Paul Payne, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A 50-year recovery plan for endangered species in the Santa Rosa Plain, including the California tiger salamander, will require the purchase of thousands of acres of habitat from Cotati to Windsor and continued study at a cost of $436 million.
That’s according to officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently released a draft plan for recovery of the imperiled amphibian and three plants — Sonoma sunshine, Burke’s goldfields and Sebastopol meadowfoam.
The plan, part of a settlement agreement with the Arizona- based Center for Biological Diversity, is recommended to ensure survival of the species.
“The salamander is suffering so many threats pushing it to the brink of extinction,” Collette Adkins Giese, a senior attorney with the center, said Friday. “We need to do everything we can to make sure they don’t vanish.”
Fish and Wildlife officials are seeking comment on the 146-page document, both in writing and at a public hearing in mid-January, before finishing it in about 18 months. Comments will be accepted through Feb. 9, spokeswoman Sarah Swenty said.
The exact time and place for the hearing has not been set, she said.
Swenty said the actions suggested in the plan are voluntary and not regulatory in nature. She compared it to a recently adopted $1.24 billion tidal marsh recovery plan for Northern and Central California.
“Basically, we are describing what the species need,” said Josh Hull, a recovery division chief for Fish and Wildlife.