Weigh in on the Habitat Conservation Plan by Tomorrow
Northwest Yachting columnist Peter Schrappen sent this message out to NMTA member companies about an important deadline, the message applies to boaters who aren’t “in the biz” as well. One of the issues already touched on here at nwyachting.com involves mooring buoy anchoring. There are plenty other issues from which to choose!
If you haven’t weighed in yet (or even heard about) the Habitat Conservation Plan, it’s not too late.
If you are wondering whether you will be impacted by these proposed new rules from the Department of Natural Resources, you can stop wondering. You will.
If you rent tidelands from the Dept of Natural Resources, you can expect (if their original proposal goes through) scores of new regulations. (Take a breath, there’s still time to affect the process. More on that later. Keep reading).
If you believe (as I do) that marine-related businesses are “all family” and an ecosystem and tied closely together, then you will want to get engaged, too. After all, what happens to those who rent land from DNR (primarily marinas and boatyards) matters to all us.
So, what to do?
1) To learn more about the Habitat Conservation Plan and hear a “Cliff Notes” version of this thousand page book, make plans to attend a conference call with the expert (and NMTA-member) that we’ve hired. That’s Terry Carten of Kulshan Services.
The call will take place on Thursday, December 11 at 3:00. and if you’d like to attend, email me (Peter@nmta.net) and I’ll send you the call-in info. The call will last sixty minutes.
2) Read up on the HCP and NMTA’s comments and cover letter. I’d suggest reading NMTA’s materials first. Then, read chapter 5 of the HCP and then if you are still comatose, try reading the entire HCP.
NMTA’s cover letter: http://www.nmta.net/files/Downloads/GA/NMTA%20Cover%20Letter%20-%20HCP.pdf
The draft Habitat Conservation Plan: Link
3) The most important step: Submit your comments to WFWOComments@fws.gov before December 30.
At the very least, follow this link for a message that I’ve created that you can just hit send on. Link to action alert: Here.
Even better, change the wording around NMTA’s cover letter and pick three of the nuggets from the 22-pages of formal comments you like and make them your own in your email to WFWOComments@fws.gov
4) If you have specific technical questions, keep Terry’s email handy. firstname.lastname@example.org .
More background: The Habitat Conservation Plan affects all those members who lease property from DNR. In conjunction with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Dept, they are putting forward a 50-year plan that will have dramatic impacts on all of us (since we are all so closely connected in this industry).
More info from the Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) action alert:
“As we read this Draft EIS and the Chapter 5 section, it could have dramatic and cost-prohibitive impacts on many of you. Sidewalls and barriers in boathouses would be prohibited under any circumstances, moorage facilities would have to be moved to deeper waters without any cost-benefit analysis as to why, an arbitrary 7-foot depth requirement would be instituted, and new construction standards would be mandated for even the most simple maintenance, repair, or replacement.
Worse, we have several examples of where the DNR is imposing these new requirements on existing lease renewals and permits, even before a formal HCP has been adopted!”
Please take a few minutes to email comments regarding this HCP. Comments need to be submitted by December 30 so we recommend you act now and email your comments to WFWOComments@fws.gov
Please be sure to include in your Subject Line: “WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP”
P.S. Please forward this message along. Do not assume that people know about these proposed changes. When in doubt, forward.