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Authors:  Jaimee Lederman, Martin Wachs

Date: April 1, 2014

Project: Transportation and Habitat Conservation Plans: Improving Planning and Project Delivery While Preserving Endangered Species

The development of transportation infrastructure requires a long planning, funding, and implementation cycle that can take over a decade for a large-scale project. Environmental mitigation to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is usually undertaken late in this process and for the single project being planned. Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) provide an alternative model and are becoming increasingly popular, consisting of early regional mitigation needs assessment and advanced planning for habitat or landscape-level impacts from multiple infrastructure projects. This approach promises several potential benefits including reduced project delays, lower mitigation and transaction costs, and improved conditions for the affected species. This report reviews the current status of landscape- level HCPs (sometimes referred to as “area-wide”) and, based upon a national survey of those either implementing or developing them, examines their use in the transportation infrastructure planning process. This research demonstrates that this model is growing in popularity and holds promise for further development as an approach to both habitat preservation and infrastructure development.

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