 of the FESA on projects that may affect federally listed species within ACOE jurisdictional wetlands and waters. The CDFG shall continue to work closely with the Corps, USFWS, and local jurisdictions to ensure that the CFG Code Section 1600 et seq. agreements are consistent with the mitigation required for Covered Species. In addition, other existing regulations related to wetland Habitats, such as the Porter-Cologne Act shall continue to apply.

Additional Species Benefits

In addition to benefitting the listed species identified in the "Purpose" discussion of this section, benefits of following the procedures outlined in this section would also accrue to the following additional species:

Amphibians

Birds

Fish

Invertebrates - Crustaceans

Plants

Reptiles

6.1.3 Protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species

Purpose

The MSHCP is a Criteria-based plan, focused on preserving individual species through Conservation. Conservation is based on the particular Habitat requirements of each species as well as the known distribution data for each species. The existing MSHCP database does not, however, provide the level of detail sufficient to determine the extent of the presence or distribution of Narrow Endemic Plant Species within the MSHCP Plan Area. Since Conservation planning decisions for these species will have a substantial effect on the status of these species, additional information regarding the presence of these species must be gathered during the long-term implementation of the MSHCP to ensure that appropriate Conservation of these species occurs.

MSHCP Narrow Endemic Plant Species List

The Narrow Endemic Plant Species list for the MSHCP is presented below. The letter (F) shown in parentheses in the list below indicates that the species is generally confined to Forest Service lands.

Narrow Endemic Plant Species Survey, Mapping and Documentation Requirements

Within identified Narrow Endemic Plant Species survey areas (including the MSHCP Conservation Area), site-specific focused surveys for Narrow Endemic Plant Species shall be required for all public and private projects where appropriate Habitat is present. The Narrow Endemic Plant Species survey areas are depicted on Figure 6-1. These survey areas were identified based on the presence of select soils, existing occurrence data for Narrow Endemic Plant Species (UC Riverside database and CNDDB), personal communication with the USFWS and Fred Roberts, a botanist with extensive experience in Western Riverside County. Select soils were digitized from 1971 Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey (Knecht 1971); they include Altamont clay, Auld clay, Bosanko clay, clay pit, Domino, Porterville cobbly clay, Traver and Willow soils. Habitat type was also a consideration.

The Narrow Endemic Plant Species survey areas include Habitats in various stages of disturbance. Almost all of the Habitats have been disturbed by some form of mechanical disturbance (e.g., farming, clay mining, etc.) at some time in the past; thus, quality and current potential to support Narrow Endemic Plant Species varies within the Habitats. Some locations within the Narrow Endemic Plant Species survey areas have been relatively undisturbed within the past 10 years and are considered to be of higher quality (i.e., higher potential for occurrence of Narrow Endemic Plant Species) while other locations have been highly disturbed within the last few years and are considered to be of lower quality (i.e., lower potential for occurrence of Narrow Endemic Plant Species). However, given the underlying soils and the possible presence of a seed bank in those soils, even the areas of lower quality areas have the potential to support Narrow Endemic Plant Species if allowed to remain undisturbed (e.g., if farmed fields are allowed to go fallow, flood control activities cease, etc.). Therefore, site-specific focused surveys for Narrow Endemic Plant Species shall be required within the Narrow Endemic Plant Species survey areas where appropriate soils and Habitat are present. Surveys shall be conducted in the appropriate season, in accordance with established accepted protocols (for species for which protocols have been established).

Survey results shall be documented in mapped and text form and shall be presented for review by the Permittee. Where survey results are positive (i.e., a Narrow Endemic Plant Species is present), any proposals with the potential to affect Narrow Endemic Plant Species shall be subject to avoidance, minimization and mitigation strategies, as described below. Specific habitat requirements for certain Narrow Endemic Plant Species or populations may limit the ability to minimize impacts to these species through transplanting/translocation or revegetation.





Habitat Suitability Assessments

Prior to conducting surveys for Narrow Endemic and Criteria Area Survey plant species within the Narrow Endemic Plant Species Survey Area (NEPSSA) (Figure 6-1) and the Criteria Area species survey areas (see Figure 6-2 in Section 6.3.2), habitat suitability assessments may be undertaken by a biologist/botanist with expertise in the plant species of concern to determine whether focused surveys for individual species are required and to focus the species-specific survey efforts. In general, habitat suitability assessments may be undertaken year-round, with the exception of vernal pool species for which habitat suitability assessments must be conducted during the rainy season. Species found in vernal pools and associated Habitats include the following Narrow Endemic Plant Species: San Diego ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila), spreading navarretia (Navarretia fossalis), California Orcutt grass (Orcuttia californica), and Wright's trichocoronis (Trichocoronis wrightii var. wrightii). Species found in vernal pools and associated Habitats include the following Criteria Area Survey plant species: San Jacinto Valley crownscale (Atriplex coronator var. notatior), Parish's brittlescale (Atriplex parishii), Davidson's saltscale (Atriplex serenana var. davidsonii), thread-leaved brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia), Coulter's goldfields (Lasthenia glabrata ssp. coulteri), little mousetail (Myosurus minimus), and prostrate navarretia (Navarretia prostrata).

For species with specific known reliance on rainfall and hydrology affinities, completion of a habitat suitability assessment and/or focused survey with negative results shall be sufficient to satisfy survey requirements for those species during years with at least normal rainfall. Focused surveys for these plant species may only be undertaken during the blooming period. These Narrow Endemic Plant Species include the following: Yucaipa onion (Allium marvinii), Munz's onion (Allium munzii), slender-horned spineflower (Dodecahema leptocerus), many-stemmed dudleya (Dudleya multicaulis), and Brand's phacelia (Phacelia stellaris). These Criteria Area Survey plant species include the following: smooth tarplant (Centromadia pungens ) and mud nama (Nama stenocarpum).

Table 6-1 depicts the Narrow Endemic and Criteria Area Survey Plant Species' individual attributes and habitat affinities that must be addressed during habitat suitability assessments. In particular, habitat suitability assessments must address the presence and distribution of the identified Habitat and soils on the project site. Upon completion of the habitat assessment, a report shall be submitted by the Applicant's biologist/botanist to the Permittee for review and approval. The habitat assessment shall include information on the Habitat and soils present onsite, date of habitat assessment, precipitation data for that year, and a recommendation as to whether focused surveys are necessary.

TABLE 6-1
NARROW ENDEMIC AND CRITERIA AREA SURVEY PLANT SPECIES ATTRIBUTES AND HABITAT AFFINITIES
Species NEPSSA
Survey Area ID #
Annual/
Perennial
Habitat Soils Blooming Period Special Considerations
Narrow Endemic Plant Species (14 total)
Brand's phacelia
Phacelia stellaris
7 Annual Sandy washes and/or benches in alluvial flood plains. Sandy soils March through June This species is generally dependent on periodic flooding and sediment transport. Population size may vary from year to year depending upon rainfall.
California Orcutt grass
Orcuttia californica
2, 3, 4 Annual Vernal pools Alkaline soils and southern basaltic claypan. April through June In Riverside County, this species can be difficult to detect as the vernal pools it inhabits may receive enough water to germinate and grow the plants only two or three times a decade. Therefore, surveys conducted during years of rainfall inadequate to germinate the species may not result in detection.
Hammitt's clay-cress (F)
Sibaropsis hammittii
10 Annual Chaparral and valley and foothill grassland habitats at elevations of 700 m to 1,100 m. Clay soils March through April  
Johnston's rockcress (F)
Arabis johnstoni
6 Perennial Chaparral and pine forest at elevations of 1,400 m to 2,150 m. No known soils requirements. February to June Johnston's rockcress is known to occur in association with Munz's mariposa lily.
many-stemmed dudleya
Dudleya
multicaulis
1, 2, 10 Perennial Clay soils in barrens, rocky places, and ridgelines as well as thinly vegetated openings in chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and southern needlegrass grasslands on clay soils. Clay soils May and June although flowering can take place as early as March in coastal locations. Observations indicate that early rains followed by prolonged dry periods during midwinter may cause individuals to become dormant while extended periods of rain throughout the rainy season encourage flowering. Many-stemmed dudleya is an ephemeral perennial originating from a corm and thus, may not be detectable from one year to the next. Population size varies considerably from year to year both in number of seedlings produced and number of mature plants leafing out. Populations may not be detectable in dry years and population boundaries may be difficult to delineate.
Munz's mariposa lily (F)
Calochortus palmeri var. munzii
6 Perennial bulb Seasonally-moist, fine granitic loam on exposed knolls in the shade of lower montane coniferous forest (yellow pine woodland), and on moist, sandy clay in chaparral and meadows at elevations between 900 m and 1640 m. Fine granitic loam and sandy clay. May through July Munz's mariposa lily is known to occur in association with Johnston's rockcress.
Munz's onion
Allium munzii
1, 2, 4 Perennial bulb Mesic exposures or seasonally moist microsites in grassy openings in coastal sage scrub, chaparral, juniper woodland, valley and foothill grasslands in clay soils. Munz's onion is restricted to clay soils with the exception of one population documented to occur in association with pyroxenite outcrops April through May A bulb-bearing perennial, this species may not flower in very dry years and may be difficult to locate during surveys conducted in such a year.
San Diego ambrosia
Ambrosia pumila
2 Perennial Open floodplain terraces or on in the watershed margins of vernal pools. This species occurs in a variety of associations that are dominated by sparse non-native grasslands or ruderal habitat in association with river terraces, vernal pools, and alkali playas. Garretson gravelly fine sandy loams when in association with floodplains, and on Las Posas loam in close proximity to silty, alkaline soils of the Willows series San Diego ambrosia appears to be primarily a clonal species that does not, under current conditions, favor sexual reproduction. A portion of San Diego ambrosia populations remain dormant in dry years and because of its vegetative similarity with other Ambrosia spp., it is difficult to inventory in terms of identification, number of individuals and true spatial extent of populations. Additional multi-year surveys are usually necessary to determine presence or absence of the species in superficially suitable habitats.
San Jacinto Mountains
bedstraw (F)
Galium angustifolium ssp.
jacinticum
6 Annual/
perennial
Partially shady, lower montane mixed forest and coniferous forest. No known soils requirements. June through
August
 
San Miguel savory (Santa Rosa Plateau, Steele Rock)
Satureja chandleri
10 Perennial Coastal sage scrub, chaparral, cismontane woodland, riparian woodland, and valley and foothill grasslands. Rocky, gabbroic and metavolcanic substrates. March through
May
 
slender-horned spine flower
Dodecahema
leptoceras
1, 5 Annual At the majority of sites, slender-horned spine flower is found in sandy soil in association with mature alluvial scrub. In the Vail Lake area this species is also associated with gravel soils of Temecula arkose deposits in association with open chamise chaparral. The ideal habitat appears to be a terrace or bench that receives overbank deposits every 50 to 100 years. Sandy or gravelly soils, frequently with cryptogamic crusts. April through
June
This species is generally dependent on mature alluvial scrub that is maintained by periodic flooding and sediment transport. Individuals are small, and thus may be difficult to locate. Population size varies considerably from year to year depending upon rainfall.
spreading navarretia
Navarretia fossalis
3 Annual Vernal pools and depressions and ditches in areas that once supported vernal pools. Saline-alkaline May through
June
Upon fruiting, this species fades rapidly and can be difficult to detect late in the dry season or in dry years
Wright's trichocoronis
Trichocoronis wrightii var. wrightii
2, 3 Annual Alkali playa, alkali annual grassland, and alkali vernal pools. Alkali soils May to
September
 
Yucaipa onion
Allium marvinii
8 Perennial bulb Openings in chaparral habitat at elevations between 760 and 1065 m . Clay
April through May A bulb-bearing perennial, this species may not flower in very dry years and may be difficult to locate during surveys conducted in such a year.
Criteria Area Survey Plant Species (13 total)
Coulter's goldfields
Lasthenia glabrata ssp.
coulteri
3, 4 Annual Alkali scrub, alkali playas, vernal pools, and, alkali grasslands. Traver, Domino and Willows soils. Most Riverside County populations are associated with the Willows soil series. February through June Because of its annual habit and reliance on periodic inundation, population size varies considerably from year to year, and can be difficult to recognize in dry years or after recent disturbance such as discing.
Davidson's saltscale
Atriplex serenana var.
davidsonii
2, 3 Annual Alkali vernal pools, alkali annual grassland, alkali playa, and alkali scrub components of alkali vernal plains. Domino, Willows and Traver soils series. May through October Low, obscure, and difficult to distinguish from other saltbushes. Because of its annual habit and reliance on periodic inundation, population size varies considerably from year to year. This species can be difficult to recognize in dry years or after recent disturbance such as discing.
heart-leaved pitcher sage
Lepechinia cardiophylla
7, 8 Perennial Closed-cone coniferous forest, chaparral and cismontane woodland. Decomposed granite soils. April through July  
little mousetail
Myosurus minimus
1, 2, 3, 4 Annual Vernal pools and within the alkali vernal pools and alkali annual grassland components of alkali vernal plains. Alkaline soils. April through May Little mousetail depends on specific hydrology associated with vernal pools. This species may not germinate or be detectable in dry years. Little mousetail is associated with California Orcutt's grass, San Diego button celery, Orcutt's brodiaea, Coulter's goldfields, San Jacinto Valley crownscale, Davidson's saltscale, Parish's brittlescale, vernal barley, smooth tarplant, and thread-leaved brodiaea.
mud nama
Nama stenocarpum
7 Annual Muddy embankments of marshes and swamps, and within lake margins and riverbanks.   January through July  
Nevin's barberry
Berberis nevinii
5, 6 Perennial Chaparral and alluvial scrub. Coarse soils and rocky slopes (chaparral) and gravelly wash margins (alluvial scrub). March through April  
Parish's brittlescale
Atriplex parishii
2, 3 Annual Alkali vernal pools, alkali annual grassland, alkali playa, and alkali scrub components of alkali vernal plains. Domino, Willows and Traver soils series. June through October This species is small, easily overlooked, and its habitat is often mistaken for being highly disturbed late in the dry season. Population size varies considerably from year to year depending upon rainfall and local flooding and may not be detectable every year.
prostrate navarretia
Navarretia
prostrata
3 Annual Coastal sage scrub, valley and foothill grassland (alkaline washes) and vernal pools.   April through July  
round-leaved filaree
Erodium
macrophyllum
1, 4 Annual/biennial Open cismontane woodland and valley and foothill grassland . Clay soils March through May  
San Jacinto Valley
crownscale
Atriplex coronata var.
notatior
2, 3 Annual Floodplains (seasonal wetlands) dominated by alkali scrub, alkali playas, vernal pools, and, to a lesser extent, alkali grasslands. San Jacinto Valley crownscale is restricted to highly alkaline, silty-clay soils in association with the Traver-Domino-Willows soil association; the majority (approximately 80 percent) of the populations being associated with the Willows soil series. April through May San Jacinto Valley crownscale may be difficult to distinguish from other species of Atriplex ( particularly A. rosea) early or late in the season. This species is found in association with Parish's brittlescale, thread-leaved brodiaea, smooth tarplant, California Orcutt grass, Coulter's goldfields, little mousetail and spreading navarretia.
smooth tarplant
Centromadia
pungens
(formerly known as Hemizonia pungens ssp. laevis)

1, 2, 3,
4
Annual Alkali scrub, alkali playas, riparian woodland, watercourses, and alkaline grasslands. Primarily alkaline soils. April through November In the spring, when in juvenile form, smooth tarplant is difficult to distinguish from Hemizonia paniculata. Smooth tarplant is frequently associated with other rare species, including San Jacinto Valley crownscale, Davidson's saltscale, Parish's brittlescale, vernal barley, Coulter's goldfields, and thread-leaved brodiaea.
thread-leaved brodiaea
Brodiaea filifolia
3 Annual Gentle hillsides, valleys, and floodplains in semi-alkaline mudflats, vernal pools, mesic southern needlegrass grassland, mixed native-nonnative grassland and alkali grassland. Clay, or alkaline silty-clay soils. March through June The size and extent of populations within suitable habitat vary in response to the timing and amount of rainfall, as well as temperature patterns. In any given year only a fraction of the plants will develop to maturity. Thread-leaved brodiaea is known to hybridize with other species of Brodiaea which may affect identification in areas of overlap. Thread-leaved brodiaea is associated with San Diego button-celery and California Orcutt grass.
Vail Lake ceanothus
Ceanothus
ophiochilus -
5 Perennial Dry habitats along ridgetops and north-northeast-facing slopes in chamise chaparral. Shallow soils originating from ultra-basic parent rock and deeply weathered gabbro, which are both phosphorous-deficient. mid-February through March Outside of the flowering period, it is difficult to differentiate Vail Lake ceanothus from surrounding Adenostoma. Vail Lake ceanothus is able to hybridize with Ceanothus crassifolius where the two species occur together.


