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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Report Criticizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office

September 15, 2000

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — A regional office of a federal wildlife agency that oversees development in six Southern California counties has a heavy workload and poor system of record-keeping that may be responsible for permit delays, an audit released Thursday found.

The Carlsbad office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has a high staff turnover, which may add to the time it takes the agency to evaluate a project and ensure it doesn't harm endangered or threatened species, according to the report by U.S. General Accounting Office.

GAO investigators also found that sloppy records and the lack of a centralized filing system made it impossible to attribute delays to a specific cause.

In responding to the report, issued at the request of members of Congress, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jamie Rappaport Clark, said the Carlsbad office has already begun to improve its system of managing records and tracking projects.

Carlsbad-based officials for the agency are responsible for San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties and part of Los Angeles County.

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