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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

wolverine-feature-photoThe U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced Tuesday that they are re-opening the comment period for the Proposed Rule to list the North American wolverine as threatened. This announcement comes after the District Court for the District of Montana vacated the Service’s withdrawal of their proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus). The North American wolverine is known to inhabit areas of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Comment Period is open until November 17, 2016.

A Brief History:
61 FR 4722      Detailed Evaluation Detailed Population Segment
73 FR 12929    12-month Finding on Petition to List as Endangered or Threatened
75 FR 19591     Initiation of Status Review
75 FR 78030    12-month Finding on Petition to List as Endangered or Threatened
78 FR 7864      Proposed Listing as Threatened
78 FR 7890      Establishment of Nonessential Experimental Population
78 FR 65248   Comment Period on the Proposed Listing Re-Opened
79 FR 6874      6-month Extension of Final Determination
79 FR 47522    Withdrawal of Proposed Rule to List as Threatened
81 FR 71670    Comment Period Re-Opened

Read the Federal Register Announcement

Posted by: In: Endangered Species 20 Oct 2016 0 comments

Texas HornshellThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released the draft Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy this morning. The draft policy is open for public comment until October 17, 2016.

The USFWS states, “The draft ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy, if adopted, would cover permittee-responsible mitigation, conservation banking, in-lieu fee programs, and other third-party mitigation mechanisms, and would stress the need to hold all compensatory mitigation mechanisms to equivalent and effective standards.”

While it is difficult at first glance to determine what the draft policy will change, it appears that USFWS will place more emphasis on impacts to potential habitat as opposed to identifiable adverse effects to species, possibly require a no net loss standard for potential habitat destruction (similar to wetlands), and place greater emphasis on “landscape level” solutions.