Narrow Endemic Plant Species Avoidance and Minimization

The information developed as part of the process described above shall be used to identify Narrow Endemic Plant Species population areas that should be made priorities for MSHCP Conservation Area acquisition. If such areas are identified, acquisition would proceed in accordance with the HANS process described in Section 6.1.1 of this document. It is understood that the habitat acquisition process shall be used to assemble the MSHCP Conservation Area in a manner that meets the biological goals of the Plan from multiple perspectives including species populations, Vegetation Communities and reserve design and function.

For Narrow Endemic Plant Species populations identified as part of the survey process described above, impacts to 90% of those portions of the property that provide for long-term conservation value of the identified Narrow Endemic Plant Species shall be avoided until it is demonstrated that conservation goals for the particular species are met. Avoidance shall not be considered to be Conservation contributing to Reserve Assembly unless the avoided populations are acquired and managed as Additional Reserve Lands. Individual species conservation goals are presented in Section 9.0 of this document. Findings of equivalency shall be made as outlined below to demonstrate that the 90% standard has been met.

If it is determined that the 90% threshold cannot be met and achievement of overall MSHCP conservation goals for the particular species have not yet been demonstrated, the Permittee(s) must make a Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation as described below.

Surveys undertaken in accordance with this Section 6.1.3 may be discontinued in accordance with applicable species-specific objectives presented in Section 9.2 of this document and Volume II, Section B of the Plan. Circumstances associated with discontinuation of surveys and disposition of 90% avoidance areas are described below.

Discontinuation of Surveys: When species-specific objectives contained in Section 9.2 and Volume II, Section B of the Plan are met for individual species described in this section, findings that the objectives have been met will be made by the RCA and will be transmitted to the Reserve Managers Oversight Committee (RMOC) and the Monitoring Program Administrator (MPA). Information supplied to the RMOC and the MPA will include available data regarding the presence, distribution and status of the applicable species within the MSHCP Conservation Area and data supporting the conclusion that the species objectives have been met. In particular, data assembled as part of the MSHCP Monitoring and Management Plan will be made available to the RMOC and the MPA. The RMOC and MPA will seek input, as appropriate, from the Independent Science Advisors (ISA), the Wildlife Agencies, management and monitoring personnel, and outside experts.

The RMOC and MPA will be asked to make and report to the RCA on two possible findings. The first finding will be to confirm that the applicable species-specific objectives continue to be valid based on the then-current best available scientific and commercial information, including considerations regarding the likelihood that continued surveys would result in discovery of significant new populations of the applicable species. The RMOC and MPA will also confirm that the identified species-specific objectives have been met based on their independent review and assessment of the information supplied by the RCA. When this finding is reported to the RCA, the RCA will hold a noticed, public hearing for the purpose of formally discontinuing survey requirements for the applicable species.

The second finding will be made by the RMOC and MPA if they recommend a change to the applicable species-specific objectives based on then-current best available scientific and commercial information, including considerations regarding the likelihood that continued surveys would result in discovery of significant new populations of the applicable species. Such a recommendation may or may not involve discontinuation of survey requirements. This finding will be reported to the RCA for appropriate action, accompanied by a noticed, public hearing. If the RCA accepts this finding, an amendment to the MSHCP would, if necessary, be initiated to revise the species-specific objectives as appropriate. An amendment resulting in changes to species-specific objectives would be subject to public review and comment.

Release of 90% Avoidance Areas: The 90% areas to be avoided under this policy shall be avoided until species-specific objectives contained in Section 9.2 and Volume II, Section B of the Plan are met for the applicable species. When it is determined that species objectives are met, findings that the objectives have been met will be made by the RCA and will be transmitted to the RMOC and the MPA for review using the process for discontinuation of surveys noted above.

Following confirmation that species-specific objectives have been met and surveys have been discontinued according to the process described above, disposition of 90% areas avoided may proceed according to the following process. The RCA will prepare a summary of available documentation regarding 90% areas avoided for the particular species for which conservation objectives have been met and may seek input from the RMOC and MPA regarding the long-term value of these areas when considered as a whole. Project proponents may choose to submit development proposals for 90% avoidance areas, as long as it is determined that the avoided areas were not mitigation under other laws or regulations (e.g., CEQA), or may offer lands to permanent conservation and management. Such proposals would be subject to the normal review and approval requirements of local, state and federal agencies. In addition, such proposals will be submitted by the RCA to the RMOC and MPA for their review. The RMOC and MPA will seek input, as appropriate, from the Independent Science Advisors (ISA), the Wildlife Agencies, management and monitoring personnel, and outside experts. The RMOC and MPA will consider the following factors in their review of such proposals: a) potential long-term biological viability of the avoided area; b) potential beneficial contribution of the avoided area to the applicable species (e.g., through increased genetic diversity or demographic contributions to a metapopulation); and c) potential contribution of the avoided area to overall integrity of the MSHCP Conservation Area (e.g., contributions to maintenance of functional linkages, ecosystem function, or buffers for other conserved areas).

Based on these factors, the RMOC and MPA will recommend to the RCA that the avoided area be made available for development or that it be considered for acquisition, conservation and management as part of the MSHCP Conservation Area, in accordance with the acquisition procedures incorporated in the Plan. Recommendations of the RMOC and MPA will be reviewed with the RCA, applicable Local Permittee and project proponent for appropriate action. Actions taken as a result of such recommendations will be heard by the RCA at a noticed public hearing. The number of 90% avoidance areas on which future development is sough is anticipated to be small given the MSHCP requirement that the 90% avoidance criterion apply to areas with long-term conservation value for the species which would indicate that most of these areas will be determined to be desirable for Reserve Assembly when originally identified.

Equivalency Findings

The following information shall be included in the equivalency findings to demonstrate that the 90% threshold has been met.

Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation

Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation shall be made if making the equivalency findings is determined to be infeasible. A Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation by the Permittee(s) shall be based upon the Criteria for findings of equivalency, as defined above, as well as an expanded written description of the project. The expanded project description shall include information demonstrating that although the proposed project would exceed the 10% Narrow Endemic Plant Species impact threshold, with proposed design and compensation measures, it would result in an overall MSHCP Conservation Area design and configuration biologically equivalent or superior to that which would occur under a project alternative within the impact threshold without these measures.

Demonstration that the biologically equivalent or superior alternative would provide benefits with respect to MSHCP Conservation Area design and configuration should be considered in the context of the following factors:

Prior to approval of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation determinations, the Wildlife Agencies shall be notified of such determinations and be provided a 60-day review and response period. A written record of such determinations shall be maintained and shall be included in the annual reporting documentation prepared by the Permittees and submitted to the Wildlife Agencies as set forth in Section 6.11 of this document.

6.1.4 Guidelines Pertaining to the Urban/Wildlands Interface

The guidelines presented in this section are intended to address indirect effects associated with locating Development in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area, where applicable. Existing local regulations are generally in place that address the issues presented in this section. Specifically, the County of Riverside and the 14 Cities within the MSHCP Plan Area have approved general plans, zoning ordinances and policies that include mechanisms to regulate the development of land. In addition, project review and impact mitigation that are currently provided through the CEQA process address these issues.

Sections 3.2 and 3.3 of this document provide a general description of the MSHCP Conservation Area and contain the Criteria for Reserve Assembly. As the MSHCP Conservation Area is assembled, "hard-line" boundaries shall be established and Development may occur adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Future Development in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area may result in Edge Effects that will adversely affect biological resources within the MSHCP Conservation Area. To minimize such Edge Effects, the following guidelines shall be implemented in conjunction with review of individual public and private Development projects in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Edge effects associated with existing and future land uses in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area shall also be addressed through overall MSHCP management activities described in Section 5.0 of this document, particularly General Management Measures 1 and 8 as described in Section 5.2.1.

Drainage

Proposed Developments in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area shall incorporate measures, including measures required through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements, to ensure that the quantity and quality of runoff discharged to the MSHCP Conservation Area is not altered in an adverse way when compared with existing conditions. In particular, measures shall be put in place to avoid discharge of untreated surface runoff from developed and paved areas into the MSHCP Conservation Area. Stormwater systems shall be designed to prevent the release of toxins, chemicals, petroleum products, exotic plant materials or other elements that might degrade or harm biological resources or ecosystem processes within the MSHCP Conservation Area. This can be accomplished using a variety of methods including natural detention basins, grass swales or mechanical trapping devices. Regular maintenance shall occur to ensure effective operations of runoff control systems.

Toxics

Land uses proposed in proximity to the MSHCP Conservation Area that use chemicals or generate bioproducts such as manure that are potentially toxic or may adversely affect wildlife species, Habitat or water quality shall incorporate measures to ensure that application of such chemicals does not result in discharge to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Measures such as those employed to address drainage issues shall be implemented.

Lighting

Night lighting shall be directed away from the MSHCP Conservation Area to protect species within the MSHCP Conservation Area from direct night lighting. Shielding shall be incorporated in project designs to ensure ambient lighting in the MSHCP Conservation Area is not increased.

Noise

Proposed noise generating land uses affecting the MSHCP Conservation Area shall incorporate setbacks, berms or walls to minimize the effects of noise on MSHCP Conservation Area resources pursuant to applicable rules, regulations and guidelines related to land use noise standards. For planning purposes, wildlife within the MSHCP Conservation Area should not be subject to noise that would exceed residential noise standards.

Invasives

When approving landscape plans for Development that is proposed adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area, Permittees shall consider the invasive, non-native plant species listed in Table 6-2 and shall require revisions to landscape plans (subject to the limitations of their jurisdiction) to avoid the use of invasive species for the portions of Development that are adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Considerations in reviewing the applicability of this list shall include proximity of planting areas to the MSHCP Conservation Areas, species considered in the planting plans, resources being protected within the MSHCP Conservation Area and their relative sensitivity to invasion, and barriers to plant and seed dispersal, such as walls, topography and other features.

TABLE 6-2
PLANTS THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED
ADJACENT TO THE MSHCP CONSERVATION AREA

BOTANICAL NAME COMMON NAME
Acacia spp. (all species) acacia
Achillea millefolium var. millefolium common yarrow
Ailanthus altissima tree of heaven
Aptenia cordifolia red apple
Arctotheca calendula cape weed
Arctotis spp. (all species & hybrids) African daisy
Arundo donax giant reed or arundo grass
Asphodelus fistulosus asphodel
Atriplex glauca white saltbush
Atriplex semibaccata Australian saltbush
Carex spp. (all species*) sedge
Carpobrotus chilensis ice plant
Carpobrotus edulis sea fig
Centranthus ruber red valerian
Chrysanthemum coronarium annual chrysanthemum
Cistus ladanifer (incl. hybrids/varieties) gum rockrose
Cortaderia jubata [syn.C. Atacamensis] jubata grass, pampas grass
Cortaderia dioica [syn. C. sellowana] pampas grass
Cotoneaster spp. (all species) cotoneaster
Cynodon dactylon (incl. hybrids varieties) Bermuda grass
Cyperus spp. (all species*) nutsedge, umbrella plant
Cytisus spp. (all species) broom
Delosperma ‘Alba' white trailing ice plant
Dimorphotheca spp. (all species) African daisy, Cape marigold
Drosanthemum floribundum rosea ice plant
Drosanthemum hispidum purple ice plant
Eichhornia crassipes water hyacinth
Elaegnus angustifolia Russian olive
Eucalyptus spp. (all species) eucalyptus or gum tree
Eupatorium coelestinum [syn. Ageratina sp.] mist flower
Festuca arundinacea tall fescue
Festuca rubra creeping red fescue
Foeniculum vulgare sweet fennel
Fraxinus uhdei (and cultivars) evergreen ash, shamel ash
Gaura (spp.) (all species) gaura
Gazania spp. (all species & hybrids) gazania
Genista spp. (all species) broom
Hedera canariensis Algerian ivy
Hedera helix English ivy
Hypericum spp. (all species) St. John's Wort
Ipomoea acuminata Mexican morning glory
Lampranthus spectabilis trailing ice plant
Lantana camara common garden lantana
Lantana montevidensis [syn. L. sellowiana] lantana
Limonium perezii sea lavender
Linaria bipartita toadflax
Lolium multiflorum Italian ryegrass
Lolium perenne perennial ryegrass
Lonicera japonica (incl. ‘Halliana') Japanese honeysuckle
Lotus corniculatus birdsfoot trefoil
Lupinus arboreus yellow bush lupine
Lupinus texanus Texas blue bonnets
Malephora crocea ice plant
Malephora luteola ice plant
Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum little ice plant
Myoporum laetum myoporum
Myoporum pacificum shiny myoproum
Myoporum parvifolium (incl. ‘Prostratum') ground cover myoporum
Oenothera berlandieri Mexican evening primrose
Olea europea European olive tree
Opuntia ficus-indica Indian fig
Osteospermum spp. (all species) trailing African daisy, African daisy,
Oxalis pes-caprae Bermuda buttercup
Parkinsonia aculeata Mexican palo verde
Pennisetum clandestinum Kikuyu grass
Pennisetum setaceum fountain grass
Phoenix canariensis Canary Island date palm
Phoenix dactylifera date palm
Plumbago auriculata cape plumbago
Polygonum spp. (all species) knotweed
Populus nigra ‘italica ' Lombardy poplar
Prosopis spp. (all species*) mesquite
Ricinus communis castorbean
Robinia pseudoacacia black locust
Rubus procerus Himalayan blackberry
Sapium sebiferum Chinese tallow tree
Saponaria officinalis bouncing bet, soapwart
Schinus molle Peruvian pepper tree, California pepper
Schinus terebinthifolius Brazilian pepper tree
Spartium junceum Spanish broom
Tamarix spp. (all species) tamarisk, salt cedar
Trifolium tragiferum strawberry clover
Tropaelolum majus garden nasturtium
Ulex europaeus prickly broom
Vinca major periwinkle
Yucca gloriosa Spanish dagger
An asterisk (*) indicates some native species of the genera exist that may be appropriate.

Sources: California Exotic Pest Plant Council, United States Department of Agriculture-Division
of Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, California Native Plant Society,
Fremontia Vol. 26 No. 4, October 1998, The Jepson Manual; Higher Plants of California,
and County of San Diego-Department of Agriculture.

Barriers

Proposed land uses adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area shall incorporate barriers, where appropriate in individual project designs to minimize unauthorized public access, domestic animal predation, illegal trespass or dumping in the MSHCP Conservation Area. Such barriers may include native landscaping, rocks/boulders, fencing, walls, signage and/or other appropriate mechanisms.

Grading/Land Development

Manufactured slopes associated with proposed site development shall not extend into the MSHCP Conservation Area.

6.1.5 Maintenance of Existing Habitat Conditions Prior to Reserve Assembly

Reserve Assembly is anticipated to occur over a period of time during the life of the Permit. To ensure that resources ultimately to be conveyed to the MSHCP Conservation Area are maintained in their existing condition prior to Reserve Assembly, measures shall be implemented primarily through the existing grading ordinances of the Permittees. Grading includes clearing, grubbing and generally defined as follows:

Clearing - means the cutting and removal of natural vegetation by any means, without disturbance to the soil and root system.

Grubbing - means the removal of natural vegetation by any means including the removal of the root system.

Grading - means excavating or filling or any combination thereof.

It is understood that the Permittees generally regulate such clearing, grubbing and grading activities through existing ordinances that require issuance of a permit prior to conducting the activity. The permit may be subject to environmental review under CEQA. As part of the permit review process, proposed activities shall be reviewed for consistency with MSHCP Criteria.

Activities Within the Criteria Area

Proposed activities within the Criteria Area shall be reviewed for consistency with the MSHCP Criteria and consistency findings shall be incorporated in the permit issued for the proposed activity. If it is determined that the proposed activity would not be consistent with the MSHCP Criteria, the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pool guidelines, the Protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species guidelines, and the Additional Survey Needs and Procedures included in Section 6.1.2, 6.1.3 and 6.3.2, respectively, of this document, measures that could be incorporated into the proposed activity to achieve consistency shall be identified and those measures, if Feasible, shall be incorporated in the conditions of approval for the permit. A complete summary of all MSHCP species survey requirements is provided in Appendix E of this document. Measures that could be incorporated into the proposed activity to achieve consistency shall be identified and those measures, if Feasible, shall be incorporated in the conditions of approval for the permit. If no Feasible measures are identified that would achieve consistency, the HANS process or other local implementation mechanisms presented in Section 6.1 of this document shall be implemented.

