Quino - Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)?
The Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) is a long-term, regional habitat conservation program that protects vulnerable species and their habitats while providing economic growth opportunities in the County of San Diego (County). Under this program, large blocks of interconnected habitat will be conserved through acquisition of land by private and public entities and mitigation from development.
A key part of the MSCP is the Covered Species list that identifies key species and habitats to conserve. The Covered Species list includes species listed as threatened or endangered under the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts as well as species that may become listed within the 50-year term of the MSCP. The MSCP meets regulations in accordance with the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts as a joint Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP). The purpose of the MSCP is to conserve Covered Species’ habitats while addressing potential impacts from economic growth.
For these potential impacts, projects are required by the Endangered Species Acts to obtain an incidental take permit to mitigate for potential impacts to listed species’ habitat. As a joint HCP/NCCP, the MSCP provides the basis for the County to receive an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), collectively referred to as the Wildlife Agencies. The incidental take permit the County receives through the MSCP can be extended to future development projects that comply with the MSCP so these projects would not have to secure their own separate incidental take permits from the Wildlife Agencies. Through this permitting mechanism, the MSCP helps streamline permitting, provide regional conservation of natural habitats, and facilitate economic growth in San Diego County.
The County’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) is comprised of three separate planning areas covering unincorporated regions of San Diego in the South County, North County, and East County. The MSCP Plans associated with each of the planning areas are referred to as the South County Subarea Plan, North County Plan, and East County Plan, respectively.
In October 1997, the County Board of Supervisors approved the South County Subarea Plan for the southern portion of the County. The North County Plan is currently being prepared for the unincorporated portions of northern San Diego County. Preparation of the East County Plan is pending the completion and Board of Supervisors’ approval of the North County Plan.
- What is the South County Subarea Plan and how does it differ from the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)?
The South County Subarea Plan is the first of three plans adopted under the County’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP). The South County Subarea Plan extends the scope of the MSCP into southern areas of the unincorporated County to balance the conservation of species’ habitats with economic growth. The areas within the South County Subarea Plan include Jamul, Lakeside, the western portion of Central Mountain, Otay, Crest, Dehesa, Harbison Canyon, Granite Hills, Valle de Oro, Spring Valley, Sweetwater, Ramona (south of Dye Road), Alpine, the eastern portion of North County Metropolitan, and San Dieguito.
The South County Subarea Plan has a Covered Species list that includes species within the South County Subarea listed as threatened or endangered under the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts as well as vulnerable species that may become listed within the 50-year term of the South County Subarea Plan.
- What is a Covered Species?
Covered Species included under the South County Subarea Plan are species that are either currently listed as threatened or endangered under the California or Federal Endangered Species Acts or may become listed during the 50-year term of the South County Subarea Plan.
These species will be “covered” by the County’s incidental take permit. This means projects that comply with the South County Subarea Plan will not need to receive separate incidental take permits from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for potential impacts to Covered Species. Projects will need to demonstrate conformance with the South County Subarea Plan by complying with the Biological Mitigation Ordinance.
Covered Species under the South County Subarea Plan include:
SOUTH COUNTY SUBAREA PLAN
COVERED SPECIES LIST
San Diego thorn-mint
Salt marsh skipper
Thorne's hairstreak butterfly
San Diego ambrosia
Riverside fairy shrimp
San Diego fairy shrimp
Del Mar manzanita
Arroyo southwestern toad
California red-legged frog
Coastal dunes milk-vetch
Southwestern pond turtle
San Diego horned lizard
California brown pelican
Dunn's mariposa lily
Salt marsh birds-beak
Del Mar Mesa sand aster
American peregrine falcon
Light-footed clapper rail
Western snowy plover
San Diego button-celery
San Diego barrel cactus
California least tern
Heart-leaved pitcher sage
Western burrowing owl
Gander's pitcher sage
Southwestern willow flycatcher
Coastal cactus wren
San Diego goldenstar
Least Bell's vireo
California rufous-crowned sparrow
Belding's Savannah sparrow
California orcutt grass
Large-billed Savannah sparrow
San Diego mesa mint
Otay mesa mint
Small leaved rose
Southern mule deer
Dense reed grass
San Miguel savory
- Is Quino checkerspot butterfly a federal or state listed species?
In 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed Quino checkerspot butterfly as federally endangered throughout its range in southwestern California and northwestern Baja California.
