For the past four years, the city and county governments of the Etowah basin, including Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Lumpkin, Polk, Paulding and Pickens counties, have been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a habitat conservation plan (HCP) to protect the habitat of the Etowah Darter, Cherokee Darter and Amber Darter, which are found in the Etowah River Basin. Under the Federal Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, it is illegal to “take” (harm) any endangered species. Habitat conservation plans are used throughout the country to preserve and protect the habitats of endangered species. HCPs utilize best management practices in land development to minimize impacts to endangered species and are reviewed and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Once an HCP is approved, an “incidental take permit” is issued. Click here to read additional information on the HCP. Also, visit the Etowah HCP website at www.etowahhcp.org
To date, both Bartow and Cherokee Counties have approved a resolution in support of the HCP’s submittal to USFWS. The Forsyth BOC voted to table the resolution for further review and discussion with other counties within the HCP boundaries. The Paulding BOC has taken no action. Dawson County has postponed action on the resolution until early 2007.
Below you will find additional Council information regarding the HCP.