Activities Outside the Criteria Area

Proposed activities outside the Criteria Area shall be reviewed for consistency with the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pool guidelines, the Protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species guidelines, and the Additional Survey Needs and Procedures included in Section 6.1.2, 6.1.3 and 6.3.2, respectively, of this document. A complete summary of all MSHCP species survey requirements is provided in Appendix E of this document. Findings demonstrating consistency of the proposed activity with these guidelines shall be incorporated in the permit issued for the proposed activity. If it is determined that the proposed activity would not be consistent with the referenced guidelines, measures that could be incorporated into the proposed activity to achieve consistency shall be identified and those measures, if Feasible, shall be incorporated in the conditions of approval for the permit. If no Feasible measures are identified that would achieve consistency, the HANS process or other local implementation mechanism presented in Section 6.1 of this document shall be implemented.

Please also refer to Section 6.2 of this document for guidelines pertaining to agricultural activities.

6.1.6 Mitigation Responsibilities

The Local Permittees shall have the following mitigation responsibilities during the long-term implementation process for the MSHCP.

County and Cities Obligations

The County and the Cities have the following obligations under the MSHCP and the IA:

A. Adopt and maintain ordinances or resolutions as necessary, and amend their General Plans as appropriate, to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for private and public Development projects. Such requirements include:

  1. the collection of Local Development Mitigation Fees and other relevant fees as set forth in Section 8.5 of this document;
  2. compliance with the HANS process or equivalent process to ensure application of the Criteria and thus, satisfaction of the local acquisition obligation;
  3. compliance with the policies for the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools, set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  4. compliance with the policies for the Protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  5. compliance with survey requirements as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  6. require Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines compliance as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  7. compliance with the Best Management Practices and the siting and design criteria as set forth in Section 7.0 and Appendix C of this document. The County and the Cities shall transmit to the RCA and the Wildlife Agencies relevant documents showing adoption and/or execution of the Implementation Mechanisms and any subsequent amendments thereto.

B. Transmit any collected Local Development Mitigation Fees, other appropriate fees and associated interest as described in Section 8.5 of this document to the RCA at least quarterly.

C. Contribute to Plan implementation and Reserve Assembly as determined appropriate by the affected Permittee for County and City public projects, including but not limited to any one or any combination of the following: 1) acquisition of replacement Habitat at a 1:1 ratio that is Biologically Equivalent or Superior to the property being disturbed; or 2) payment of the Local Development Mitigation Fees as established for commercial and industrial Development. Such contribution shall occur prior to impacts to Covered Species and their Habitats.

D. Participate as a member agency in the RCA as set forth in Section 6.6.2 of this document.

E. Notify the RCA, through the Joint Project/Acquisition Review Process set forth in Section 6.6.2 of this document, of proposed Discretionary Projects within the Criteria Area and participate in any further requirements imposed by that section.

F. Take all necessary and appropriate actions, following applicable land use permit enforcement procedures and practices, to enforce the terms of project approvals for public and private projects, including compliance with the MSHCP, the Permits and the IA.

G. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, the IA and the Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing within the MSHCP or the IA shall be construed to require any local government to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the fees collection, dedicated lands required pursuant to the IA and the MSHCP or other mitigation agreed to by the appropriate Parties, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

H. Manage MSHCP Conservation Area property or conservation easements owned or leased by the County or respective City pursuant to Sections 5.0 and 8.0 of this document.

I. Participate as a member of the RMOC as set forth in Section 6.6.4 of this document.

Regional Conservation Authority Obligations

The RCA has the following obligations under the MSHCP and the IA:

A. Adopt and maintain resolutions as necessary to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for its public projects, if any and for issuance of Take Authorization for Participating Special Entities. Such requirements include:

  1. collection of Local Development Mitigation Fees;
  2. compliance with the policies for the protection of species associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools as set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  3. compliance with the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species as set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  4. compliance with survey requirements as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  5. require Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines compliance as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  6. compliance with Best Management Practices and the siting and design criteria as set forth in Section 7.0 and Appendix C of this document.

B. Administer and oversee implementation of the MSHCP as set forth in Section 6.0 of this document.

C. Collect and expend Local Development Mitigation Fees and other applicable funds as described in Section 8.5 of this document.

D. Transfer Take Authorization to Participating Special Entities pursuant to Section 11.8 of the IA.

E. Accept and manage and monitor the MSHCP Conservation Area property including conservation easements that have been conveyed to the RCA by the County, Cities or other entity, agency or individual pursuant to Sections 5.0 and 8.0 of this document.

F. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, the IA and the Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing within the IA shall be construed to require the RCA to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the fees collected or dedicated lands required pursuant to the Permits, the IA and the MSHCP, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

G. Take all necessary and appropriate actions to enforce the terms of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA.

H. Participate as a member of the RMOC as set forth in Section 6.6.4 of this document.

County Flood Control (RCFCWCD) Obligations

County Flood Control has the following obligations under the MSHCP and the IA:

A. Adopt and maintain resolutions as necessary to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for its Covered Activities. Such requirements include:

  1. compliance with the policies for the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools as set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  2. compliance with the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species as set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  3. conduct surveys as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  4. compliance with all requirements of Section 7.3.7 of this document;
  5. compliance with the Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  6. compliance with the Best Management Practices and the siting requirements and design criteria as set forth in Section 7.0 and Appendix C of this document.

B. Contribute mitigation through payment of three (3) percent of total capital costs for a Covered Activity. Such payment may be offset through acquisition of replacement Habitat or creation of new Habitat for the benefit of Covered Species, as appropriate. Such mitigation shall be implemented prior to impacts to Covered Species and their Habitats.

C. Manage land owned or leased within the MSHCP Conservation Area that has been set aside for Conservation purposes pursuant to a management agreement to be executed between RCFCWCD and CDFG.

D. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, the IA and Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in the IA shall be construed to require RCFCWCD to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the fees collected or dedicated lands required pursuant to the Permits, the IA and the MSHCP, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

E. Participate as a member of the RMOC as set forth in Section 6.6.4 of this document.

County Parks Obligations

County Parks has the following obligations under the MSHCP and the IA:

A. Adopt and maintain resolutions as necessary to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for its Covered Activities. Such requirements include:

  1. compliance with the policies for the protection of species associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools as set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  2. compliance with the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species as set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  3. conduct surveys as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  4. compliance with the Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  5. compliance with the Best Management Practices (Appendix C of this document), and all other requirements of Section 7.0 of this document.

B. Contribute to Plan implementation and Reserve Assembly as determined appropriate by County Parks for its Covered Activities, including, but not limited to, any one or any combination of the following:

  1. acquisition of replacement Habitat at a 1:1 ratio that is Biologically Equivalent or Superior to the property being disturbed; or
  2. payment of Local Development Mitigation Fees as established by the County for commercial and industrial Development. Such contribution shall occur prior to impacts to Covered Species and their Habitats.

C. Manage and monitor land owned or leased within the MSHCP Conservation Area that has been set aside for Conservation purposes pursuant to Section 5.0 of this document and funding for such management and monitoring shall be provided pursuant to Section 8.0 of this document.

D. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, the IA and the Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in the IA shall be construed to require County Parks to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the requirements of the Permits, the IA and the MSHCP, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

E. Participate as a member of the RMOC as set forth in Section 6.6.4 of this document.

County Waste Obligations

County Waste has the following obligations under the MSHCP and the IA:

A. Adopt and maintain resolutions as necessary to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for its Covered Activities. Such requirements include:

  1. contribution of landfill tipping fees as set forth in Section 8.5 of this document;
  2. compliance with the policies for the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools as set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  3. compliance with the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species as set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  4. conduct surveys as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  5. compliance with the Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  6. compliance with the Best Management Practices (Appendix C of this document), and all other requirements of Section 7.0 of this document.

B. Manage land owned within the MSHCP Conservation Area that has been set aside for Conservation purposes pursuant to Section 5.0 of this document and funding for such management shall be provided pursuant to Section 8.0 of this document.

C. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, the IA and the Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing within the IA shall be construed to require County Waste to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the requirements of the Permits, the IA and the MSHCP, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

RCTC Obligations

RCTC has the following obligations under the IA and the MSHCP:

A. Adopt and maintain ordinances and resolutions as necessary to implement the requirements and to fulfill the purposes of the Permits, the MSHCP and the IA for its Covered Activities. Such requirements include:

  1. compliance with the policies for the Protection of Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools as set forth in Section 6.1.2 of this document;
  2. compliance with the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species as set forth in Section 6.1.3 of this document;
  3. conduct surveys as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document;
  4. compliance with the Urban/Wildlands Interface Guidelines as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document; and
  5. compliance with the Best Management Practices and the siting requirements and design criteria as set forth in Section 7.0 and Appendix C of this document.

B. Contribute mitigation in the amount of $153 million from Measure "A" funds for mitigation of its Covered Activities as described in Section 8.5.1 of this document. Such contribution shall occur proportionately prior to impacts to Covered Species and their Habitats.

C. Carry out all other applicable requirements of the MSHCP, this Agreement, and the Permits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing within this Agreement shall be construed to require RCTC to provide funding, or any other form of compensation, beyond the requirements of the Permits, this Agreement and the MSHCP, consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP.

Requirements' for Participating Special Entities

In addition to the requirements set forth in MSHCP Sections 6.1.2, 6.1.3, 6.1.4, and 6.3.2, Participating Special Entities shall also contribute to Plan implementation through payment of a fee based upon the type of proposed activity, which shall be applicable to all activities in the Plan Area. For Regional Utility Projects that will be constructed to serve Development, such as major trunk lines, Participating Special Entities shall pay a fee in the amount of 5 percent (5%) of total capital costs or take such other actions as may be agreed to by the RCA and the Wildlife Agencies. For such activities that will result in only temporary impacts and disturbance, Participating Special Entities shall pay a fee in the amount of three percent (3%) of total capital costs or other appropriate measures as may be agreed to by the RCA and the Wildlife Agencies. Public district or agency projects that will be constructed to serve Development, such as new schools and treatment plants, inside the Criteria Area shall be designed and implemented pursuant to the Criteria as described in Sections 3.0 and 7.0 of the MSHCP and all other requirements of the MSHCP, including payment of Local Development Mitigation Fees as adopted for commercial and industrial Development. For such activities outside the Criteria Area, contribution shall consist of payment of Local Development Mitigation Fees as adopted for commercial and industrial Development. All fees shall be either collected by, or submitted to, the RCA. All obligations must be satisfied prior to impacts to Covered Species and their Habitats.

6.2 AGRICULTURE

A. Definition of Agricultural Operations

"Agricultural Operations" means the production of all plants (horticulture), fish farms, animals and related production activities, including the planting, cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, and apiculture; and the production, plowing, seeding, cultivation, growing, harvesting, pasturing and fallowing for the purpose of crop rotation of any agricultural commodity, including viticulture, apiculture, horticulture, and the breeding, feeding and raising of livestock, horses, fur-bearing animals, fish, or poultry, the operation, management, conservation, improvement or maintenance of a farm or ranch and its buildings, tools and equipment; the construction, operation and maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, wells and/or waterways used for farming or ranching purposes and all uses conducted as a normal part of such Agricultural Operations; provided such actions are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Execution of the Implementing Agreement shall not constitute such compliance.

The use of pesticides is regulated by the state and federal Environmental Protection Agencies. Take associated with pesticide use is addressed in FESA Section 7 consultations between USFWS and United States Environmental Protection Agency. The MSHCP shall not be interpreted as imposing greater regulatory requirements than those existing prior to issuance of the Permits. The MSHCP shall not impose new or additional restrictions on Agricultural Operations adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area, except as set forth in Section 6.1.4 of this document. The definition of Agricultural Operations and therefore, Take Authorization, shall not extend to any activities on federal property.

B. Take Authorization for Existing Agricultural Operations

The Take Authorizations shall apply to those lands within MSHCP boundaries actively being used for ongoing Agricultural Operations for at least one of the last five years preceding the Effective Date of the Implementing Agreement ("Existing Agricultural Operations"). A time period of less than one year or growing season may be appropriate for certain crop types, at the RCA's sole discretion, if supported by adequate factual evidence. Existing Agricultural Operations shall be exempt from payment of the Local Development Mitigation Fee or other mitigation measures, except as specifically set forth in Section E below. The Take Authorization shall become effective as to Existing Agricultural Operations upon their inclusion into the County database as set forth below and issuance and receipt by the RCA of a Certificate of Inclusion or other appropriate written mechanism, which will occur solely for the purpose of documenting acknowledgment of Take Authorization and ensuring compliance with the Permits, the MSHCP and the Implementing Agreement. The County Agricultural Commissioner shall administer Certificates of Inclusion for Agricultural Operations under the direction of the RCA. Existing Agricultural Operations may change agricultural crop type and continue to receive Take Authorization, provided all requirements of this Section have been met. Change in Agricultural crop type will not count towards the 10,000 New Agricultural Lands Cap and does not trigger application of the MSHCP Criteria. Conversion from grazing or pasture land uses to a tilled crop shall not fall within the definition of Existing Agricultural Operations. Excluding the conversion of grazing or pasture land uses to a tilled crop from the definition of Existing Agricultural Operations shall not be interpreted as having any precedential effect.

C. Verification of Existing Agricultural Operations

In order to verify the location of the Existing Agricultural Operations, the County shall establish a database identifying Existing Agricultural Operations on or before the Effective Date of the MSHCP ("Existing Agricultural Operations Database"). The Existing Agricultural Operations Database shall include parcel numbers, acreage, ownership/operation names and mailing addresses. The County shall submit the information contained in the Existing Agricultural Operations Database to the RCA and Wildlife Agencies on an annual basis and shall include a map or other representation identifying parcels containing Existing Agricultural Operations. A Certificate of Inclusion or other written mechanism shall be completed to obtain Take Authorization, which will occur solely for the purpose of documenting acknowledgment of Take Authorization and ensuring compliance with the Permits, the MSHCP Plan, and the Implementing Agreement.

D. Addition of Existing Agricultural Operations Database

Upon written request by a property owner, operator or other appropriate party, property not included in the Existing Agricultural Operations Database shall be added based upon a determination by the RCA that such land falls within the definition of Existing Agricultural Operations. The written request must be 1) submitted to the RCA within sixty (60) months of the Effective Date of this Agreement; and 2) supported by adequate factual evidence which may include, but is not limited to, the following information or other information acceptable to the RCA: a) agricultural permits obtained from, and/or registrations filed with the County, State of California or other appropriate public agency; b) an approved Agricultural Grading/Clearing Exception Form as defined in County Ordinance No. 457; c) business, tax and property records; d) Agricultural Preserve and Williamson Act contract information; or e) aerial photographs and other relevant business records and information. Parcels of forty (40) acres or less may be added to the Existing Agricultural Operations Database and, thus, receive Take Authorization within forty-eight (48) months of the Effective Date of this Agreement provided good cause can be shown why a written request was not submitted within the sixty (60) month period set forth in this section. The burden is solely upon the property owner, operator or other appropriate party to provide adequate information to the RCA in a timely manner to allow inclusion into the Database. Once the RCA has determined that property should be added to the database, the information submitted to the RCA pursuant to this Section in support thereof shall be considered conclusive proof of Existing Agricultural Operations The County and the RCA shall strictly maintain the confidentiality of documents and other information submitted in connection with verifying Existing Agricultural Operations to the maximum extent permitted under the California Public Records Act, or any other relevant statute or regulation. The RCA shall consider such requests to add land to the Existing Agricultural Operations Database and make a determination within thirty (30) days of receipt of the written request.

The following activities will not be subject to the terms and conditions of the MSHCP:

  1. Well drilling permits for Agricultural Operations and private consumptive uses.
  2. Any permits related to livestock keeping for Agricultural Operations.
  3. Any permits related to legal pesticide and fertilizer use.
  4. Any permits related to farm outbuildings for Agricultural Operations;
  5. Farm outbuildings are defined as structures limited to two walls, such as tractor sheds and fruit and vegetable stands.

