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The Bone Cave harvestman, a blind, cave-dwelling spider found in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas has been at the center of a heated debate since its listing in 1988.
On June 2, 2014, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was petitioned to delist the species. An original 90-day finding was published on June 1, 2015 that the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action was warranted. On December 15, 2015, the petitioners challenged the decision in Federal District Court. Subsequent information was submitted in October 2016 by the petitioners and the petition was re-evaluated.
On May 4, 2017, the Service announced its second 90-day finding that the petition still does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the delisting may be warranted.
This decision ends the Service’s formal consideration of the petition, but the Service is currently conducting a five-year review of the Bone Cave harvestman as required by section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Endangered Species Act.
The Service is encouraging the public to submit any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the Bone Cave harvestman or its habitat for their consideration.
Posted by: In: City of Austin 18 Apr 2017 0 comments

The City of Austin has released its zoning comparison maps for the proposed update of the Land Development Code. The new map designates areas of neighborhoods for more walkability, increased public transit, and automobile-dependent areas.

The new zoning map has added categories to provide more specifically regulated areas such as:

  • T3, T4, and T5 Neighborhood – large lot widths with varied setback distances
  • T3, T4, and T5 Main Street – including retail, service, and residential uses in compact, walkable urban forms
  • T5 and T6 Urban – compact, high-density walkable urban environment that provides urban housing choices as well as a wide range of regional-center appropriate uses such as employment, retail, services, entertainment, civic, and public uses

It also renames/redefines some existing categories:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information, review the proposed Land Development Code text, and comment here: https://codenext.civicomment.org/

The comparison maps can be found here: http://codenext.engagingplans.org/codenext-comparison-map

Posted by: In: Amplify Austin 07 Mar 2017 0 comments

Amplify Austin donations raised more than $9.8 Million in 2017ACI Group, as a proud business fundraiser of Amplify Austin, joined other companies and individuals in generating more than $9.8 Million in donations for 674 non-profits. Our company gave over $500 total in employee donations and company matches combined to the following environmental, cultural, educational, and recreational organizations that we are pleased to assist:

  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Austin Pets Alive!
  • Austin Siamese Rescue
  • Barton Springs Conservancy
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Austin Area
  • Family Eldercare
  • Keep Austin Beautiful
  • Little Helping Hands
  • Mobile Loaves & Fishes
  • The Trail Foundation
  • Tree Folks
  • Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy

Austin Land Development CodeThe City of Austin introduced the first draft of the new Land Development Code at a CodeNEXT event. The city designed the new code to shape growth and development in the capitol city while focusing on five main pillars: Community, Environment, Housing, Mobility, and Permitting.

While they won’t finalize the details of the new code for another year, CodeNEXT boasts that they are creating a more simplified and cohesive plan for Austin.

More specifically, these are some highlights of the plan:

  • Alternative transportation
  • Green spaces & trail connection
  • Flood damage reduction
  • Water stewardship

Additionally, CodeNEXT is accepting community feedback through April. A draft map will be released on April 18, 2017. City Council will begin hearings and deliberations in September.

Furthermore, Mayor Steve Adler wrote in the Austin American-Statesman,”I want to propose a different way and to do it together, aiming for a resolution where we all win. We can all win if we focus on two goals: protecting our neighborhoods and delivering the increased housing supply we need to make Austin more affordable.”

 

For further information on the new Land Development Code updates, follow these helpful links:

CodeNEXT

Community Engagement

Public Comment

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