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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.

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

 

 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has officially removed the Lesser Prairie-Chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This decision comes after years of data evaluation regarding this species which is found in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

“The storied prairie landscape of the Southwest is of tremendous economic and cultural importance. It is also a critical area for the birds, mammals, reptiles and other animals that rely on this unique habitat,” Service Director Dan Ashe said in a statement. “Responding to this court ruling by removing the bird from the federal list does not mean we are walking away from efforts to conserve the lesser prairie chicken. Far from it. We are undertaking a new status review to determine whether listing is again warranted, and we will continue to work with our state partners and others on efforts to protect vital habitat and ensure this flagship of the prairies survives well into the future.”

The Lesser Prairie-Chicken was listed on April 10, 2014. The move comes after a 2015 court challenge by the oil and gas industry requested the agency remove the bird from the list. Read the Federal Register

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.