E. Expansion of Existing Agricultural Operations (Permit Required)

Expansion of Existing Agricultural Operations of similar use requiring a County or City discretionary permit or other discretionary authorization as defined in the County's agricultural zones set forth in Riverside County Ordinance No. 348 or relevant City land use regulation shall receive Take Authorization under the Permits, provided the requirements set forth in this Section are met. If the expansion requires a County or City discretionary permit or other discretionary authorization and occurs within the Criteria Area, then the Criteria shall be applied and appropriate mitigation imposed. Such projects shall not be subject to the Criteria and mitigation requirements if construction and operation disturbance and impacts are confined solely to the existing building footprint, i.e., limited to those areas that have been recently and consistently disturbed and have little or no Habitat value. If the expansion requires a County or City permit or other discretionary authorization and occurs outside the Criteria Area, then the Criteria shall not be applied. However, the policies for the protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species and Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools, requirements as set forth in Sections 6.1.2 and 6.1.3 of this document shall be applied and additional surveys required, as set forth in Section 6.3.2 of this document, if appropriate. Such projects shall not be subject to these requirements if construction and operation disturbance and impacts are confined solely to the existing building footprint. Expansion of Existing Agricultural Operations shall be subject to the HANS process or other applicable Implementation Mechanism.

F. New Agricultural Lands

As set forth in Section 6.2(D), all Agricultural Operations on parcels included on the Agricultural Operations Database that do not require a County or City discretionary permit or other discretionary authorization shall receive Take Authorization as Existing Agricultural Operations without the need to comply with the Criteria or MSHCP mitigation requirements. The Take Authorization shall be applied to a limited number of new lands to be used for Agricultural Operations (including Expansion of Existing Agricultural Operations not requiring a discretionary permit or other discretionary authorization), or subsequently determined to be converted to Agricultural use, after the Effective Date of the Implementing Agreement consistent with the goals of the MSHCP ("New Agricultural Lands"). The Take Authorization may be applied to up to 10,000 acres of New Agricultural Lands within the Criteria Area during the term of the MSHCP ("New Agricultural Lands Cap"). The Take Authorization shall apply to New Agricultural Lands that fall within the New Agricultural Lands Cap, as allowed to increase pursuant to the Amendment Process set forth in Section 6.10 of this document, upon: (1) submission and approval of an Agricultural Grading/Clearing Exception Form as set forth in Riverside County Ordinance No. 457; and (2) either (a) execution of a Williamson Act contract covering the New Agricultural Lands; or (b) County or City approval of any other mechanism providing equal or better assurance that the proposed New Agricultural Lands will be used for Agricultural Operations. In all instances, issuance of a Certificate of Inclusion or other written instrument must occur prior to Take Authorization. The County shall process all Agricultural Grading/Clearing Exception Forms pursuant to the requirements of Riverside County Ordinance No. 457.

In the event that Development is subsequently proposed for property that has been designated as New Agricultural Lands, such Development shall not be considered by the County or appropriate City for at least a five-year period following the inclusion of such property on the Existing Agricultural Operations Database. In limited cases of documented severe economic hardship, beyond the control of the property owner or operator as determined by the appropriate Permittee, the five-year period may be waived upon completion of a Minor Amendment to the MSHCP. This five-year requirement shall not be applicable to projects: 1) currently within an agricultural zone established by Ordinance No. 348, 2) whose building footprint will be wholly within property previously tilled as part of the Existing Agricultural Operations, 3) New Agricultural Activities including agricultural leases on properties for which a Development project has been approved, and 4) Agricultural leases on property that is not identified for Conservation in the context of the MSHCP Criteria.

Potential lessees could use information developed as part of the MSHCP to assist in determining whether property to be leased for agricultural uses would conflict with the MSHCP. It was determined that conflict would not exist if:

  1. The property is on the agricultural database;
  2. The property is outside the Criteria Area; or
  3. The property is not identified as desirable for Conservation by the MSHCP Criteria.

The County Agricultural Commissioner working as appropriate with Local Permittees can assist Lessees in making these evaluations by using the initial project review process incorporated in HANS. Take Authorization may be applied to unlimited new lands for Agricultural Operations outside the Criteria Area.

New Agricultural Lands shall be exempted from the payment of any impact mitigation fee or other mitigation measures imposed by the MSHCP, except as set forth in Section 11.3.5 of the IA. The cap on New Agricultural Lands acreage is intended to accommodate expansion of Agricultural Operations while providing a mechanism for accounting for Take within the Criteria Area. It is not to be interpreted as restricting the expansion of agricultural land uses in the Plan Area. The New Agricultural Lands Cap will only apply until Reserve Assembly is complete, which is estimated to be approximately 25 years from Permit issuance.

G. Increase in New Agricultural Lands Cap

The RCA shall monitor the acreage amount of New Agricultural Lands and the County shall add the parcel numbers, acreage and ownership information for the New Agricultural Lands to the Existing Agricultural Operations Database. An annual report containing this information shall be submitted to the Wildlife Agencies. By 2004, a map reflecting the location of New Agricultural Lands and their relationship to the Criteria Area shall be created and submitted to the Wildlife Agencies. This map shall be digitized and compatible with existing GIS systems. This map will be updated in 2005 and 2010. After 2010, the Parties shall agree when the preparation of future updated maps is appropriate. When the RCA determines that approximately 70 percent (70%) of the New Agricultural Lands Cap within the Criteria Area has been converted to New Agricultural Lands, the RCA shall seek approval of a Amendment from the Wildlife Agencies to increase the New Agricultural Lands Cap. The Wildlife Agencies shall use reasonable efforts to expeditiously consider and, if appropriate, approve said request. A Minor Amendment may be appropriate to increase the New Agricultural Lands Cap if it meets the requirements for a Minor Amendment pursuant to Section 6.10.2 of this document and Section 20.4 of the Implementing Agreement and if it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Wildlife Agencies that such an increase does not: (1) preclude Reserve Assembly, (2) significantly increase the cost of MSHCP Conservation Area Management or Assembly, and (3) preclude achieving Covered Species Conservation and goals.

When the RCA determines that approximately 70% of the New Agricultural Lands Cap within the Criteria Area has been converted to New Agricultural Lands then the County Agricultural Commissioner shall provide written notice mailed to each owner of parcels five acres or larger zoned for agricultural use of record with the County Assessor's Office and to each of the landowners on the Master Index and on the Index of the Agricultural Land Conversions, and shall publish a full-page advertisement and a legal notice in the Press Enterprise and the Californian once per week for four consecutive weeks, that: (1) includes information that Take Authorizations for conversions of non-agricultural lands to agricultural lands are in jeopardy of being exceeded, (2) explains the potential legal consequences of taking a listed species without the necessary Take Authorization, and (3) describes the procedure that the RCA shall follow for applying for an amendment to the MSHCP to cover agricultural land conversions in excess of the New Agricultural Lands Cap and opportunities for affected landowners to participate in the process. Every 5 years, the RCA in conjunction with the County Agricultural Commissioner shall review the status of the New Agricultural Lands Cap acreage amount and the need to begin processing a Plan amendment to increase the Cap.

6.3 DATABASE UPDATES AND REFINEMENTS/NEED FOR SURVEYS

6.3.1 Vegetation Mapping

The MSHCP vegetation map described in Section 2.0 of this document forms the basis for the assessment of Vegetation Communities to be conserved under the MSHCP. Individual project-level vegetation mapping may be required for the following circumstances:

6.3.2 Additional Survey Needs and Procedures

In addition to the Narrow Endemic Plant Species listed in Section 6.1.3, additional surveys may be needed for certain species in conjunction with Plan implementation in order to achieve coverage for these species. This section discusses those additional survey needs and procedures. A complete summary of all MSHCP species survey requirements is provided in Appendix E to this document.

In order to receive species coverage, the MSHCP must meet the FESA issuance criteria for HCPs which require, among other things, that the HCP disclose the impacts likely to result from the proposed taking, and measures the applicant shall undertake to avoid, minimize and mitigate such impacts. For the species discussed in this section for which coverage is sought under the MSHCP, existing available information is not sufficient to make findings necessary to satisfy these issuance criteria. For those species, survey requirements are incorporated in the MSHCP, to provide the level of information necessary to receive coverage for those species in the MSHCP.

Efforts have been made prior to approval of the MSHCP and shall be made during the early baseline studies to be conducted as part of the MSHCP management and monitoring efforts to collect as much information as possible regarding the species discussed in this section. As data are collected and conclusions can be made regarding the presence of occupied Habitat within the MSHCP Conservation Area for species discussed in this section, survey requirements may be modified or waived.

Surveys shall be conducted within suitable Habitat for the following species according to accepted protocols. For the plant species listed below, surveys shall be conducted within the Criteria Area as shown in Figure 6-2. The habitat suitability assessment procedures described in Section 6.1.3 may also be used for these plant species.

Plants:

For the amphibian, bird and mammal species, surveys shall be conducted within the survey areas shown on Figures 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5, respectively.

Amphibians:

Birds:

Mammals:

For locations with positive survey results, 90% of those portions of the property that provide for long-term conservation value for the identified species shall be avoided until it is demonstrated that conservation goals for the particular species are met. Avoidance shall not be considered to be Conservation contributing to Reserve Assembly unless the avoided populations are acquired and managed as Additional Reserve Lands. Individual species conservation goals are presented in Section 9.0 of this document. Findings of equivalency shall be made as outlined below demonstrating that the 90% standard has been met.

Surveys undertaken in accordance with this Section 6.3.2 may be discontinued in accordance with applicable species-specific objectives presented in Section 9.2 of this document and Volume II, Section B of the Plan. Circumstances associated with discontinuation of surveys and disposition of 90% avoidance areas are described below.

Discontinuation of Surveys: When species-specific objectives contained in Section 9.2 and Volume II, Section B of the Plan are met for individual species described in this section, findings that the objectives have been met will be made by the RCA and will be transmitted to the Reserve Managers Oversight Committee (RMOC) and the Monitoring Program Administrator (MPA). Information supplied to the RMOC and the MPA will include available data regarding the presence, distribution and status of the applicable species within the MSHCP Conservation Area and data

















supporting the conclusion that the species objectives have been met. In particular, data assembled as part of the MSHCP Monitoring and Management Plan will be made available to the RMOC and the MPA. The RMOC and MPA will seek input, as appropriate, from the Independent Science Advisors (ISA), the Wildlife Agencies, management and monitoring personnel, and outside experts.

The RMOC and MPA will be asked to make and report to the RCA on two possible findings. The first finding will be to confirm that the applicable species-specific objectives continue to be valid based on the then-current best available scientific and commercial information, including considerations regarding the likelihood that continued surveys would result in discovery of significant new populations of the applicable species. The RMOC and MPA will also confirm that the identified species-specific objectives have been met based on their independent review and assessment of the information supplied by the RCA. When this finding is reported to the RCA, the RCA will hold a noticed, public hearing for the purpose of formally discontinuing survey requirements for the applicable species.

The second finding will be made by the RMOC and MPA if they recommend a change to the applicable species-specific objectives based on then-current best available scientific and commercial information, including considerations regarding the likelihood that continued surveys would result in discovery of significant new populations of the applicable species. Such a recommendation may or may not involve discontinuation of survey requirements. This finding will be reported to the RCA for appropriate action, accompanied by a noticed, public hearing. If the RCA accepts this finding, an amendment to the MSHCP would, if necessary, be initiated to revise the species-specific objectives as appropriate. An amendment resulting in changes to species-specific objectives would be subject to public review and comment.

Release of 90% Avoidance Areas: The 90% areas to be avoided under this policy shall be avoided until species-specific objectives contained in Section 9.2 and Volume II, Section B of the Plan are met for the applicable species. When it is determined that species objectives are met, findings that the objectives have been met will be made by the RCA and will be transmitted to the RMOC and the MPA for review using the process for discontinuation of surveys noted above.

Following confirmation that species-specific objectives have been met and surveys have been discontinued according to the process described above, disposition of 90% areas avoided may proceed according to the following process. The RCA will prepare a summary of available documentation regarding 90% areas avoided for the particular species for which conservation objectives have been met and may seek input from the RMOC and MPA regarding the long-term value of these areas when considered as a whole. Project proponents may choose to submit development proposals for 90% avoidance areas, as long as it is determined that the avoided areas were not mitigation under other laws or regulations (e.g. CEQA), or may offer lands to permanent conservation and management. Such proposals would be subject to the normal review and approval requirements of local, state and federal agencies. In addition, such proposals will be submitted by the RCA to the RMOC and MPA for their review. The RMOC and MPA will seek input, as appropriate, from the Independent Science Advisors (ISA), the Wildlife Agencies, management and monitoring personnel, and outside experts. The RMOC and MPA will consider the following factors in their review of such proposals: a) potential long-term biological viability of the avoided area; b) potential beneficial contribution of the avoided area to the applicable species (e.g., through increased genetic diversity or demographic contributions to a metapopulation); and c) potential contribution of the avoided area to overall integrity of the MSHCP Conservation Area (e.g., contributions to maintenance of functional linkages, ecosystem function, or buffers for other conserved areas).

Based on these factors, the RMOC and MPA will recommend to the RCA that the avoided area be made available for development or that it be considered for acquisition, conservation and management as part of the MSHCP Conservation Area, in accordance with the acquisition procedures incorporated in the Plan. Recommendations of the RMOC and MPA will be reviewed with the RCA, applicable Local Permittee and project proponent for appropriate action. Actions taken as a result of such recommendations will be heard by the RCA at a noticed public hearing. The number of 90% avoidance areas on which future development is sough is anticipated to be small given the MSHCP requirement that the 90% avoidance criterion apply to areas with long-term conservation value for the species which would indicate that most of these areas will be determined to be desirable for Reserve Assembly when originally identified.

Equivalency Findings

The following information shall be included in the equivalency findings to demonstrate that the 90% threshold has been met.

If it is determined that the 90% threshold cannot be met, the Permittee(s) must make a determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation as described below.

Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation

Determination of biologically equivalent or superior preservation shall be made if making the equivalency findings is determined to be infeasible. A determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation by the Permittee(s) shall be based upon the criteria for findings of equivalency, as defined above, as well as an expanded written description of the project. The expanded project description shall include information demonstrating that although the proposed project would not achieve the 90% threshold, with proposed design and compensation measures, it would result in an overall MSHCP Conservation Area design and configuration biologically equivalent or superior to that which would occur under a project alternative within the impact threshold without these measures.

Demonstration that the biologically equivalent or superior alternative would provide benefits with respect to MSHCP Conservation Area design and configuration should be considered in the context of the following factors:

Prior to approval of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation determinations, the Wildlife Agencies shall be notified of such determinations and be provided with a 60-day review and response period. A written record of such determinations shall be maintained and shall be included in the annual reporting documentation prepared by the Permittees and submitted to the Wildlife Agencies as set forth in Section 6.11 of this document.

6.4 FUELS MANAGEMENT

Fuels management focuses on hazard reduction for humans and their property. Fuels management for human safety shall continue in a manner that is compatible with public safety and conservation of biological resources. Fuels management for human hazard reduction involves reducing fuel loads in areas where fire may threaten human safety or property, suppressing fires once they have started, and providing access for fire suppression equipment and personnel. It is recognized that brush management to reduce fuel loads and protect urban uses and public health and safety shall occur where Development is adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area. The following are four scenarios related to brush management adjacent to the MSHCP Conservation Area.

Fire management activities necessary for human safety and protection of biological resources may also occur within the MSHCP Conservation Area. Such activities may include construction of fire breaks, fuel reduction zones or efforts to manage fuel loads. To minimize negative effects and maximize positive effects on the MSHCP Conservation Area resources associated with these activities, the following guidelines shall be implemented:

6.5 CRITERIA REFINEMENT PROCESS

Individual public and private projects within the Plan Area are expected to be designed and implemented in accordance with the Criteria for each Area Plan presented in Section 3.2 of this document. Findings of consistency with the Criteria shall be made in conjunction with individual project approvals within the MSHCP Plan Area. In cases where refinements to the Criteria are desirable to facilitate Reserve Assembly, resulting in adjustments to the Criteria, the Criteria Refinement Process (CRP) described in this section shall apply.

