Reposted from Pittsboromatters.org
Address: US 64 and US 15-501, Pittsboro Pittsboro, NC 27312
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sent comments to the Town of Pittsboro on May 22, 2014 expressing concerns about the need for protection of Chatham Park waters and lands that are habitats to endangered and threatened species. These comments on the revised PDD Master Plan are the third time that USFWS has weighed in on Chatham Park urging the Town of Pittsboro “to uphold their obligations under the Endangered Species Act”.
“The Service’s previous comments to the Town have encouraged the Chatham Park Investors to work with the Town staff to address issues of secondary and cumulative impacts, and we have offered assistance to the Town as considerations are made for protecting fish and wildlife resources in its jurisdiction. Our review of the revised PDD Master Plan Site Elements indicates that these measures have not been incorporated, and thus have not been adequately addressed. The Service is concerned that without detailed natural resource-focused planning and wildlife-friendly zoning, the secondary and cumulative impacts associated with increased development in this area (particularly Residential Areas l.I, 1.2, 1.3, and 1 .5 indicated on the Land Use Plan map) could result in significant degradation of aquatic habitats or extirpation of listed species. Again, we urge Chatham Park Investors to work with Town planning staff to address issues of secondary and cumulative impacts, especially since the Town has previously committed to protective measures in the watersheds draining to the Haw River.”
Specific concerns raised:
- Concerns about how the magnitude of a project like Chatham Park will impact streams that drain directly to occupied habitat for the federally endangered Cape Fear shiner. “Because the Cape Fear shiner is present in low numbers and the range of surviving populations are restricted, this fish species is vulnerable to threats to its habitat such as land use changes,… the entire length of the Haw River flowing through Chatham County, ending at Jordan Lake) as necessary habitat for the recovery of the species”.
- Several federal at-risk species (yellow lampmussel, brook floater and Septima’s clubtail dragonfly are also present in the project area. Federal goals for the conservation of trust resources depend explicitly on the sustained integrity of the Haw River ecosystem.
- Many areas along the Haw River are recognized for their rarity, ecological function in the landscape, and unique natural resources that they support. The importance of the habitats these areas provide for fish and wildlife makes protection from habitat degradation essential.
- On October 2, 2013, USFWS proposed the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis, or NLEB) for listing as endangered under the ESA. USFW Service has evidence that NLEB are found in Chatham County, near the project site.
- USFWS points out that when the Town of Pittsboro got approval for its wastewater discharge (NPDES) permit on the Haw River “ committed to adopt several protective measures that were detailed in NCWRC’s Guidance Memorandum to Address and Mitigate Secondary and Cumulative Impacts to Aquatic and Terrestrial Wildlife Resources”. These measure specifically indicate that protective measures will be implemented , “including 200ft buffers on perennial streams and 100ft buffers on intermittent streams draining to the Haw River, 300ft buffers along the Haw River, and for new developments draining to the Haw River (i.e. Tract 1 in the EIS, which equates to areas 40,60, and 63 in the Chatham Park Investors Assemblage Map) exceeding 6%imperviousness, the Town requires the developer to include stormwater controls designed to replicate and maintain the hydrographic condition at the site prior to the change in landscape.”
To read the full letter from USFWS to the Town of Pittsboro go to: USFWS to PBO BoC_comments on revised Chatham Park PDD Master Plan