Los Osos Habitat Conservation Plan approved by US Fish and Wildlife

Dear conservation partner, 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the Los Osos Habitat Conservation Plan and issued an incidental take permit to the County of San Luis Obispo, authorizing take of Morro shoulderband snail that would result from covered activities in the Community of Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County. The Service also completed a Finding of No Significant Impact  as a result of the completion of the Environmental Assessment  associated with the HCP. The plan balances the needs for residential and commercial development, infrastructure development, and implementation of fire hazard reduction with the conservation of federally listed animals and plants. The Service signed the 25-year incidental take permit on February 15, 2024. 

The plan describes measures that avoid, minimize or offset the effects of future residential and commercial development, existing facility operation and maintenance, and infrastructure improvement projects in Los Osos. The incidental take permit only authorizes take of Morro shoulderband snail. However, the plan includes conservation measures designed to avoid, minimize and offset impacts to not only the snail, but also the federally endangered Morro Bay kangaroo rat and the Indian Knob mountainbalm, and the federally threatened Morro manzanita. The conservation measures in the plan will help conserve and protect the federally threatened and endangered species covered in the plan. The document also describes conservation measures to be implemented during fire hazard reduction activities and the proposed establishment of a preserve for the long-term protection and management of federally protected species. 

“The Service and the county have collaborated for many years toward the completion of the final HCP,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “We will continue to work with the county to support and improve the Habitat Conservation Plan to achieve the recovery goals for the listed wildlife in the area..” 

The HCP was prepared by San Luis Obispo County to support its application for an incidental take permit. Habitat conservation plans are a necessary part of an application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.  

“I’m thrilled that we have reached this important milestone that will greatly benefit the community of Los Osos,” said Bruce Gibson, County of San Luis Obispo supervisor. “I greatly appreciate the hard work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and county staff, that together have achieved this important step. I look forward to future collaboration.” 

At the following links you can find a copy of the final HCP, the incidental take permit, the final Environmental Assessment, and the Findings/Finding of No Significant Impact. A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

Working with others is essential to protecting ecosystems that benefit society as a whole. The Service regularly engages conservation partners, the public, landowners, government agencies, and other stakeholders in our ongoing effort to identify innovative strategies for conserving and recovering protected wildlife, plants, and their habitats. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Steve Henry at steve_henry@fws.gov.