The CRP is designed to be used in conjunction with processing complete applications for public and private Development projects within the Plan Area and for Permittee initiated refinements as determined appropriate. The CRP process shall not be used for initial project review of project consistency with Criteria or for initial identification of potential properties for acquisition. Features have been incorporated in the HANS process described in Section 6.1.1 of this document to address initial project review issues. The CRP also cannot be used for Criteria changes that would result in reductions in the Criteria Area; reductions in the Criteria Area would require an amendment to the MSHCP. Proposed Criteria refinements not determined to be biologically equivalent or superior to a project design consistent with the Criteria would require an amendment to the MSHCP. Procedures for MSHCP amendments are presented in Section 6.10 of this document.

Criteria Refinements may be initiated by Local Permittees, or at the request of private entities to Local Permittees if agreed to by the applicable Local Permittee, either for purposes of correcting minor discrepancies or inaccuracies or for evaluating alternative conservation proposals involving single or multiple landowners and jurisdictions that are of equivalent or superior benefit to Covered Species. Such Criteria Refinements may involve changes to Cores and Linkages as long as it is demonstrated that the Refinements would clearly benefit Covered Species and would be consistent with MSHCP policies and species conservation goals. A Local Permittee initiated Criteria Refinement is required to go through the same process described in this section for a landowner-initiated Criteria Refinement with the exception that the complete project application required for a landowner-initiated Criteria Refinement will be replaced by a complete description and rationale for the proposed Criteria Refinement for a Local Permittee initiated Criteria Refinement. Depending on the magnitude and scope of the Refinement, Local Permittees may need to evaluate environmental review requirements, land use plan changes, transportation planning considerations, consistency with other existing HCPs and other factors. Such Criteria Refinements shall also involve consultation with the County and/or Cities within which the Refinement is proposed as well as consistency with the Reserve Assembly Accounting process described in Section 6.7 of the Plan.

Refinements to the Criteria may be made without the need to amend the MSHCP where the refined Criteria result in the same or greater Conservation value and acreage to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Criteria refinements may occur for reasons such as:

  1. new biological information obtained through site-specific studies;
  2. updated land use information that clearly demonstrates an area as unsuitable for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area (primarily limited to the presence of existing Development); that was unknown at the time the MSHCP Criteria were developed);
  3. site-specific topographic, engineering or design information that materially affects the Development of the site and its relationship to the MSHCP Conservation Area;
  4. other reasons such as might be offered by a landowner or individual project proponent.

Prior to approving projects incorporating proposed Criteria refinements, the Permittee shall notify the Wildlife Agencies, RCA, other affected Permittees and affected property owners in writing. Criteria refinements shall be noticed as agenda items on RCA agendas. Such written notice shall include the project description, appropriate maps and findings as noted below. A 60-day review and response period shall be provided. In the event there is disagreement regarding Criteria refinements for a project, RCA staff shall schedule and hold a meeting with affected parties. Such meet and confer shall be held within thirty (30) calendar days of the close of the 60-day review and response period. In the event the parties are unable to resolve the disputed issues, the matter may be appealed to the RCA Board of Directors for final determination. Appeals shall be heard during a noticed public hearing. It should be noted that these procedures do not impede local land use authority.

Criteria Refinements that are proposed to incorporate Conservation outside of the Criteria Area to meet equivalency findings shall be subject to concurrence by the Wildlife Agencies. In such cases, the Permittee shall meet and confer with the Wildlife Agencies prior to submittal of information to the RCA. Upon submittal of a completed equivalency analysis, the Wildlife Agencies shall respond in writing within 60 days as to their concurrence with the analysis. If the Wildlife Agencies do not concur, the action shall require an amendment to the MSHCP. If the Wildlife Agencies concur, or if they fail to respond in writing within the 60-day period, the project shall proceed as a Criteria Refinement.

The process for evaluating and accepting refinements to the Criteria shall include assembly of necessary project information and completion of an equivalency analysis as described below:

Project Information

The following information shall be assembled by the project applicant for review by the Permittee for projects requesting deviations from the Criteria:

  1. Definition of the planning area for the project;
  2. Narrative and graphic description of the project;
  3. Narrative and graphic description of biological information available for the project site including current project-specific vegetation mapping and appropriate species surveys;
  4. Narrative and graphic description of the project's efforts to be consistent with the MSHCP Criteria and explanation of the rationale why consistency has been determined to be infeasible.
  5. Quantification and characterization of effects/benefits of the proposed project (incorporating Criteria refinements) on Habitats, species and overall MSHCP Conservation Area design and function including relationship to identified Core Areas, Linkages and Constrained Linkages.
  6. Any other information deemed necessary by the Permittee to make the appropriate findings.

Equivalency Analysis

Based on the assembled project information, an equivalency analysis shall be provided by the applicant for review by the Permittee in narrative and graphic form comparing the effects/benefits of the proposed project (incorporating Criteria refinements) and a project on the same site not deviating from the MSHCP Criteria. The analysis may include site-specific project design features as well as onsite and/or offsite mitigation offered by the project proponent. The equivalency analysis shall address the following categories:

  1. Effects on Habitats
  2. Effects on Covered Species
  3. Effects on Core Areas (as identified on the MSHCP Core and Linkage map, Figure 3-2)
  4. Effects on Linkages and Constrained Linkages (as identified on the MSHCP Core and Linkage map, Figure 3-2)
  5. Effects on Non-Contiguous Habitat Blocks (as identified on the MSHCP Core and Linkage map, Figure 3-2)
  6. Effects on MSHCP Conservation Area configuration and management (such as increases or decreases in edge)
  7. Effects on ecotones (defined as areas of adjoining Vegetation Communities, generally characterized by greater biological diversity) and other conditions affecting species diversity (such as invasion by exotics)
  8. Equivalent or greater acreage contributed to the MSHCP Conservation Area
  9. Applicant must demonstrate agreements or control over mitigation property being offered under the equivalency analysis.

The equivalency analysis shall draw conclusions regarding the degree to which the proposed project (incorporating Criteria refinements) is considered to be biologically equivalent or superior to a project on the same site not deviating from the MSHCP Criteria. Projects determined to be biologically equivalent or superior shall be determined to be acceptable refinements to the MSHCP Criteria and amendment to the MSHCP shall not be required prior to approval of such projects. Projects not determined to be biologically equivalent or superior shall be determined to be unacceptable deviations from the MSHCP Criteria and an amendment to the MSHCP would be required prior to approval of such projects. MSHCP amendment procedures are described in Section 6.10 of this document.

6.6 COOPERATIVE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE MSHCP

6.6.1 General

Successful implementation of the MSHCP requires both a local administrative structure and effective coordination with state and federal partners. Such implementation includes executing, monitoring and reporting coordinated MSHCP Conservation Area System Assembly activities, accumulating and distributing funds, managing and monitoring MSHCP Conservation Area Lands and ensuring Permittee compliance with the MSHCP. Towards that end, the Parties have established an organizational structure for implementation and management of the MSHCP ("Cooperative Organizational Structure"). The Cooperative Organizational Structure facilitates cooperation among the Permittees and the Wildlife Agencies and assures that MSHCP Conservation Area management and monitoring shall be consistent across jurisdictional boundaries. The Cooperative Organizational Structure also creates roles and responsibilities for elected officials.

The Cooperative Organizational Structure provides additional duties and responsibilities for the Parties and other agencies and individuals. However, it does not supercede, limit or otherwise negate the responsibilities assumed by the Parties as set forth in the MSHCP and the Implementing Agreement.

6.6.2 Regional Conservation Authority

A. Overview

Implementation of the MSHCP shall be overseen, administered and enforced by a joint regional authority formed by the County and the Cities pursuant to the requirements of the California Government Code and other appropriate legal authorities. This Authority shall be called the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA). The RCA shall have adequate authority to carry out the requirements of the Plan. The RCA shall sign the Implementing Agreement and shall be a Permittee under the Permits. However, the RCA shall not limit County or City local land use authority, or prevent a Permittee from approving a Discretionary Project.

The RCA shall be formed either as a new joint powers authority or as part of an existing joint powers authority, prior to issuance of the Permits. The County shall organize the first meeting of the RCA representatives who shall formally establish the RCA and adopt its governing rules consistent with all applicable legal requirements.

B. Board of Directors Composition

The RCA shall be governed by a Board of Directors. The RCA Board of Directors shall consist of the designated members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and an elected official from each of the Cities. Given the importance of the MSHCP, it is recommended that the Directors be appointed for a multi-year term or for multiple terms, as appropriate. Each member of the RCA Board of Directors shall have one vote at meetings of the RCA. The RCA Board of Directors may instead elect to conduct voting based upon a weighted system similar to that allowed pursuant to Section 130053.7 of the California Public Utilities Code. The RCA Board of Directors shall establish a procedure for the Directors to appoint an alternate member to the Board of Directors to represent a regular member of the Board who is unable to attend the meeting.

C. Duties and Responsibilities

The RCA Board of Directors shall provide the primary policy direction for the implementation of the MSHCP and shall provide opportunities for public participation in the decision-making process. Duties of the RCA shall include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Identify and make decisions on local Reserve Land acquisitions based on MSHCP-adopted MSHCP Conservation Area Design Criteria and Conservation Strategy, with input from the Funding Coordination Committee. Such decisions shall be compatible with the HANS process set forth in Section 6.1.1 of this document;
  2. Identify and make decisions on local funding priorities based on MSHCP-adopted MSHCP Conservation Area Design Criteria and Conservation strategy, with input from the Funding Coordination Committee. Such decisions shall be compatible with the HANS process set forth in Section 6.1.1 of this document;
  3. Coordinate implementation of the Plan by Permittees and the Wildlife Agencies;
  4. Endeavor to assist in resolving disputes between the Permittees and the Wildlife Agencies, including but not limited to Section 6.6.2, subsection E;
  5. Approve and submit to the Wildlife Agencies all reports required by the MSHCP;
  6. Approve all requests for funding submitted by Executive Director, the Reserve Management Oversight Committee and other entities implementing the Plan (over a certain amount);
  7. Negotiate and execute (prepare, coordinate, review and record) conservation easements and fee acquisitions;
  8. Accept gifts of land donated for Conservation;
  9. Accept mitigation land conveyed from the County and the Cities;
  10. Ensure transmission of impact mitigation fees, from the County and the Cities to the RCA, on a quarterly basis;
  11. Select, contract and consult with the Executive Director of the RCA.
  12. Create, appoint and consult with the Funding Coordination Committee, as described in Section 6.6.2. subsection D;
  13. Grant Third Party Take Authorization and Take Authorization to Participating Special Entities and others as set forth in Section 17.0 of the Implementing Agreement;
  14. Prepare and submit to the Wildlife Agencies all applications for Major Amendments to the MSHCP as described in Section 6.10 of this document;
  15. Assist Permittees in preparing and submitting to the Wildlife Agencies Minor Amendments to the MSHCP, including seeking expedited approval of such Amendments and maintaining records reflecting such Amendments;
  16. Establish policies as appropriate under which the Funding Coordination Committee shall make recommendations to theRCA;
  17. Hire and provide staff support, as necessary, to implement the MSHCP management and monitoring programs as set forth in Section 5.0 of this document;
  18. Contract with outside entities for specific services, such as law enforcement;
  19. Act as custodian of records for information concerning MSHCP implementation;
  20. Hold regularly scheduled public meetings in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act Open Meeting requirements;
  21. Develop and implement financing strategies to maximize funding sources;
  22. Manage and coordinate the MSHCP local funding plan as set forth in Section 8.0 of this document;
  23. Review and approve the annual funding budget for the MSHCP Conservation Area Monitoring Program submitted by the Executive Director;
  24. Adopt an annual budget, including but not limited to a capital improvement program that identifies planned capital and land acquisition expenditures;
  25. Coordinate with state and federal agencies on MSHCP funding;
  26. When appropriate, assume the duties and responsibilities of the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency ("RCHCA") pursuant to the Long-Term Stephens' Kangaroo Rat Habitat Conservation Plan and/or the RCHCA bylaws, as set forth in Section 16.2 of the Implementing Agreement; and
  27. Maintain a list of accepted species survey protocols.
  28. The RCA will monitor LDMF payments to ensure that there is no duplication in fee payments.

The RCA shall not have authority over state or federal land in the MSHCP Conservation Area.

D. Formation and Duties of Funding Coordination Committee

To assist in implementing its duties under the MSHCP, the RCA Board of Directors shall form a committee to provide input on local funding priorities including identifying priority areas for acquisition and local MSHCP Conservation Area acquisitions ("Funding Coordination Committee"). The Funding Coordination Committee shall be formed within one hundred twenty (120) days of the issuance of the Permits. Members of the Funding Coordination Committee shall be appointed by the RCA and consist of representatives from the Wildlife Agencies and the RCA. All Planning Directors from the County and Cities shall receive prior notice of all meetings of the Funding Coordination Committee, including a meeting agenda and the list of potential acquisition sites, if applicable. The Planning Directors, or designated representatives, shall participate in the Funding Coordination Committee as appropriate.

The Funding Coordination Committee shall advise the RCA through the Executive Director on local funding priorities and Additional Reserve Lands acquisitions, prioritizing areas for conservation, as requested. However, the RCA shall have the final decision-making authority in establishing and implementing these local priorities. The Funding Coordination Committee shall also provide a forum to discuss Wildlife Agencies land acquisition priorities and keep the RCA informed on acquisitions by non-local sources. The RCA shall establish policies, as appropriate, under which the Funding Coordination Committee shall make recommendations to the RCA. Such policies shall include conflict of interest guidelines for the Committee members.

To the extent possible, Funding Coordination Committee members shall have expertise in real estate or land use planning matters and/or experience in implementing large-scale conservation programs. A person having "expertise in real estate or land use planning" means a person who, by way of education, training, business, experience, vocation or avocation has acquired and possesses particular knowledge of, and familiarity with, real estate or land use planning matters.

E. Joint Project/Acquisition Review Process

1. Introduction. To ensure that the requirements of the Permits, the MSHCP and the Implementing Agreement are properly met, a joint project/acquisition review process shall be instituted by the RCA. This process shall not in any way limit the Permittees' local land use authority, prevent a Permittee from approving a project or change the provisions of the HANS process described in Section 6.1.1. The purpose of the Joint Project/Acquisition Review Process is instead to allow the RCA and the RCA's Director to facilitate and monitor implementation of the MSHCP. The Executive Director shall participate in the Joint Project/Acquisition Review Process, as appropriate, to ensure consistent Plan implementation and oversight. The processing time periods set forth in Section 6.6 may be extended upon mutual agreement of the Parties, including private project applicants.

2. Initial Project Review. RCA and appropriate Permittee staff shall jointly review development applications that are within the Criteria Area and are submitted to the Permittees for consideration. RCA and appropriate Permittee staff shall also review public projects proposed by the Permittees within the Criteria Area. To assist the Local Permittees in meeting the conservation goals of the Plan, Local Permittees proposing infrastructure projects which have the potential to affect connectivity of habitat within the Criteria Area shall consult with the RCA at the pre-design stage regarding the size, location and configuration of wildlife crossings pursuant to the guidelines in Section 7.5.2 of this document. Consultation with the RCA is needed at this early stage to ensure that alternatives are fully evaluated to achieve the conservation goals of the Plan prior to public release of environmental documents prepared pursuant to CEQA. Either RCA staff or Permittee staff may schedule a meeting to discuss a proposed project. Project applications and other appropriate materials shall be submitted to the RCA within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt and no later than acceptance of a completed development application pursuant to the Permit Streamlining Act. A project application shall include, at a minimum, a project description, concept map indicating the location of the proposed project and application of MSHCP requirements, and Assessors Parcel Number.

As part of the Initial Project Review, RCA staff shall complete a checklist of actions necessary for the project to implement the terms and conditions of the MSHCP, including requirements for protection of wetland Habitats and Narrow Endemic Plant Species and all applicable survey requirements.

The Initial Project Review meeting, if held, between RCA and Permittee staff shall occur within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of project application and related materials by the RCA. After an Initial Project Review meeting, RCA staff shall prepare comments that address the project's compliance with the MSHCP. Such comments shall be sent to the appropriate Permittee, private project applicant if applicable and the Wildlife Agencies within fourteen (14) days of the Initial Project Review meeting. If no meeting is held, such comments shall be sent within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the development application. The Wildlife Agencies shall submit any comments in response to the RCA's comments within ten (10) days of receipt. The Wildlife Agencies' comments, if any, shall be sent to the RCA and appropriate Permittee. The Permittees shall send to the RCA the final decision documents.

