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The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a Federal Register notice of the availability of a revised policy and new rule for the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA). The CCAA is a voluntary conservation program which provides incentives for non-Federal property owners to develop and implement conservation plans for unlisted species. The new rule adds a definition to the term “net conservation benefit” and eliminates references to “other necessary properties.” The revised policy and accompanying rule will go into effect on January 26, 2017.

 

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 19 Dec 2016 0 comments

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black_capped_vireo_male2The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed to remove the black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla) from the endangered species list. The Service listed the black-capped vireo as endangered in 1987, noting only 164 mating pairs. After decades of conservation efforts, experts now estimate a population of about 14,000.

 

Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director said, “Today’s announcement illustrates exactly how the ESA (the Endangered Species Act) works to protect species on the brink of extinction and to successfully recover them.”

 

The Service will take public comment (here) until February 13, 2017 and is anticipated to make a final determination by December 2017. The bird remains protected under the Endangered Species Act; however, if the bird is delisted, the Service would continue to work with partners to monitor its status for a minimum of five years.

 

 

A Brief History:

12/30/1982 – Review of Vertebrate Wildlife for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species

12/12/1986 -Proposed Endangered Status for Black-capped Vireo to be Endangered

10/06/1987 -Determination of Black-capped vireo to be Endangered Species

04/25/2000 – Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment foe Receipt of a Safe Harbor Application to Enhance the Propogation and Survival of the Black-Capped Vireo and the Golden-Cheeked Warbler in the Hill Country of Texas

02/02/2005 -5-Year Review of Black-capped Vireo

09/09/2013 – 90-Day Finding on a Petition to Delist or Reclassify from Endangered to Threatened Five Southwest Species

Posted by: In: Conferences 24 Aug 2016 0 comments

OmniCome visit us at the TxDOT Environmental Conference from Tuesday, September 12th through Thursday, September 15th in Corpus Christi, TX.

The three-day conference will provide these educational opportunities:

  • Disruptive Technology
  • The Urban Mobility Scorecard
  • Agency Public Involvement Initiatives and Outcomes
  • Environmental Achievement Award Finalists
  • The Harbor Bridge Sustainability Program
  • Climate Issues
  • Air Quality Training for Roadways

The event includes a general session, break-out sessions and a third day devoted to training experiences.

This year’s event will be held at the Omni Corpus Christi, located at 900 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401.

Source: (USFWS)U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2016. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for Texas Hornshell. Federal Register, vol. 81,p. 52796

Source: (USFWS)U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2016. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for Texas Hornshell. Federal Register, vol. 81,p. 52796

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday that it is proposing to list the Texas Hornshell as an Endangered Species. The public comment period will be open for 60 days.

The Texas Hornshell has been on and off the candidate species lists for more than 25 years, and in 2001 the Service entered into two settlement agreements regarding the species.

Efforts are being made in Texas and New Mexico to preserve the species. In New Mexico, the state is working with the Bureau of Land Management and industry along the Black River to develop a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances. In Texas, the Nature Conservancy and state wildlife regulators are managing their lands in the Devils River watershed to reduce sediment and contaminant runoff.

aci consulting performs surveys and relocation of the Texas Hornshell and other mussel species.

Read the Federal Register Announcement

 

 

Posted by: In: Keep Austin Beautiful 03 May 2016 0 comments

Clean Sweep 2016On April 9, 2016, aci consulting and PPDS (both divisions of ACI Group, LLC) participated in Keep Austin Beautiful’s annual Clean Sweep. Each April, Keep Austin Beautiful hosts Clean Sweep, a city-wide service day spanning 130+ sites in 31 zip codes throughout Austin and resulting in over 29 tons of trash removed by more than 4,000 volunteers who contribute 8,700 combined service hours. For more information about joining our team for next year’s event, call Paige at (512) 852-3866.

2016 Site Map

Posted by: In: Public Involvement 11 Apr 2016 0 comments

2015-03-19 14 25 28The National Highway Institute (NHI) hosted the Public Involvement in the Transportation Decision-making Process training from March 22-24, 2016 at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Riverside Campus in Austin, Texas. This course offered methods to achieve successful public involvement participation in the transportation decision-making process. During the three days of training, the participants learned to:

  • Describe U.S. DOT transportation decision-making processes, including those that trigger the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
  • Describe the relationship between public involvement and decision-making;
  • Develop a public involvement plan with stakeholder assistance that includes attention to non-traditional populations as an evaluation component;
  • Describe interest-based problem solving and the values that underlie it; and
  • Identify ways to enhance public involvement plans.

This training course was taught by Hughes Collaboration public mediator, Mike Hughes, and Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) Environmental Program Specialist, Keith Moore.

A link to TxDOT’s guidance for Public Involvement is located here.

spragues_pipit_7C2V9725On April 5, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) issued a proposed rule (FR vol. 81, p. 19527-19542) announcing a 12-moth findings petition to list the Sprague’s pipit (Anthus spragueii) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. This species was listed as a candidate species on September 15, 2010, and according to the proposed rule, the species does not warrant listing at this time. This species does not warrant listing at this time because the distribution of the species is relatively stable across its range and no concentration of stressors was found that suggest the species may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range. A link to this proposed rule can be found here, and a link to the Sprague’s pipit USFWS species profile page can be found here.

The Sprague’s pipit inhabits native prairie grasslands and breeds exclusively in the Northern Great Plains. Its breeding grounds include areas in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Canada. The Sprague’s pipit wintering habitat is located in areas of Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Mexico. A map of its overall range and additional information about the species is located here.

If you have questions regarding the decision or how any state- or federally-listed species may affect your project, please contact aci consulting’s Austin office.

Posted by: In: IPEC 18 Nov 2015 0 comments

_L4C2460Founder and Chief Executive Officer of aci consulting, Steve Paulson, will be speaking on Thursday, November 19th  at the 22nd International Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC) in Denver, CO.  His presentation on large scale solutions to resolving Endangered Species Act conflicts will take place during the Legal & Regulatory Issues/Environmental Management, Compliance & Auditing technical session.

 

Read his abstract here.

Posted by: In: Technology 15 Jun 2015 0 comments

aci consulting made a strategic connection at the TCEQ Trade Show and Conference! We brought Midstream Integrity Services (MIS) to our Austin office to demonstrate the capabilities of their unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones. We were curious to see how we might be able to utilize their technology to streamline some of our inspections to spend less time traveling and more time analyzing data. They can send drones into areas that are difficult to navigate to do 3D mapping, LIDAR (Laser Illuminated Detection and Ranging), Point Cloud Files, and Orthomosaics. Check out the video showing this capability in action.