Volunteer Michael Schindell works for the National Endangered Species Network in Sacramento, Calif.
"HCPs have weak science. A good example is a plan for Yellow
County, Calif., which is a rapidly growing bedroom community west
of Sacramento. That HCP uses the Swainson's hawk as an umbrella
species for the protection of 27 different endangered plants and
animals. Protect some hawk habitat and the other species will be
taken care of, too. But some of those species have specific needs
that don't overlap with hawk habitat. The whole plan is based on
the misapplication of a scientific concept. It's
"The truth is that developers want
to solve all of their endangered species issues now, while the
deals with the administration are good. Huge corporations cut the
deals to get their huge development project cleared and then
everyone else has to shoulder more of the mitigation. HCPs are
corporate welfare for these big companies.
have nothing against assurances for landowners, but where are the
assurances for the endangered species? Good science should make the
decision, and if the science isn't ready, then we don't cut the
deal yet. The consultants who work for the agencies and
corporations should have to do peer-reviewed work. That's not the
"The other problem with HCPs is that
they abdicate control over endangered species to local government.
In California, counties will implement some of the plans and they
are far less interested in endangered species than in tax rolls."