3. MSHCP Compliance Meet and Confer. In the event a project fails to meet the Implementation Mechanisms adopted by that Permittee, compromises the viability of the MSHCP Conservation Area or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of the MSHCP, RCA staff and appropriate Permittee representatives shall meet and confer to resolve such issues, including the development of conditions of approval and other requirements to ensure such compliance. For private projects, the project applicant shall be invited to attend this follow-up meeting. This follow-up meeting shall be held within thirty (30) calendar days of Permittee receipt of the RCA staff comments.

4. Elected Officials Ad Hoc Committee. In the event that RCA staff and Permittee representatives fail to resolve any outstanding issues regarding the project's compliance with the MSHCP at the MSHCP Compliance Meet and Confer, the matter shall be submitted to an ad hoc committee made up of elected officials representing the RCA and the Permittee. The Ad Hoc Committee shall meet and confer within thirty (30) calendar days of submittal to review the project and to attempt to develop Feasible solutions. For private projects, the project applicant shall be invited to attend this Ad Hoc Committee meeting. The Permittees agree not to consider approval of such projects until the ad hoc committee has completed this meet and confer process.

In the event the ad hoc committee is unable to reach a mutually agreeable solution, and the Permittee intends to proceed with approval of the project, RCA staff shall notify the Wildlife Agencies of such action by Permittee within fourteen (14) days. The Wildlife Agencies shall then have the right to revoke or suspend all or portions of the Permits as set forth in Section 23.5 of the Implementing Agreement. This section does not limit the Wildlife Agencies' authority to suspend or revoke the Permits under applicable laws and regulations.

F. Additional Processes

1. State Permittee Project Review. The Wildlife Agencies and appropriate State Permittee staff shall jointly review proposed projects that are within the Criteria Area and those projects outside the Criteria Area that affect Narrow Endemic Plant Species, species associated with riparian/riverine areas and vernal pools, and species requiring additional surveys needs and procedures. State Permittees shall submit project information to the Wildlife Agencies and the RCA staff during preparation of a Project Identification Document or other equivalent process, including, at a minimum, a project description, concept map indicating the location of the proposed project and application of MSHCP requirements. The Wildlife Agencies staff or State Permittee staff may schedule a meeting to discuss a proposed project. RCA staff shall be invited to participate in this meeting.

2. Status Meetings with Wildlife Agencies. During the first three (3) years of implementation of the MSHCP, RCA staff and Wildlife Agencies representatives shall meet every ninety (90) days, at a minimum, to review the status of Plan implementation including but not limited to achieving species objectives.

3. Criteria Refinement Process. As set forth in Section 6.5 of this document, projects within the MSHCP Area are expected to be designed and implemented in accordance with the Criteria for each Area Plan. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to refine the Criteria through the Criteria Refinement Process when certain findings can be made. If a Permittee determines that Criteria Refinements are appropriate, the affected Permittee shall meet with theRCA Executive Director and representatives from the Wildlife Agencies to discuss the proposed Criteria Refinements. Prior to approving projects incorporating Criteria refinements, the Permittee shall notify the Wildlife Agencies, RCA, other affected Permittees and affected property owners in writing. Such written notice shall include the project description, appropriate maps, findings required by Section 6.5 of this document and supporting evidence for such findings. A 60-day review and comment period shall be provided. During this 60-day review period, proposed Criteria refinements shall be noticed as agenda items on RCA Board of Directors regular meeting agendas for informational purposes only.

In the event there is disagreement regarding proposed Criteria refinements for a project, RCA staff shall schedule and hold a meeting with affected parties. Such meet and confer shall be held within thirty (30) calendar days of the close of the 60-day comment period. If the parties are unable to resolve the disputed issues, the matter may be appealed to the RCA Board of Directors for a final administrative determination. Such appeals shall be heard by the RCA Board of Directors at a noticed public hearing within thirty (30) days of receipt of the appeal.

6.6.3 Regional Conservation Authority Executive Director

A. Selection

An appropriate individual or entity shall be selected by the RCA Board of Directors to administer the Plan ("Executive Director"). The Executive Director shall fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the RCA as set forth below. The RCA shall initially contract with an appropriate Riverside County Department to act as the Executive Director within thirty (30) days of the formation of the RCA. This County Department shall be recommended by the County Executive Officer and approved by the RCA Board of Directors. This County contract shall be for an initial term of three (3) years. At least six (6) months prior to the expiration of this initial contract term, the RCA Board of Directors shall review the County Department's performance as Executive Director. Based upon this review, the RCA Board of Directors may elect to extend the contract with the County Department or select an alternative entity or individual for the Executive Director position upon expiration of the initial term.

B. Duties and Responsibilities

The duties of the Executive Director shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Implement the duties and responsibilities of the RCA;
  2. Administer the MSHCP on behalf of the RCA;
  3. Participate in and/or monitor the Joint Project/Acquisition Review Process, as appropriate, to ensure consistent Plan implementation and oversight;
  4. Oversee data management, including tracking Reserve Assembly on the GIS system and digitizing information to account for MSHCP Conservation Area Design;
  5. Annually compare Development impact fee remittance to reported Development and follow-up with individual jurisdictions where discrepancies are noted;
  6. Prepare an annual funding budget for the Monitoring Program based upon an annual work plan submitted by the Monitoring Program Administrator;
  7. Oversee management for locally managed MSHCP Conservation Area Lands and coordinate with other MSHCP Conservation Area property owners as set forth in Section 5.0 of this document;
  8. Oversee preparation of all reports required to be submitted to the Wildlife Agencies as set forth in Section 6.0 of this document;
  9. Oversee monitoring for locally managed MSHCP Conservation Areas as set forth in Section 5.0 of this document;
  10. Coordinate with the Wildlife Agencies on MSHCP Conservation Area management and monitoring issues;
  11. Oversee ongoing activities of the Reserve Managers for locally managed MSHCP Conservation Areas as set forth in Section 6.6.5;
  12. Coordinate ongoing activities of the Monitoring Program Administrator as set forth in Section 6.6.6;
  13. Select and oversee the Independent Science Advisors as set forth in Section 6.6.7;
  14. Form the Reserve Management Oversight Committee as set forth in Section 6.6.4;
  15. Provide regular reports to the RCA on MSHCP implementation as required by the MSHCP and attend meetings of the RCA Board of Directors, as requested; and
  16. Develop appropriate policies and procedures for operation of the RCA.
  17. Prepare a users manual for implementation of the MSHCP.
  18. Delegate duties and responsibilities, as appropriate.

6.6.4 Reserve Management Oversight Committee

A. Formation and Representation

The Reserve Management Oversight Committee ("RMOC") shall serve as the intermediary between the "on the ground" MSHCP activities conducted by the Reserve Managers and others and the decision-making function of the RCA. The RCA Executive Director shall serve as the chair of the RMOC. The RMOC shall be assembled within sixty (60) days of the effective date of the contract between the RCA Board of Directors approval of the Executive Director. The RMOC shall be composed of a representative of each of the following:

  1. USFWS,
  2. CDFG,
  3. Riverside County Regional Parks and Open Space District,
  4. Bureau of Land Management,
  5. United States Forest Service,
  6. California Department of Parks and Recreation,
  7. Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
  8. RCA,
  9. The County of Riverside and Cities if applicable, and
  10. Up to five other private or public agencies or entities that own or manage land within the MSHCP Conservation Area appointed by the RCA.

RMOC representatives shall have the authority necessary to ensure that the RMOC's oversight and advisory duties and responsibilities are successfully executed. RMOC representatives shall therefore be Regional Managers or equivalent. To the extent Feasible or appropriate, RMOC representatives shall also have appropriate expertise in land management. A person having "expertise in land management" means a person who, by way of education, training, business, experience, vocation or avocation has acquired and possesses particular knowledge of, and familiarity with, land management.

B. Duties and Responsibilities

Duties of the RMOC shall be established by the Executive Director as necessary to ensure implementation of the Plan. Oversight duties of the RMOC shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Oversee and direct implementation of the Reserve Management Plans as described in Section 5.0 of this document, however, each agency that owns property within the MSHCP Conservation Area shall have the ultimate responsibility for managing that property pursuant to the MSHCP;
  2. Implement the Adaptive Management Plan as set forth in Section 5.2 of this document;
  3. Determine the format and timing of annual reports as required by Section 6.11 of this document;
  4. Review and provide input on reports prepared by Reserve Managers and the Monitoring Program Administrator;
  5. Monitor the MSHCP Conservation Area management and monitoring budget to ensure adequate funding;
  6. Provide annual written reports to the RCA Board of Directors and the Executive Director, including baseline assessments of Additional Reserve Lands;
  7. Coordinate implementation of the MSHCP Area Plans; and
  8. Coordinate with Reserve Managers selected by the MSHCP Conservation Area property owners.

Advisory duties of the RMOC shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Provide biological, technical and operational expertise involving oversight of the MSHCP Conservation Area, including management, Adaptive Management procedures and monitoring;
  2. Provide recommendations to the Executive Director on Plan implementation;
  3. Provide technical assistance to Reserve Managers and the Monitoring Program Administrator;
  4. Assist fire protection entities in identifying and mapping potential fuel reduction zones or fire break locations, as well as access routes for fire equipment in the event of wildland fires that pose safety concerns, as set forth in Section 6.4 of this document;
  5. Assist Permittees in the implementation of the terms and conditions of the MSHCP, as requested;
  6. Assist the RCA in the development and implementation of financing strategies to maximize funding sources;
  7. Distribute information regarding MSHCP Conservation Area acquisitions; and
  8. Assist in prioritizing management activities that benefit MSHCP Conservation Area with multiple ownership.

The RMOC shall meet, at a minimum, twice annually or more frequently as needed. The RMOC shall attempt to reach consensus on recommendations. If at the determination of the Chairperson a consensus cannot be reached within a reasonable time, the action shall be by majority vote of the members. Should an issue go to a majority vote, the Wildlife Agencies would reserve their rights under the MSHCP, Implementing Agreement and state and federal law to take actions as they believe appropriate, even if those actions were in contradiction to the majority decision. Disputed matters may be appealed to the RCA Board of Directors for a final administrative determination.

6.6.5 Reserve Managers

A. Selection

Reserve Managers shall be an appropriate individual selected by, and contracted directly with, the public or private entity that owns the affected MSHCP Conservation Area. The Reserve Managers for locally owned MSHCP Conservation Areas shall be appointed by and report to the Executive Director. Reserve Managers for non-locally owned MSHCP Conservation Areas shall consult with the RMOC.

B. Duties and Responsibilities

Reserve Managers' duties shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Implement Reserve Management Plans pursuant to Section 5.0 of this document and otherwise manage resources in the MSHCP Conservation Area;
  2. Evaluate best available scientific data obtained from the Monitoring Program against measurable biological goals and make recommendations on Adaptive Management to the RMOC;
  3. Prepare and submit reports to the Executive Director and the RMOC as required by the MSHCP;
  4. Coordinate with other Reserve Managers, the Monitoring Program Administrator and Independent Science Advisors, including attendance at annual meetings to discuss data collection methodologies; and
  5. Perform all other management duties required by the MSHCP.

6.6.6 Reserve Monitoring

A. Oversight

A Monitoring Program Administrator selected by the RCA shall be responsible for implementing the Monitoring Program contained in Section 5.0 of this document. During the first eight years of the Permits, the Monitoring Program Administrator shall be CDFG. Upon expiration of this initial term, the RCA Board of Directors may elect to have CDFG continue acting as the Monitoring Program Administrator or select an alternative entity or individual for the position. If the RCA determines that CDFG cannot adequately perform the duties and responsibilities of the Monitoring Program Administrator, the RCA Board of Directors shall select an alternative individual or entity for this position.

In the event there is a disagreement between a Permittee and the Monitoring Program Administrator regarding implementation of the Monitoring Program, RCA staff shall schedule and hold a meeting with the affected Parties. If the Parties are unable to resolve the disputed issues, the matter may be appealed to the RCA Board of Directors for a final administrative determination.

B. Duties and Responsibilities

The Monitoring Program Administrator duties shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Monitor MSHCP Conservation Areas pursuant to Section 5.0 of this document, including, but not limited to, mapping Vegetation Communities and wildlife Habitats, compiling existing scientific data on Covered Species, and conducting inventories to determine plant and animal species distribution and abundance;
  2. Prepare and submit reports to the Executive Director, the RMOC and/or the Reserve Managers as required by Section 5.0 of this document;
  3. Coordinate with Reserve Managers and the Independent Science Advisors, through sharing information obtained through monitoring efforts;
  4. Provide to the RMOC on an annual basis a 3 to 5 year projected workplan and cost estimate for implementation of the Monitoring Program; and
  5. Perform all other monitoring duties required by the MSHCP.

6.6.7 Independent Science Advisors

A. Selection

The RCA Executive Director shall, as appropriate, appoint independent science advisors, with input from the RMOC ("Independent Science Advisors"). The Independent Science Advisors shall be qualified biologists and conservation experts, with expertise in the Covered Species and their Habitats. The Independent Science Advisors may be independent, associated with educational institutions or public agencies, members of a non-profit organization or employees of biological science firms. To the extent feasible, the Independent Science Advisors shall have appropriate experience in land management. The Independent Science Advisors, if appointed, shall be retained for a term not to exceed twelve months and report to the RCA Executive Director.

B. Duties and Responsibilities

The Independent Science Advisors' duties shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Assist in the MSHCP implementation process at the request and direction of the Executive Director;
  2. Provide recommendations based on the best available scientific information concerning scientific aspects of the Plan, at the request of the Executive Director; and
  3. Coordinate with Reserve Managers and the Monitoring Program Administrator at the request of the Executive Director through review of relevant reports and data.

Any conflicts between recommendations made by the RMOC and the Independent Science Advisors shall be mediated by the Executive Director. If after a reasonable period of time the conflict cannot be resolved the Executive Director may submit the issue(s) to the RCA Board of Directors for a decision.

The RCA shall sponsor an annual workshop for the Independent Science Advisors. This workshop shall be a venue to exchange all current scientific information and literature that may assist in Reserve Assembly, management, Adaptive Management and monitoring.

6.7 RESERVE ASSEMBLY ACCOUNTING

Reserve Assembly Accounting

The MSHCP Additional Reserve Lands shall be assembled over time and when assembly is completed, must be in a configuration and contain key Vegetation Communities (both location and acres) that provide for the Conservation of Covered Species. As the Additional Reserve Lands are assembled, the Parties and the public must be able to determine that:

  1. Lands being conserved within the Criteria Area support the Habitat(s) necessary to achieve the conservation goals for Covered Species;
  2. Development on lands within the Criteria Area is not substantially reducing the opportunity to conserve the Additional Reserve Lands and protect especially those Habitat(s) that are critical to meeting species conservation goals; and
  3. Acquisition priorities at any point in time are appropriately focused on conserving parcels and Vegetation Communities needed to meet Covered Species conservation goals.

To assist the Parties in this evaluation, there shall be an annual Rough Step analysis conducted by the Permittees for eight Rough Step Analysis Units (Figure 6-6). The Plan Area was divided into Analysis Units based on similarities of habitats, location of important Core and Linkage areas, and the general size of the Criteria Area in varying geographical areas of the Plan Area. The acres by Vegetation Community for within each Rough Step Analysis Area are displayed in Table 6-3. The annual Rough Step analyses shall be done for the Vegetation Communities listed in Table 6-3. Key Vegetation Communities subject to Rough Step analysis vary between Analysis Units. For example, coastal sage scrub is a key Vegetation Community in Analysis Unit 8 because its Conservation is critical to several Covered Species utilizing Analysis Unit 8 but it is not a key Vegetation Community in Analysis Unit 9 because it occurs only within this unit in small disjunct patches on the private lands in Analysis Unit 9 and coastal sage scrub on private lands is not critical to conserving Covered Species in Analysis Unit 9.

