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14 April 2004

Anna Davison

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alos announced Tuesday that it is reopening the public comment period on the proposed critical habitat designation for the local population of the California tiger salamander.

The proposed designation covers about 13,920 acres in Santa Maria, Los Alamos, and the Purisima and Santa Rita areas east of Lompoc - mostly private land, though some is owned by the county. It has prompted opposition from developers, landowners, and business associations who content that the ruling will limit development in North County.

The proposed designation applies to activities on federal land or those that require federal funding or permits - draining a pond, for example.

Hearings on the proposal will take place between 1 and 3 p.m. and 6 and 8 p.m. May 11 at the Radisson hotel, 3455 Skyway Drive in Santa Maria.

Comments will be accepted through May 27. They can be sent to: Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003; e-mailed to: fw1CTSCH@r1.fws.gov; or faxed to 644-3958.