- Why wasn’t Quino checkerspot butterfly previously included in the South County Subarea Plan’s Covered Species list?
When Quino checkerspot butterfly (Quino) was listed as federally endangered in 1997, local Quino populations were at such low densities that it was thought to possibly be extinct (62 FR 2313). Because too little was known about local Quino populations in 1997, Quino was not previously included in the South County Subarea Plan’s Covered Species list. Not enough information was available to conduct an analysis of impacts or create a Conservation Strategy for Quino, both requirements for making biological findings for a Covered Species.
- What is the Quino Addition? Is the Quino Addition a standalone Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)?
The Quino Addition is an amendment to the South County Subarea Plan to add Quino as a Covered Species. The knowledge gained about local Quino populations, since the adoption of the South County Subarea Plan, provides the necessary information for the County of San Diego to provide regional conservation for Quino. Increased development pressure in the South County Subarea, especially in locations of known Quino populations and habitat, increases to the need for the Quino Addition to ensure potential impacts to Quino are analyzed and addressed.
As an amendment to the South County Subarea Plan, the Quino Addition is not a standalone Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). However, it will address components required of a HCP including a Conservation Strategy, adaptive management, and climate change considerations.
- How would the Quino Addition change the South County Subarea Plan?
The focus of the Quino Addition is to add Quino checkerspot butterfly as a Covered Species under the South County Subarea Plan.
To fulfill this purpose, the Quino Addition will focus on Quino-specific components needed to assess impacts and provide conservation for Quino. These Quino-specific components include the Conservation Analysis, the Conservation Strategy, monitoring and management protocols, and implementing tools.
Any changes to the South County Subarea Plan would be specific to the needs involved in conserving local Quino checkerspot butterfly populations.
- What areas will be covered by the Quino Addition? Will the Quino Addition require more land acquisition?
The Quino Addition will apply to the entire South County Subarea, which includes the unincorporated communities of Jamul, Lakeside, the western portion of Central Mountain, Otay, Crest, Dehesa, Harbison Canyon, Granite Hills, Valle de Oro, Spring Valley, Sweetwater, Ramona (south of Dye Road), Alpine, the eastern portion of North County Metropolitan, and San Dieguito.
Currently the County does not anticipate additional land acquisition beyond what is already slated for acquisition under the South County Subarea Plan. However, as the Quino Addition finalizes the Conservation Strategy, monitoring, and management needs, additional areas may be identified as crucial for conservation of Quino checkerspot butterfly.
- Are there any other Habitat Conservation Plans in the Southern California region that include Quino checkerspot butterfly as a Covered Species?
Yes. There are four Habitat Conservation Plans that include coverage for Quino checkerspot butterfly in Southern California region.
These Habitat Conservation Plans include:
1. The City of Chula Vista’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) Subarea Plan,
2. SDG&E Low-effect Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly,
3. San Diego County Water Authority Subregional Natural Communities Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP/NCCP), and
4. Western Riverside County’s Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP)
- What is the process of receiving a take permit for Quino checkerspot butterfly without the Quino Addition?
Without the Quino Addition, any applicant with a project that will impact the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly’s habitat is required to work directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and create a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) as part of their application to obtain an incidental take permit.
Without the Quino Addition, the USFWS is the permitting authority for Quino checkerspot butterfly. With the Quino Addition, the County of San Diego can extend incidental take permit authorization to applicants that comply with the Quino Addition.
Without the Quino Addition, the applicant would be required to provide funding, mitigation, and monitoring for their HCP.
- What is the schedule for the Quino Addition?
Quino Addition Element
Release the Public Draft of the Quino Addition
Release Environmental Document for public review
Final Quino Addition and Environmental Document
Present Quino Addition to the Board of Supervisors for adoption
Final permitting for the Quino Addition
- Will there be opportunity for more public input before the Quino Addition is adopted?
Yes. There are future opportunities for public input on the Quino Addition.
A Public Draft Quino Addition will be released for public review and comment. Additionally, an Environmental Document will be prepared and sent out for public review and comment. After further public review, the Quino Addition will be considered at public hearings by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
In Fall 2017, several public meetings were held as part of public outreach. Materials and records from these meetings can be found on the Quino Addition – Public Outreach page.
Any questions can be directed to MSCP@sdcounty.ca.gov
- Will Quino checkerspot butterfly be included as a Covered Species in the North County Plan?
The Quino checkerspot butterfly is currently being analyzed for inclusion on the Covered Species list under the North County Plan.