Selection of Vegetation Communities for Rough Step analysis was based on several factors including:

1) how important the Vegetation Community was in meeting Covered Species conservation goal(s) within the Analysis Unit; and





TABLE 6-3
ADDITIONAL RESERVE LANDS WITHIN
ROUGH STEP ANALYSIS UNITS BY VEGETATION COMMUNITY
Rough Step Analysis Unit Key Vegetation Communities
in the Analysis Unit
Private Land Acres within
the Criteria Area in the
Analysis Unit
(TA in Rough Step Rule)
Additional Reserve Land
Acreage Goal for the Key
Vegetation Community
(c in Rough Step Rule)
1 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
1,080
820
680
800
180
550
2 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage
• Woodlands and Forests
6,980
8,570
590
1,190
290
10,340
4,780
460
1,110
170
3 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Playas and Vernal Pools
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub
3,670
4,690
4,340
220
190
2,050
900
3,830
110
100
4 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Desert Scrubs
• Grasslands
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub
• Woodlands and Forests
21,340
4,340
10,990
1,420
1,160
1,560
17,460
3,680
5,960
1,320
1,090
870
5 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub
• Woodlands and Forests
1,540
3,880
550
370
2,080
370
1,010
460
260
1,000
6 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland Forest
• Woodlands and Forests
4,980
6,190
270
140
4,060
3,690
210
110
7 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Woodlands and Forests
• Riparian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub
9,210
3,620
490
570
50
7,090
1,550
330
460
350
8 • Coastal Sage Scrub
• Grasslands
• Ripararian Scrub, Woodland, Forest
• Riversidean Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub
6,400
3,690
280
190
4,940
1,840
250
130
9* *No Vegetation Communities in Analysis Unit 9 were identified for Rough Step Analyses


2) the number of acres of the Vegetation Community within the Analysis Unit (because of the level of precision in mapping Vegetation Communities, Vegetation Communities that represented less than 100 acres within an Analysis Unit were not included as key Vegetation Communities for Rough Step analysis).

The rule for determining if the Plan is within the Rough Step parameters is:

at < r * ct + .1[TA-(r + 1) (ct)]

Where:

a = total acres in the Criteria Area that could be developed while still meeting the unit's specific habitat conservation goal for the Vegetation Community

at = the number of acres of a Vegetation Community in the Criteria Area that could be lost at a point in time (t) while being consistent with the Rough Step rule

c = the total number of acres of a Vegetation Community in the Criteria Area that have to be conserved to meet the plans conservation goals

ct = the acres of Conservation of a Vegetation Community within the Criteria Area that have been conserved based on the definition of Additional Reserve Lands

TA = a + c

r = a/c

If the Rough Step rule is not met during any analysis period the Permittees must conserve appropriate lands supporting a specified Vegetation Community within the Analysis Unit to bring the Plan back into the parameters of the rule prior to authorizing additional loss of the Vegetation Community for which the rule was not achieved. It is anticipated that as the Additional Reserve Lands are adaptively assembled, there may be a need to transfer protection of key Habitats between appropriate Analysis Units. Section 6.10 of this document addresses this situation.

Annual reports shall be prepared that track Habitat losses and gains associated with public and private Development projects and track Reserve Assembly. The annual reports are used to demonstrate that Habitat gain is occurring in rough proportionality with Development, ensure that the MSHCP Conservation Area is being assembled as contemplated in the MSHCP, and make certain that the conservation goals are being achieved.

As described in Section 6.11 of this document, the RCA shall prepare and provide to the Wildlife Agencies an annual report of total Habitat lost and Habitat conserved within the MSHCP Plan Area and total Conservation contributions made to the MSHCP Conservation Area throughout the MSHCP Plan Area. The annual report shall provide this information by Vegetation Community, consistent with ‟HabiTrak" methodology.

HabiTrak, an ArcView application, was developed cooperatively by the Wildlife Agencies, local jurisdictions, special districts and others to meet the reporting requirements for multiple species HCPs. It is designed to be an easy-to-use, stand-alone desk-top application that could be used by non-GIS staff. The tool uses common and standardized data to prepare standardized tables and maps for the annual reports. HabiTrak was first used by the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego to prepare their Subarea Plan habitat tracking reports for 1999.

6.8 ASSURANCES FOR UNFORESEEN AND CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES

6.8.1 No Surprises Rule

In accordance with the Habitat Conservation Plan ("No Surprises") Assurances Rule (63 Federal Register 8859, as codified in 50 C F.R. Sections 17.3, 17.22[b] and 17.32[b]), it is acknowledged that the purpose of the Western Riverside County MSHCP is to provide for the Conservation of Covered Species and the mitigation, minimization and compensatory measures required in connection with incidental taking of the Covered Species in the course of otherwise lawful and permitted activities within the MSHCP Plan Area. Accordingly, as described below and except as otherwise required by law and/or provided under the terms of the MSHCP Plan and except for Unforeseen Circumstances, in particular as these requirements are addressed in Section 6.8.2 of this document, no further mitigation or compensation shall be required by the Service to address impacts of Covered Activities undertaken by the Permittees, Third Parties Granted Take Authorization and Participating Special Entities, pursuant to the Federal Endangered Species Act. Pursuant to 50 Code of Federal Regulations, sections 17.22(b)(5) and 17.32(b)(5), the Service shall not require from the Permittees, Third Parties Granted Take Authorization, Participating Special Entities, or other individuals or entities receiving Take Authorization under the Permits the commitment of additional land or financial compensation or additional restrictions on the use of land or other natural resources with regard to Covered Activities and their impact on Covered Species beyond that provided pursuant to the Western Riverside County MSHCP, provided that the Permittees are properly implementing the Plan, the IA and the Permits. In the event that the USFWS makes a finding of Unforeseen Circumstances and such Unforeseen Circumstances warrant the requirement of additional mitigation, enhancement or compensation measures, any such additional measures shall be restricted to modification of the management of the MSHCP Conservation Area, and shall be the least burdensome measures available to address the Unforeseen Circumstances.

a. DEFINED - "Unforeseen Circumstances" (defined in 50 C.F.R. Section 17.3) means any significant, unanticipated adverse change in the status of species covered under the MSHCP or in their Habitats or any significant unanticipated adverse change in impacts of the MSHCP or in other factors upon which the MSHCP is based, in accordance with 63 Federal register 8859 (February 23, 1998). The term "Unforseen Circumstances" as defined in the IA is intended to have the same meaning as it is used to define the limit of the Permittees' obligation on the "No Surprises" regulations set forth in 50 code of Federal Regulations, Sections 17.22 (b)(5) and 17.32 (b)(5).

b. RELEVANT FACTORS - In deciding whether Unforeseen Circumstances exist which might warrant requiring additional conservation measures, the Service shall consider, but not be limited to, the factors identified in 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 17.22(b)(5)(C) and 17.32(b)(5)(C) (the No Surprises Rule), which are:

  1. The extent of the current range of the affected Covered Species;
  2. The percentage of the range of the affected Covered Species and Habitat that has been adversely affected by the Covered Activities;
  3. The percentage in the range of the affected Covered Species and Habitat that has been conserved by the Western Riverside County MSHCP;
  4. The ecological significance of that portion of the range or Habitat of the affected Covered Species;
  5. The level of knowledge about the affected Covered Species and Habitat and the degree of specificity of the conservation program for that species or Habitat under the Western Riverside County MSHCP; and
  6. Whether failure to adopt additional conservation measures would appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the Covered Species in the wild.

c. BURDEN AND DOCUMENTATION - As described in 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 17.22(b)(5)(C) and 17.32(b)(5)(C), the No Surprises Rule, the Service shall have the burden of demonstrating that Unforeseen Circumstances exist, using the best scientific and commercial data available. Any findings of Unforeseen Circumstances must be clearly documented and based upon reliable technical information regarding the biological status and Habitat requirements of the affected species.

d. ADVANCE NOTICE - Except where there is substantial threat of imminent, significant adverse impacts to a Covered Species, the Service shall provide the Permittees at least sixty (60) calendar days written notice of a proposed finding of Unforeseen Circumstances, during which time the Service shall meet with the County and any affected Permittee to discuss the proposed finding, to provide the County and any affected Permittee with an opportunity to submit information to rebut the proposed finding, and to consider any proposed changes to the conservation strategies for the MSHCP Conservation Area.

e. LIMITS ON ADDITIONAL CONSERVATION MEASURES - If the Service makes a finding of Unforeseen Circumstances in accordance with the procedures described above, and determines that additional conservation measures are warranted, such additional conservation measures shall conform to the maximum extent possible to the original terms of the Western Riverside County MSHCP. Additional conservation measures shall be limited to those modifications, restrictions and agreements described below.

6.8.2 Reconciliation of the No Surprises Rule, Unforeseen Circumstances and Adaptive Management in the MSHCP

The No Surprises Rule states, in part, that:

In negotiating Unforeseen Circumstances, the Services shall not require without the consent of the Permittee, the commitment of additional land, water or financial compensation or additional restrictions on the use of land, water, including quantity and timing of delivery, or other natural resources beyond the level otherwise agreed upon for the species covered by the conservation plan.

If additional conservation and mitigation measures are deemed necessary to respond to Unforeseen Circumstances, the Services may require additional measures of the Permittee where the conservation plan is being properly implemented, but only if such measures are limited to modifications within conserved Habitat , if any or to the conservation plan's operating conservation program for the affected species, and maintain the original terms of the conservation plan to the maximum extent possible. Additional conservation and mitigation measures shall not involve the commitment of additional land, water or financial compensation or restrictions on the use of land, water (including quantity and timing of delivery), or other natural resources otherwise available for Development or use under the original terms of the conservation plan, without the consent of the Permittee.

Thus, in the event that Unforeseen Circumstances adversely affect any of the MSHCP Covered Species during the life of the Plan, the Permittees, Third Parties Granted Take Authorization and Participating Special Entities would not be required to provide additional financial compensation, land or land restrictions beyond those required by the Plan at the time of issuance of the Section 10(a)(1)(B) Take Authorization without their consent, except as provided for Changed Circumstances as described in Section 6.8.3.

In light of the MSHCP's Adaptive Management Program which allow certain changes to occur throughout the life of the Plan, it is necessary to clarify what aspects of the conservation program are subject to the "No Surprises" Rule and for which, therefore the Service may not require additional mitigation as a result of Unforeseen Circumstances without the consent of the Permittees. The Adaptive Management Program allow the MSHCP to be revised as a result of new information on the life history or ecology of Covered Species generated through continuing research or information on the effectiveness of mitigation measures, and as a result of the monitoring programs. As a result, revisions may be made to several of the conservation components, including the technical aspects of mitigation land management and enhancement, implementation of Incidental Take Minimization Measures and monitoring of Covered Species.

Pursuant to the "No Surprises" Rule, the Permittees and the Service agree that the following MSHCP components are not subject to modification as a result of the MSHCP's Adaptive Management Provisions without the consent of the Permittees, except for those projects that constitute an action authorized, funded or carried out by a federal agency (i.e., have federal involvement) which are exempt from such assurances.

  1. The estimates of Conservation of private land as described in Section 4.0 and the MSHCP criterion as described in Section 3.0 of this document.
  2. The Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools, Narrow Endemic Plant Species, Urban/Wildlands Interface, vegetation mapping, survey and boundary adjustment guidelines and policies included in Section 6.0 of this document.
  3. The permitted activities described in Section 7.0 of this document.
  4. The MSHCP Conservation Area funding plan described in Section 8.0 of this document.
  5. Any other change not currently described in this Plan that would significantly increase the Plan's costs or the interests in land of the Permittees, or any landowner in the MSHCP Plan Area.
  6. Additional compensation measures shall not be imposed on Third Parties Granted Take Authorization where the Permittees have already granted final project approvals unless such additional conservation measures are agreed to by the Third Party Granted Take Authorization.

6.8.3 Changed Circumstances

Changed circumstances are defined under the Federal "No Surprises" rule as "changes in circumstances affecting a species or geographic area covered by a conservation plan that can reasonably be anticipated by plan developers and the USFWS and that can be planned for." Changed Circumstances potentially affecting the MSHCP Conservation Area are defined as future events for which it is reasonably foreseeable that such an event may occur during the life of the MSHCP , and that such an event may negatively affect the Covered Species and/or their associated Habitat within the MSHCP Conservation Area. Changed Circumstances addressed by the MSHCP include the following:

Short-Interval Return Fire

For the purpose of defining Changed Circumstances, short-interval return fire is defined as fire occurring in the same location as a previous fire within the same footprint more than once in a 5-year period within the MSHCP Conservation Area.

Risk Assessment

As documented in the Safety Element of the Riverside County General Plan (public hearing draft, April 5, 2002), on file with the County of Riverside, much of the MSHCP Plan Area is rated as a potential wildland fire area by the Sate of California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CDF) and the General Plan Safety Element. Figure S-11 of the General Plan Safety Element rates much of the area identified as desirable for conservation in the MSHCP as high for wildfire susceptibility with certain areas in the Cleveland National Fores rated very high and other areas in the vicinity of the Santa Rosa Plateau and along the Santa Ana River rated moderate. Much of the proposed MSHCP Conservation Area is characterized by hillside terrain with highly flammable native vegetation. Fire potential within the MSHCP Plan Area is typically greatest in the months of August, September and October when dry vegetation co-occurs with hot, dry Santa Ana winds. Fire protection services within areas anticipated to be included within the MSHCP Conservation Area are generally provided by the Riverside County Fire Department.

Vegetation Communities within the MSHCP Conservation Area are generally adapted to the existing fire regime and will naturally recover from fire. For purposes of assessing Changed Circumstances, repetitive fire that may adversely affect Covered Species is defined as a fire within the MSHCP Conservation Area that occurs within the same burn footprint more than once in a 5-year period. Based on fire history data available from CDF, such occurrences would be infrequent and would not be expected to occur on more than five occasions during the 75-year term of the Permit. Excluding National Forest lands, the largest area that could burn is anticipated to be 6,000 acres. This generally represents the largest block of Habitat within the MSHCP Conservation Area outside the National Forest and also represents the acreage burned during the 1993 fire at the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve.

Preventive Measures

For specific types of fire that are damaging to biological resources within the MSHCP Conservation Area, the cause of the fire shall be reviewed and preventive measures such as the following shall be developed:

Measures incorporated in the Riverside County General Plan Safety Element and in the General Plans and policies of the other Permittees shall be implemented to reduce the likelihood of harm from repetitive fire within the MSHCP Conservation Area. These measures include implementation of building codes and performance standards and long-range fire safety planning. Policies in the General Plan call for implementation of measures to address fire safety within the urban/wildlands interface, goals to maintain fire reporting and response times within four minutes and goals to maintain sources and flows of water for emergency fires suppression purposes.

Planned Response to Short-Interval Return Fire

If a short-interval return fire occurs within the MSHCP Conservation Area as defined above, the RCA Executive Director shall notify the Wildlife Agencies of this Changed Circumstance. The Executive Director shall assess the damage caused by the short-interval return fire and initiate the following actions:

Flood

For the purpose of defining Changed Circumstances, flood is defined as flood events occurring within the MSHCP Conservation Area portions of the Santa Ana River, the San Jacinto River and the Santa Margarita River watersheds, at greater than 50-year and up to and including 100-year levels, as classified by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Risk Assessment

FEMA provides local jurisdictions with mapping that defines the areas that may be affected, or inundated, by flood. A 100-year flood, as defined by FEMA, produces a magnitude of inundation that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year. The 100-year flood has a 39% chance of occurring in any given 50-year period, and thus is reasonably foreseeable during the life of the Permit. However, flooding is a natural event and is not anticipated to cause damage sufficiently severe to prevent natural regeneration within the MSHCP Conservation Area.

Planned Response to Flood

If a 50-or 100-year flood or a dam break occurs within the MSHCP Plan Area that results in inundation within the MSHCP Conservation Area, the RCA Executive Director shall notify the Wildlife Agencies of this Changed Circumstance. The Executive Director shall assess the damage caused by the inundation and initiate the following actions:

Drought

For the purpose of defining Changed Circumstances, drought is defined as climatic drought up to three years in length, as declared by the California Department of Water Resources.

Risk Assessment

Drought is a cyclical weather phenomenon that is beyond human control. Drought is not uncommon in Southern California, and it is a phenomenon to which local natural Habitats and species have adapted over time. Drought occurs slowly over a multi-year period, differing from the catastrophic events of fire and flood, which occur rapidly and afford little time for preparing for disaster response. Drought conditions may adversely affect Covered Species if the species and/or Habitats are unable to adapt to the challenging conditions.

Rainfall data assembled by the County of Riverside over the past 120 years indicates a general eight year periodicity in wet and dry conditions with more infrequent occurrences of dry years extending for more than a 1-2 year period. Based on these data, and the fact that drought is an expected occurrence in Southern California, a drought event significantly affecting Covered Species is not anticipated to occur during the life of the Permit. Nevertheless, measures shall be taken to monitor the effects of drought, as defined above, on Covered Species.

Preventive Measures

No measures are available to prevent climatic drought within the MSHCP Conservation Area. Measures to ameliorate the effects of drought may involve providing artificial water sources for Covered Species adversely affected by drought. The Permittees in their General Plan have incorporated plans to ensure adequate water supplies for residents during drought and such measures may ensure that artificial water sources are available to assist Covered Species during periods of drought.

