The Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act requires that NCCP plans include independent scientific input and analysis to assist the Department of Fish and Game and the plan participants in creating a scientifically based plan.
Early in the planning process, the Local Partners established a Science Advisory Panel to provide independent scientific input and to review the HCP/NCCP as required by the NCCP Act [Section 2810(b)(5)] and encouraged by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game. The advisors operate independently of the Local Partners, the entities involved in planning or implementing the HCP/NCCP. Scientific advisors were selected based on qualifications including academic record, publications, and practical experience in the study area or with the covered species and are completely independent and unaffiliated with the Santa Clara Valley HCP/NCCP and the Local Partners. The science advisors were to consider such topics as species identification, existing data, conservation guidelines, reserve design processes, conservation analyses and management, and monitoring tools.
A two-day workshop was held on July 6 and 7, 2006. A portion of this workshop was open to the public. Other components included a group field trip and a closed-door session at which time the scientific advisors could talk amongst themselves without the Local Partners or their consultants present.
In December 2006, the Science Advisors have produced a final report documenting their recommendations, which is posted below. All comments from the Science Advisors’ final report will be considered throughout development and implementation of the Santa Clara Valley HCP/NCCP. However, the recommendations are advisory only, and not binding to HCP/NCCP participants.