Planned Response to Drought

If a climatic drought occurs within the MSHCP Plan Area as defined by this section, the RCA Executive Director shall notify the Wildlife Agencies of this Changed Circumstance. The Executive Director shall assess the damage caused by the drought and initiate the following actions:

Invasion by Exotic Species

For the purpose of defining Changed Circumstance, invasion by exotic species is defined as an unanticipated increase in the presence of exotic species within the MSHCP Conservation Area.

Risk Assessment

Invasive and exotic species are currently present within areas identified for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area. As called for in the management plan presented in Section 5.0 of this document, assessment of the presence of invasive and exotic species shall be made at the time lands are conveyed to the MSHCP Conservation Area. Measures are incorporated in the management plan to address effects of the expected presence of invasive species on Covered Species, as discussed in Section 5.2 of this document. In addition to those measures already incorporated in the management plan, it is possible that an unanticipated increase in the presence of invasive species could result from one or more of the Changed Circumstances described in this section. For example, natural regeneration following flood or fire could be characterized primarily by invasive species that may adversely affect Covered Species.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures are incorporated in the MSHCP management and monitoring plans presented in Section 5.0 of this document to address the anticipated effects associated with the existing presence of invasive species. Preventive measures for unanticipated effects that may be associated with Changed Circumstances such as fire or flood are discussed in the preventive measures for those Changed Circumstances.

Planned Response to Invasion by Exotic Species

Responses to anticipated invasion by exotic species are incorporated in the management plan presented in Section 5.2 of this document. If an unanticipated invasion by exotic species occurs as a result of another Changed Circumstance identified in this section, the RCA Executive Director shall notify the Wildlife Agencies of this Changed Circumstance. The Executive Director shall assess the damage caused by the unanticipated invasion by exotic species and initiate the following actions:

New Listings of Species Not Covered by the MSHCP

The USFWS may list additional species under FESA as threatened or endangered, delist species that are currently listed, or declare listed species as extinct. In the event of a new listing of one or more species not covered by the MSHCP, the following steps shall be taken:

If a species not covered by the MSHCP is listed as threatened or endangered under FESA during the life of the Permits, the USFWS and the Permittee(s) shall identify actions that may cause Take, jeopardy or adverse modification of Critical Habitat, and the Permittee(s) shall avoid such actions in the implementation of their Covered Activities until approval of an amendment to the MSHCP to address the newly listed species in accordance with the modifications and amendments procedures described in Section 6.10. Such avoidance measures shall include the following:

  1. Evaluation of applications for Covered Activities with respect to potential effects on the newly listed species; such evaluations shall include assessment of the presence of suitable Habitat for the newly listed species within the areas potentially affected by the proposed Covered Activity and surveys for the newly listed species , as appropriate, using accepted protocols; and
  2. Implementation of measures to avoid impacts to the newly listed species based on the results of the data collected in Item 1 above and the evaluation of those data in the context of the design of the proposed Covered Activity.

Changed Circumstances Not Provided in the MSHCP

Pursuant to the No Surprises Rule at 50 C.F.R. 17.22(b)(5)(ii), the USFWS may not require (1) any conservation or mitigation measures in addition to those provided for under Section 6.8.3 in response to a Changed Circumstance; or (2) additional conservation or mitigation measures for any Changed Circumstance that is not identified in Section 6.8.3 without the consent of the Permittees, provided the Permittees are properly implementing the MSHCP Plan.

As recognized in the No Surprises Rule at 50 C.F.R. 17.22(b)(6) and 17.32(b)(6), the USFWS, any Federal, State or local agency, or a private entity may take additional actions at their own expense to protect or conserve a Covered Species within the MSHCP Plan Area.

6.9 APPLICATION OF CERTAIN FESA REQUIREMENTS

Critical Habitat Designation for Covered Species

The USFWS has proposed or adopted designations for the following species within the MSHCP Plan Area.

The USFWS acknowledges and agrees that the MSHCP and the IA provide a comprehensive, habitat-based approach to the protection of Covered Species by focusing on the lands essential for the long-term Conservation of the Covered Species and appropriate management for those lands. This approach is consistent with the overall purposes of FESA to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved. FESA regulations specify that the criteria to be used in designating Critical Habitat include "those physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation of a given species and that may require special management considerations or protection." (50 C.F.R. § 424.12(b).)

The MSHCP and the IA provide for the protection of "those physical and biological features essential to the conservation" of the Covered Species Adequately Conserved in a manner consistent with USFWS regulations concerning the designation of Critical Habitat. The USFWS agrees that, to the maximum extent allowable after public review and comment, in the event that a Critical Habitat determination is made for any Covered Species Adequately Conserved, and unless the USFWS finds that the MSHCP is not being implemented, lands within the boundaries of the MSHCP shall not be designated as Critical Habitat. In addition, if Critical Habitat is designated within the MSHCP boundaries, pursuant to Section 14.12 of the IA and except as expressly provided in Section 14.12 of the IA and Section 6.8 of this document regarding Unforeseen Circumstances, no subsequent evaluation of the Covered Species Adequately Conserved, nor any mitigation, compensation, conservation enhancement or other protective measures other than those set forth in the MSHCP shall be required. Moreover, to the maximum extent allowable after public review and comment, the USFWS agrees to reassess and revise the boundaries of existing designated and proposed Critical Habitat of Covered Species Adequately Conserved within the MSHCP boundaries after its approval, although the Parties recognize that funding constraints may influence the timing of such regulatory action.

At the time of preparation of the IA, Critical Habitat is designated for four species within the Plan Area: the coastal California gnatcatcher, least Bell's vireo, Quino checkerspot butterfly and San Bernardino kangaroo rat. On April 24, 2003, the USFWS re-proposed Critical Habitat for the coastal California gnatcatcher, with a final determination due in 2004 that will supercede the current designation. In addition, the USFWS proposed Critical Habitat for the vernal pool fairy shrimp on September 24, 2002. Court orders and settlement agreements require the USFWS to reassess the prudency of designating Critical Habitat and, if prudent, propose Critical Habitat for nine species within the Plan Area: the arroyo toad, Munz's onion, Riverside fairy shrimp, San Jacinto crownscale, Santa Ana sucker, southwestern willow flycatcher, spreading navarretia, Stephens' kangaroo rat and thread-leaved brodiaea. In recent Critical Habitat rulemaking, the USFWS has concluded that the benefits of excluding lands addressed in an approved HCP for the subject listed species under FESA outweigh the benefits of including such lands. Future rulemaking likely will include a similar analysis under Section 4(b)(2) of FESA.

Future Recovery Plans

Recovery plans under FESA delineate actions necessary to recover and protect federally-listed species. These plans frequently include information, or may lead to the development of information, that can contribute to the development of an Adaptive Management Program. However, recovery plans do not obligate any Permittee, individual or entity to undertake specific tasks.

The Parties acknowledge that FESA recovery plans have no effect on the implementation of this MSHCP, except to the extent that they may contribute information to, or assist in achieving the goals of, the Adaptive Management Program. Any recovery plan applicable to any Covered Species within the MSHCP Plan Area that is developed after the Effective Date shall:

  1. Not require any additional land or financial compensation by Permittees;
  2. Be finalized only after the USFWS has consulted with and requested input from the RCA on the preparation of the recovery plan; and
  3. Not in any way diminish the Take Authorization for Covered Species Adequately Conserved granted to Permittees pursuant to the MSHCP, this Agreement, or the Section 10(a) Permit.

Section 7 Consultations

The USFWS shall evaluate the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of the Covered Activities in its internal FESA Biological Opinion issued in connection with the MSHCP and issuance of the Section 10(a) Permit. As a result and to the maximum extent allowable, in any consultation under Section 7 of FESA subsequent to the Effective Date involving the Permittee(s) or entity with Third Party Take Authorization with regard to Covered Species Adequately Conserved and Covered Activities, the USFWS shall ensure that the FESA Biological Opinion issued in connection with the proposed project that is the subject of the consultation is consistent with the internal FESA Biological Opinion. Such project must be consistent with the terms and conditions of the MSHCP and the IA. Any reasonable and prudent measures included under the terms and conditions of a FESA Biological Opinion issued subsequent to the Effective Date with regard to the Covered Species Adequately Conserved and Covered Activities shall, to the maximum extent appropriate, be consistent with the implementation measures of the MSHCP and the IA. The USFWS shall not impose measures in excess of those that have been or will be required by the Permittee(s) or entity with Third Party Take Authorization pursuant to the MSHCP and the IA. The USFWS shall process subsequent FESA consultations for Covered Activities in accordance with the process and time periods set forth in 50 C.F.R. § 402.14, pursuant to Section 27.11 of the IA. An extension of the time periods in 50 C.F.R. § 402.14 may be sought as set forth in Section 402.14(e). The Parties agree that this section does not create an independent cause of action.

6.10 MODIFICATIONS AND AMENDMENTS TO THE MSHCP

MSHCP modifications and amendments are not anticipated on a regular basis. However, certain events may trigger modifications or minor or major amendments to the MSHCP. Any signatory to the IA may seek a modification or amendment to the MSHCP.

6.10.1 Modifications

Clerical Changes

Clerical changes to the MSHCP shall be made by the RCA on its own initiative or in response to a written request submitted by any Permittee or Wildlife Agency, which includes documentation supporting the proposed clerical change. Clerical changes shall not require any amendment to the MSHCP, the Permits or the IA. Clerical changes include corrections of typographical, grammatical, and similar editing errors that do not change the intended meaning and corrections of any maps or exhibits to correct insignificant errors in mapping. The Parties anticipate that most clerical changes to the MSHCP shall occur during the first ten (10) years of the Permits. Annual reports shall include a summary of clerical changes made to the MSHCP in the preceding calendar year.

Land Use Changes

The Parties agree that the adoption and amendment of General Plans, Specific Plans, Community Plans, zoning ordinances and similar land use ordinances, and the granting of implementing land use entitlements by the County and the Cities are matters within the sole discretion of the County and Cities and shall not require amendments to the IA or the approval of other Parties to the IA. However, the Parties agree that:

  1. no such action by the County or the Cities shall in any way alter or diminish their obligations under the IA, the MSHCP, the Management and Monitoring Program; and
  2. approval of certain projects may lead to revocation or suspension of the Permits pursuant to Section 23.5 of the IA.

Adaptive Management Changes

Except as otherwise provided, changes to avoidance, minimization, compensation and MSHCP Conservation Area management strategies developed through and consistent with the Adaptive Management Program described in Section 5.0 of this document shall not require any amendment to the MSHCP, the IA or the Permits.

6.10.2 Minor Amendments

Minor Amendments are amendments to the MSHCP of a minor or technical nature where the effect on Covered Species, level of Take and Permittees' ability to implement the MSHCP are not significantly different than those described in the MSHCP as originally adopted. Minor Amendments to the MSHCP shall not require amendments to the IA or the Permits.

List of Minor Amendments

The following are contemplated as Minor Amendments to the MSHCP and the Permits and therefore, shall be administratively implemented pursuant to the procedures below. Minor Amendments are limited to the following:

  1. Minor corrections to land ownership;
  2. Minor revisions to survey, monitoring, reporting and/or management protocols that clearly do not affect Covered Species or overall MSHCP Conservation Area functions and values;
  3. Transfer of target Reserve Assembly acreages between identified Subunits within a single Area Plan and/or between Area Plans within a single Rough Step Analysis Unit consistent with the Criteria, as set forth in Sections 3.0 and 6.7 of this document;
  4. Application of Take Authorization to Development within Cities incorporated within the MSHCP boundaries after the Effective Date of the IA, pursuant to Section 11.6 of the IA provided such inclusion does not preclude Reserve Assembly, significantly increase the cost of MSHCP Conservation Area management or assembly or preclude achieving Covered Species Conservation and goals;
  5. Annexation or deannexation of property within the Plan Area pursuant to Section 11.5 of the IA, provided such inclusion does not preclude Reserve Assembly, significantly increase the cost of the MSHCP Conservation Area management or assembly or preclude achieving Covered Species Conservation and goals; and
  6. Minor extension of cut or fill slopes outside of the right-of-way limits analyzed in the MSHCP for covered roadways, to accommodate construction in rolling or mountainous terrain.
  7. Updates/corrections to the vegetation map and/or species occurrence data:

Procedure

Any Party may propose Minor Amendments to the MSHCP or the IA by providing written notice to all other Parties. Such notice shall include a description of the proposed Minor Amendment, an explanation of the reason for the proposed Minor Amendment, an analysis of its environmental effects including any impacts to the Conservation of Covered Species and a description of why that Party believes the effects of the proposed Minor Amendment:

  1. are not significantly different from, and are biologically equivalent to, the terms in the MSHCP as originally adopted;
  2. substantially conform to the terms in the MSHCP as originally adopted; and
  3. will not significantly reduce the ability to acquire the Additional Reserve Lands. The Wildlife Agencies shall submit any comments on the proposed Minor Amendments in writing within sixty (60) days of receipt of such notice. Any Party can institute the informal meet and confer process set forth in Section 23.6 of the IA to resolve disagreements concerning Minor Amendments. For Minor Amendments proposed for Cajalco Road Improvements, State Route 79 Road Improvements and the San Jacinto River Project, as identified in Section 7.0 of this document, the Wildlife Agencies must concur within sixty (60) days of receipt of such notice. If the Wildlife Agencies do not concur with the analysis supporting the Minor Amendment, the project shall be subject to a Major Amendment. If the Wildlife Agencies concur, or if they fail to respond within the 60-day period, a Minor Amendment for these projects shall be approved.

6.10.3 Major Amendments

Major Amendments are those proposed changes to the MSHCP and the Permits that are not Modifications or Minor Amendments. Major Amendments to the MSHCP shall require a subsequent amendment to the IA and the Permits, and public notice as required by applicable laws and regulations. The RCA shall submit any proposed Major Amendments to the Wildlife Agencies.

List of Major Amendments

Major amendments are, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  1. All amendments not contemplated in the IA as Modifications or Minor Amendments to the MSHCP, except subsequent minor changes which are not specifically listed as a Minor Amendment in the IA that the Wildlife Agencies have determined to be insubstantial and appropriate for implementation as a Minor Amendment;
  2. Changes to the boundary of the MSHCP Plan Area;
  3. Addition of species to the Covered Species list;
  4. Changes in anticipated Reserve Assembly or funding strategies and schedules that would have substantial adverse effects on the Covered Species;
  5. Changes to MSHCP Conservation Area boundaries that are inconsistent with the procedures described in Sections 3.0 and 6.5 of this document; and
  6. Interpretations of MSHCP Criteria that are inconsistent with the procedures described in Sections 3.0 and 6.5 of this document.

Procedure

Major Amendments shall require the same process followed for the original MSHCP approval. A Major Amendment shall require an amendment to the MSHCP and the IA addressing the new circumstances, subsequent publication and public notification, CEQA/NEPA compliance and intra-Service Section 7 Consultation, if one is deemed necessary. Major Amendments shall be subject to review and approval by the RCA and other Permittees as appropriate, at a noticed public hearing. The Wildlife Agencies shall use reasonable efforts to process proposed Major Amendments within one hundred twenty (120) days after publication.

6.11 ANNUAL REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT

The MSHCP incorporates a variety of mechanisms for regular notification to the Wildlife Agencies regarding MSHCP activities as well as for annual review and oversight. These mechanisms are described as appropriate in specific sections of the MSHCP Plan and are consolidated here to highlight and summarize review and oversight requirements and commitments.

The Wildlife Agencies shall be notified in advance of approval of public and private projects involving the MSHCP activities listed below. The notification process shall be as follows: The Wildlife Agencies shall be notified of draft determinations associated with the MSHCP activities listed below and be provided a 60-day review and response period. This review period will give the Wildlife Agencies an opportunity to determine if the proposed activities would preclude successful implementation of the MSHCP Conservation Area.

Activities for which 60-day notification to the Wildlife Agencies shall be provided:

Annual Reporting

As described in Section 6.6 of this document, a Reserve Management Oversight Committee (RMOC) shall be established as part of the cooperative organizational structure to be established for the MSHCP. The RMOC shall ensure preparation and distribution of an annual report to the Wildlife Agencies and Permittees. The RMOC shall determine the format and timing of the annual report, however, at a minimum the annual report shall include the following: